And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.Matthew 11:7-15
And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.Luke 7:24-28
What should a church look like? For that matter, what should a preacher look or sound like? Are these things left up to our personal preference? Now, there are some things that we are free to choose based on our personal preference but there are some fundamentals that need to be present in order for a church and its preacher to truly be Biblical.
Jesus’ testimony of John the Baptist gives us firsthand knowledge about what Jesus expects from HIS church.
Jesus asked the people what they went out to see when John preached in the wilderness – a reed shaken in the wind? We can look at this two ways. Did they go out there to see the actions of a great orator or to be entertained by an actor? Or, did they go out there to see someone whose message shifted with every change of the wind. In either case, the answer is no.
Regardless of why they initially went out in the wilderness, when they got there they heard sound doctrine that never changed and always had Christ as the focus. And that is what we should go to church to see.
Jesus then asked, “Did they go out there to see a man dressed in nice clothes that lived comfortably?” If they did, they were sorely disappointed. And so it should be with us. A man called of God to preach doesn’t need the best suits or the fashion trend of the day (skinny-jeans preachers). A true preacher does not need expensive automobiles and private jets. A true preacher doesn’t need a multi-million dollar television program or Internet presence. The sign of a true preacher is one whose focus is on God and the Bible. He is not worried about his looks or popular reputation (social media followers). In fact, John told his followers to stop following him and follow Jesus!
Jesus then asked, “Did they go out there to see another self-proclaimed prophet?” John was not just another prophet. He was the prophet that had been promised as the forerunner to the coming of the Messiah. He was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the one coming in the spirit of Elijah. Jesus says that there is not a greater man or prophet born in the world! (Sorry Mohamed, NOT!)
Our view of church and the ministry today should keep these things in mind.
Perhaps the church we need and the preacher we need is not in the biggest building with the fanciest decorations and best band. Perhaps we just need a God-called preacher and nothing else!