Jn. 1:29 – The very next day John saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized, and John cried out, “Look! There he is—God’s Lamb! He will take away the sins of the world!
Jn.1:33 ……..when I was commissioned to baptize with water God spoke these words to me, ‘One day you will see the Spirit descend and remain upon a man. He will be the One I have sent to baptize with the Holy Spirit.
One of the questions Jesus was often asked was about John the Baptist. Before Jesus began His public ministry John had thrown all of Israel into an upheaval. When John’s ministry diminished and the ministry of Jesus began to flourish everyone wanted to know about John. Jesus called John the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Think about the magnitude of that statement. Moses basically started the Jewish faith, he wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. He also led the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt to the brink of possessing their land that the Lord had given them. Then you have to remember Isaiah and his profound prophetic passages describing the birth, the death, and the reign of Christ. Abraham fathered a nation by faith. And there was also Elijah who had a life filled with the miraculous; fire from heaven, supernatural provision in drought, even raising someone from the dead. So what could Jesus mean. John had not written any books, nor fathered a nation, and he had performed no miracles. John was simply a preacher.
So what was Jesus getting at? This is it – John had a revelation of Christ that others hadn’t received. First, he saw Jesus as the Lamb of God. He was saying that the entire levitical system pointed to Christ. Actually, all of the sacrifices before were just shadows of the real. Christ was the Lamb and His sacrificial death destroys sin in our lives. The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was culminated at His death.
The second prophesy is just as profound. He said that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit. This is probably the most radical thing John could say. The Jews were terrified of God’s presence. They knew that the glory in the holy of holies was unapproachable. One false move with the ark of the covenant and you were dead. After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven He took His place on God’s throne exalted above every other Name or being. From this place of exaltation Jesus begins His heavenly ministry to us. He is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
So that is why Jesus called John the greatest Old Testament prophet. He had a revelation of Christ sacrificial death on the cross for all mankind and he also saw Jesus as the Baptizer in the Spirit.