John the Baptist was a prophet. Actually, he was THE prophet, the one promised in Malachi 3:1. The one that would announce the coming of the Anointed One. The Messiah. The Christ.
The first time John saw Jesus, he boldly declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” & he proclaimed, ““The Messiah will baptize you with the Holy Spirit & fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor & to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”Luke 3:16,17
John interpreted the coming of Jesus Christ as the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth, where God’s justice would be meted out swiftly, with the faithful disciples (the wheat) being brought into the kingdom, while the unfaithful & unbelieving (the chaff) would be judged & destroyed. The Roman empire would be overthrown & the Christ would sit on the throne of David. Except…Jesus didn’t fulfill John’s expectations. Any of them.
Instead of passing out judgment & justice upon humanity, Jesus declared the message of salvation, the Gospel Good News to all who would hear it. He healed the sick. Raised the dead. Brought freedom to those bound by darkness. John was alone. In prison. & confused. So he sent a few of his followers to ask Jesus, “Um… Are You Him? Or should we be expecting someone else?” John couldn’t reconcile what he believed the Christ would do & be with what he saw Jesus doing & being.
In reply, Jesus took John’s disciples on a field trip - & He healed the sick. Brought freedom to the oppressed. & declared the message of hope, life, & salvation to all that would listed. & He sent John’s followers back to him with a message: “Tell John everything you have SEEN & HEARD. This is what the kingdom of God looks like as it advances.”
What John missed is that though there will be a time for judgment, that time isn’t now. The Jesus Revolution was (& is) about salvation. Restoration. Healing. Reconciling people to God. It’s Good News. And it changes everything.