Over the years, there have been some pretty amazing opening acts. In 1987, many concertgoers were privileged to see Guns N’ Roses open for Aerosmith. In 1968, the British rock band, Led Zeppelin, opened for Vanilla Fudge. In the following year, in 1967, guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix, opened for The Monkees. And around 27 A.D., John the Baptist opened for Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
All four biblical accounts of the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection – open with a report about the appearance of John the Baptist in the Judean wilderness. In all of these records, the Gospel writers declare that John’s emergence fulfilled several Old Testament prophecies. One of those passages was Isaiah 40:3:
“A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
In ancient times, whenever kings or rulers would travel, it was common practice for delegates to be sent out ahead of the royal envoy to ensure that the route and destination was suitable for the monarch’s arrival. This passage from Isaiah states that God too would send a delegate to prepare God’s people for the arrival of the Messiah. And in all four Gospels, this verse is cited in identifying John the Baptist as that unique figure. These writers recognized that God commissioned John to prepare the Jews for the coming Messiah.
John the Baptist was the opening act. He took the stage in order to warm up the crowd for the headliner – Jesus Christ. And just like John, Jesus instructed his first disciples to fill that same role. In fact, Jesus’ final instruction to them spoke of the divine responsibility that he was placing on their lives.
“…And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8b)
But it was not just the early believers who were called to carry out this divine task, God has commissioned every Christian to be a witness for Jesus Christ. It is the responsibility of every believer to direct and guide others towards Jesus. And through their words and actions, God is using Christians to prepare others for a powerful encounter with His son.
John the Baptist was an amazing opening act for Jesus Christ. But the show is not over. God still calls Christians to prepare and warm up the crowd for The Headliner. And as Christians are faithful to being Jesus’ witnesses, the show is guaranteed to be a life-changing and transforming experience.