Strangely Greatest

“Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Jesus highly praised John, and John was a strange man.

From before conception God made John strange by telling his parents that John was to drink no wine or strong drink, but instead he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

This seems to be a reference to the vow of the Nazarite in Numbers 6 where a man or woman would separate themselves to God for a period of time, letting their hair grow long until the end when it would be shaven and included with the specific required offerings, one of which was a lamb offered to atone for sin.

Jesus praised John for his life of separation unto Him, and for the part John played in history, namely preparing the way of the Lord by preaching a baptism of repentence–calling the people to return to God’s ways, and identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God offered for atonement of sin.

If John did follow all the Nazarite rules, then he had thirty some years of uncut hair. And he would not have gone to the  funerals of his parents, or anyone else. And he would not have drunk the wine at Passover, or any other time. These would have made him strange, but he also lived in the desert, wore rough garments, and ate a simple diet of what the wilderness had to offer (I’m thinking he was likely thin; perhaps why Jesus called him a reed). All normal social and religious customs were set aside to be focused on God.

And this strange man who focused on God and preached repentence was the one chosen and able to identify Jesus as the Lamb of God offered to atone for sin (consider the ram God provided to replace Issac on the alter, the Passover lamb, and the Temple sin offerings).

Curiously, fascinatingly, Numbers 6 established two things:  the vow of the Nazarite and the blessing God commanded Aaron to speak over and into the people:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

When the greatest Nazarite came, he was followed by the One who embodied God’s blessing to His people. John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who atones for the sin of the world. That is blessing, grace, and peace!

Jesus, God’s Son, the Prince of Peace, the Way of Peace, the One Who gives peace to all who repent of their sin, accepting His death as their atonement, and His life as their sanctification.

Are you strangely focused on God, set apart to live for Him? Does your life identify Jesus as the Lamb of God who came to atone for sin?

Oh to be holy unto God! It is the greatest life. Strangely greatest!

May you and your spouse be holy unto God. That is the only way for your marriage to reach its full potential, to live and display Christ and the Bride.



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