John 1:22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
As the last of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus’ cousin John the Baptizer operated outside the system. He was not licensed by the government. He was not approved of by the religious leaders. He just started preaching outside and within a few months, upward of thousands of people had repented of their sins and been baptized. Curious who he was and by what authority he ministered, the religious leaders deployed a committee of guys in clean white shirts with name tags to investigate.
Ministry starts with anointing. That is, the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit at work in and through someone so that their character and ministry are godly. John was an anointed man. The angel Gabriel prophesied to John’s pregnant momma, Elizabeth, in Luke 1:15, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.”
Think of the Holy Spirit’s anointing for ministry as God placing His hand on someone. This is exactly what is said of John the Baptizer in Luke 1:66: “For the Lord’s hand was with him.” In the New Testament, when someone is appointed to a leadership position in ministry, it is common to see other human leaders also lay hands on them. This shows that godly leaders confirm that God has already laid His hand on this person and so they are confirming God’s calling. The big idea is that God first anoints someone for ministry, and then leaders confirm that anointing and appoint them into leadership. Because John grew up in a ministry family with godly parents, this is what John’s parents had already done. Great problems happen in ministry when human beings appoint someone that God has not anointed. This is why the Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:22, “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands.”
Because God’s will and God’s timing are both important.
Have you ever rushed out ahead of God in an area of your life and ministry? In the future, how can you be sure of God’s will and God’s timing for your life?