Who would you nominate as the greatest prophet of the Old Testament?
Maybe you like Elijah who defeated Baal and broke a three-year drought, or Elisha who received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, or maybe Isaiah or Daniel with their amazingly accurate prophecies regarding the Lord Jesus. Jonah had a one hundred per cent conversion ratio; Moses spoke to God face to face. Enoch was a prophet who was taken up without experiencing death; David was a prophet but also a king and the father of our Messiah!
In Luke 7, Christ gives His judgment regarding the greatest Old Testament prophet. Jesus did not prize great oratory or large crowds or fine clothing, He valued the integrity of a man who would serve Him alone in the wilderness—He chose John the Baptist. He said John was the promised prophet who would come in the spirit of Elijah, who would turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, who would prepare the people to receive their Savior.
When we pray for revival in our country, do we imagine that it will come with eloquence and the soft clothing of kings’ palaces? Are we to look for the bright lights and big names who know how to smile into the camera, stars who will help improve our image as Christians in the community? Isn’t it far more likely that even now Jesus is answering our prayer for revival by calling men and women of integrity into lonely desert places where they will learn to share in the fellowship of His suffering? I believe as Paul did that God exhibits His spokesmen last of all, like men condemned to death. It is their suffering that marks them as the genuine article, a spectacle to arrest the attention of men and angels. We are more likely to find them in the neighborhood than in the national news, in the prayer room rather than on the platform, more likely serving the children than impressing the adults.
In fact, we probably know personally some of those through whom the revival is coming. After Jesus identified John the Baptist as the greatest prophet, He added, “And yet, the one who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). What a privilege to live in this generation, to know the Lord Jesus intimately, to associate with Him outside the gate where He suffered for us! The magnetic personalities that will reconcile our people to God and to one another and spare our country from destruction are not those who are the most hip, cool and appealing, but the ones who most thoroughly identify with the Man of Sorrows—the ones who even in doubt and on death row bring their questions and disappointments straight to Him.
Are you facing a choice this month—some decision between bright lights or wilderness, soft clothes or suffering? Please reply to let me know so we can pray for one another. And let us continue to ask the Lord to awaken the hearts of our countrymen, to send us more men and women who courageously identify with Jesus in the desert places.