Jesus performed His supernatural works of raising the dead for specific reasons according to His Father’s infinite plan. In divine wisdom, it was time for John the Baptist to rest. For John accomplished all what the Lord has required of him and finished his mission on this earth. This mission was to prepare a way for the Lord by calling people to repentance and thus usher the Messiah’s kingdom (John 1:23; Matthew 3:2).
Human life is a temporary journey with the purpose to prepare oneself and others for the life to come (Amos 4:12). When this mission is successfully accomplished, God lays His children to rest from their labors. And they wait in the grave for the resurrection of the righteous to receive their eternal rewards (Matthew 25:23).
Christ talked about the great honor that John had already been given in this earth. This honor exceeded life itself. For He said, “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” (Matthew 11:11).
No prophet had a greater privilege than John which was to be the personal proclaimer of the Messiah at His first coming. The Old Testament prophets would have gladly given up every privilege for that exalted honor. Like Abraham, they had all looked forward to the day when Christ would come, and were glad even to see it by faith (John 8:56). But John received that honor of ushering the Savior and His kingdom to the world (Isaiah 40:3).
John died as a martyr (Matthew 14). And for this he will receive a great reward. For Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Rejoice and be exceedingly glad…” (Matthew 5:10-12). Life in heaven is infinitely more pleasurable than life on earth (1 Corinthians 2:9). Without a doubt John looked forward to the resurrection for he lived a destitute life in the wilderness (Matthew 3:4; Luke 1:80). So, to be called to rest from his toils was a merciful act of God.
In His service,