I've always wondered why Christ labelled John the Baptist the greatest person born of a woman. I mean SERIOUSLY O.o greater than Paul?, John?, Moses?, Esther?, Peter?, Abraham?, Elijah?, Joshua?, David?, Josiah?, etc etc you get the point.
Then again who am I to question our Saviour :), if he said "Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist" I believe him without doubt.
I had never really properly studied the life of John the Baptist through the gospels until this morning. I wanted for myself to see why he was the greatest, and after studying it out I thought I would relay back my thoughts.
It is very easy to read in Luke 3 the emergence of John the Baptist on the scene, preaching the baptism of repentence for the remission of sins, but what I think made Christ speak so highly of his cousin was his preparation.
In Luke 1 v80, we get a bit more background on John and that for the best part of 30 years he waxed strong in spirit in preparation for his shewing unto Israel.
There was great spiritual and political upheavals happening about the time of his short-lived ministry, and it would have taken someone "a little rough round the edges" to make people stand up and take notice. John the Baptist was that man, a worthy forerunner for Christ.
I personally believe his greatness stems from the Spirit of God upon him. In the wilderness/desert or solitudes of our rooms or quiet times what greater teacher is there than the Holy Spirit?
John was a hairy preacher both metaphorically and literally, he came preaching salvation and rebuked the religious hypocrites of his day, and what greater honour is there than to be killed for speaking the truth?
How does this tie into missions/evanglism/soul-winning? Well consider this! John even in his short ministry, baptised hundreds of converts. He had the power of God in his work, I don't know about everyone else, but I find that when I don't pray for God to help me, or spend time in his Word, I find my evangelistic work lacks the cutting edge it needs to be effective. I find my flesh taking over and leaving me apathetic to what is happening around me.
Is your spirit stirred?
Preparation is the key, waxing strong in spirit is necessary, John epitomised this perfectly and the effects and legacy of his work?...well take note of what our Saviour had to say about him and the amount of people who were converted under his ministry. Also The term "Baptist" has over history denoted people who have shown a certain tenacity in the face of persecution and error.