3 things to learn from John the Baptist

John the Baptist came bringing a baptism of repentance.Reuters

John the Baptist was a remarkable man who, despite the greatness he was destined for, merely considered himself a servant of God. We ought to learn from him.

In this article we'll take a look at a few things that we can -- and must -- learn from this man who was honored by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

The relative who did not brag about it

John the Baptist was the son of a priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, a relative of Mary, Jesus' earthly mother (see Luke 1:36). Zacharias and Elizabeth had no child because she was barren, but God gave them John (see Luke 1).

Tradition dictates that John was Jesus' cousin. While the Bible does not use the word "cousin" to describe their relationship, we are sure that they are related, both by family and by purpose:

John was the one who would prepare the way for the Lord. (see Matthew 3:1-12)

Despite being given this ministry, John didn't brag about it. He didn't even boast of his connection with Jesus, in that they are relatives.

He simply didn't boast about himself. He was content to fulfill his role of ushering his Saviour and Master in:

"You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.'" (John 3:28)

The preacher who didn't sugarcoat his words

Unlike many Christians and Christian preachers today, John delivered an undiluted, raw message:

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (see Matthew 3:2)

John didn't sugarcoat his words. He didn't even try to be politically correct. He merely said what he had to, according to what God wanted him to.

Consider one of his fiery messages to those who came to hear him:

"Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (see Luke 3:7-9)

If that's not enough, he even went as far as to rebuke the authorities who were sinning and doing wrong, so much that he'd be imprisoned for it:

"But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison." (see Luke 3:19-20)

One who was honored by Christ for being such a servant

It's a Biblical fact that the more you humble yourself, the more God exalts you. Jesus did this to John who, according to Him, was "great."

Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 (see also Luke 7:28),

"Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

John the Baptist did not exalt himself even when he had the opportunity to do so. He had a great ministry, had many people listen to him, and had such boldness to rebuke people in position for doing what was wrong.

Yet, despite all that, John never boasted about himself. And neither did he try to steal the spotlight from Jesus Christ, whom he came to introduce:

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."" (John 1:29-31)