I have recently been pondering the idea that most of us today would not recognize John the Baptist as a prophet if Jesus had not declared him to be the greatest prophet of the old covenant. But John was indeed a true-blue prophet; meaning he was not only steadfastly loyal to God and to the direction God gave him, but he was genuine and true to who he knew he was as well. If you are called as a prophet, you can take encouragement from the fact that you are not called to look like other prophets or to fit into the mold of what people may understand or recognize; you are only called to become who you are in Christ.
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings ’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 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. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. Matthew 11:7-14 NKJV
John the Baptist, the Prophet
We find John outside of the religious system baptizing people for repentance; encouraging people to completely change their ways and be restored to a real relationship with God the Father. We don’t see John telling people their family history and prophesying future signs like Samuel did. We don’t see John giving counsel to military leaders and prophetic direction to kings. We don’t see him doing a lot of things that we would immediately recognize as “prophetic.” All of those things are legitimate, but they are not the things that make a person a prophet.
What we do see is that John was tearing up faulty foundations and laying down God-foundations. He was hearing and seeing what God was doing in the earth in his lifetime and in the sphere of influence he was called to and he was working with God to see it come to pass. We see John releasing and demonstrating the message of God for his generation. Because he listened to God’s voice and cooperated, his life prepared the way for Christ to be released into His full public ministry.
The Work of a Genuine Prophet
Prophets do not only focus on the prophetic—they simply are prophetic. Prophets are not on a single-minded mission to prophesy and share revelation. They are on a single-focus mission to please God. They live to see Christ fully formed in believers and within their sphere of influence, preparing the Church and the world for more of God.
Just like all of the five-fold ministries in the new covenant, prophets are called to equip all believers to do the works of Christ and to edify the Church. But a prophet’s primary job is to see the revealed purposes of God fulfilled in a particular group of people for a particular season of time. A true prophet becomes the message of God and declares it through their very lives, living relevant to heaven and influential in the earth. They focus on the what God shows to them; their ministry relies upon what God reveals.
A prophet cuts through the facade and calls things out for what they are to shake and shift the Church into alignment with heaven. They dig up rotting and broken foundations, replace them with God-foundations, and lead the Church into Christ-like maturity. They declare the heart and purpose of God, prophesying life into the things that God is doing. A prophet prepares the way for Christ to be honored as King, Lord, and Savior. They open up a place in peoples lives for the presence and power of Christ to transform them into who they are in Christ.
Be A True-Blue Prophet
You cannot decide to become a prophet or obtain a piece of paper that proves you are a prophet. A true prophet is called by God alone. If God called you as a prophet, you will go through years of preparation as you grow in favor with God and man. But first, you will learn to feel at home and comfortable alone in the wilderness with God. God will lead you down a path in your life that forms within you a determination to pursue God and His way, even if no one ever recognizes you for who you are. You will become willing to go against the flow of all humanity, if necessary, to remain loyal to God.
At some point, people will recognize and affirm your calling. But if you have allowed God to break and mold you into maturity, you will come to a point where you will not be able to allow yourself to be swayed, manipulated, or wrangled by the praise, criticism, or opinions of any man. You will not feel the need to live up to the expectations or assumptions of others. You will learn to be genuine and true to who you really are in Christ.
A true-blue prophet is not living to obtain or maintain a title or position. Like John the Baptist, they are not trying to appear to be like any prophet before them—they are only determined to be who they are. If God has called you as a prophet, you never need to try to be a prophet. You only need to learn to be steadfastly loyal to God and to be genuine and true to who you really are in Christ. The Church and the world needs you to be true-blue.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.