The Baptism of John from a Jewish Perspective, Part 2

The Baptism of John from a Jewish Perspective, Part 2

And in case you didn’t know it, there were three doors to the Temple and each of them had a name. As the priest entered the Temple he entered them in succession:

1.       The Way

2.       The Truth

3.       The Life

Zechariah had entered “The Way” and was considered righteous along with his wife. He had also passed through the door known as “The Truth” and was considered blameless. Now he was standing before the door known as “The Life.” Zechariah was told that his son would prepare the Way of the Lord, which is exactly what his “fruit” later did according to Mark 1:3, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!” In other words, John would prepare a people to enter the gate known as “The Way” which would later be revealed to be belief in the person of Jesus himself.

Until John as the Legitimate High Priest of Israel, baptized Jesus, no man or woman ever born was able to enter through the door known as “The Life,” except for the High Priest of Israel. Once baptized and then anointed (the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, Luke 3:22), Jesus was the only person in history authorized to enter that door without the fear and very real threat of death.

But there is more…

The Parallels and Counterpoints Between Abraham & Zechariah, Sarah & Elizabeth, John & Jesus

Abraham & Sarah were old and unable to have children. The first child they did have was the one through whom the promise of redemption would ultimately come. Zechariah & Elizabeth’s were likewise unable to have children, but when they finally did that son was to be the one by whom Messiah would be revealed to the world. Abraham was tasked to pass a test of faith by offering his son Isaac to God as a sacrifice (Genesis 22). Isaac was spared death by Abraham’s faith. Sarah laughed at the idea of having a son as an old woman. Elizabeth hid from sight at her pregnancy and John was filled with the Spirit of Life from conception. Elizabeth was also filled with the Spirit of God upon the arrival of Mary, mother of Jesus to her home.

John, inheritor of his father’s Priestly Office and runner-up to the High Priest, had the authority of the High Priest’s office, but more than that, he was also a Prophet. As Jesus stated it, “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:28)

What Jesus was explaining is that John is an Old Testament Prophet and in fact the very last of those Prophets, yet the greatest of all of them. The phrase Jesus used can also mean that the power and authority of all the Old Testament Prophets from Enoch to Elijah, David to Zechariah and Daniel to Malachi was upon John! This is why Jesus could say, “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” (Matthew 11:14)

Jesus took this a step further; stating that even so, “even the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.” Meaning that believers in Jesus, who follow Messiah through the door known as “The Life” are greater than John!
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