WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 18, 2021
TOPIC: THE WORD OF GOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TITLES
BY T. O. BANSO
“While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness” (Luke 3:2 New King James Version).
Ephesians 4:11-12 says that when Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
It is important to know that Jesus didn’t give titles! He gave persons (gifts) He had chosen to equip the saints for the work of ministry and edify of the body of Christ. That doesn’t mean that it’s a sin to call oneself by any of these designations or use it to precede one’s name as a minister of the gospel. But spiritually, it doesn’t confer any advantage.
The Bible tells us that in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip was tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene (Luke 3:1). These people occupied powerful political offices that were subject to Rome.
Verse 2 turn to the religious office and says at this time, Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. In reality, there could only be one high priest at a time. But after Annas had been removed from the office by the Roman governor, Pilate, he retained his title (Acts 4:6). Caiaphas, Annas’ son-in-law, was appointed to replace him.
However, Luke 3:2 provides more information than the Annas-Caiaphas high priesthood. It says, “While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness” (New King James Version). Since there was a religious order in place, one would have expected that the word of God would come to the high priest as the spiritual head of God’s people.
Aaron was the first person consecrated as a high priest (Exodus 29:7-9; 30:23-30; Leviticus 8:12). Although the office of the high priest was hereditary and its holder must not have a physical defect and be holy in his conduct (Leviticus 21:6-8), in the time of the New Testament, the office was no longer hereditary. It had come under the influence of Rome, which had the power to appoint and remove the high priest who was the president of the Sanhedrin, the highest ruling body of the Jews (Matthew 26:3).
While Rome had replaced Annas with Caiaphas in the days of John the Baptist, his influence continued as mentioned in Luke 3:2. Even during the arrest of Jesus, he still had much influence. John 18:13 says Jesus was led to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the high priest that year. Also, verse 24 says Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
The word of God is more important than titles. As seen in Luke 3:2, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. John the Baptist had no title but had the word of God. And the word of God that came to him gave him a voice. Indeed, he became a voice. God’s word did not go to the religious title holders but to a non-title holder!
Luke 3:3-6 says, “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” (New King James Version). Matthew 1:1-3 and Mark 1:1-4 talk about this also.
While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the multitudes came out to John the Baptist to be baptized by him (verse 7). Tax collectors and soldiers came to be baptized (verses 12, 14). The Pharisees and Sadducees also came to be baptized (Matthew 3:7). Yet, John the Baptist had no title.
He had no title but Jesus also went to him to be baptized in the River Jordan to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34). Jesus didn’t go to Caiaphas and Annas, the high priests, for baptism. They only had titles; they didn’t have heaven’s mandate to perform the assignment.
By divine ordination, John was to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He didn’t need a title to fulfil his ministry. “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17 New King James Version).
Titles are not as important as the word of God coming to a man – given or spoken to him. When the word of God comes to a man, title or no title, his generation will listen to him because he has what they need. John the Baptist didn’t live in the city. He lived in the wilderness and his lifestyle was ordinary. Yet, multitudes trooped to him. “Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:4-6 New King James Version).
While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John. He had no title but Jesus said among those born of women there was not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, but he who was least in the kingdom of God was greater than he (Luke 7:28).
To show the decadence of the religious system in the time of Jesus, under their watch, the temple was turned from a house of prayer for all nations to a den of thieves. Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves (Mark 11:15-17; Matthew 21:12-13; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:14-16)
The high priest and other religious leaders conspired to kill Jesus Christ. The only prophecy of Caiaphas recorded in the Bible is about the death of Jesus, and it’s accurate. God must have spoken through him. “And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.’ Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (John 11:49-52 New King James Version).
The chief priests bribed Judas Iscariot with thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:15; 27:3-10; Luke 22:3-6). The chief priests also accused Jesus during His trial and stirred up the crowd against Him (Mark 15:3, 11; Luke 23:23). One can hold religious titles and only be engrossed in ungodly politics, having no word from God.
The word of God! The word of the LORD came to Abram (Genesis 15:1, 4). The word of the LORD came to Samuel (1 Samuel 15:10). The word of the LORD came to Nathan (2 Samuel 7:4). The word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad (2 Samuel 24:11). The word of the LORD came to David (1 Chronicles 22:8). The word of the LORD came to Solomon (1 Kings 6:11).
Also, the word of the LORD came to Elijah (1 Kings 17:8; 18:1; 19:9; 21:17, 28). The word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God (2 Chronicles 11:2; 12:7). The word of the LORD came to Isaiah (Isaiah 38:4). The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4, 11, 13, 2:1; 13:3, 8; 18:5; 24:4; 28:12; 29:30; 32:6; 26; 33:1; 33:19, 23; 34:12; 36:27; 37:6; 42:7; 43:8). The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:3; 3:16; 6:1; 7:1; 11:14; 12:1, 8,17, 21, 26; 13:1; 14:2, 12; 15:1, etc.).
Moreover, the word of the LORD came to Jonah (Jonah 1:1; 3:1). The word of the Lord also came to Zechariah (Zechariah 1:1, 7; 4:8; 6:9; 7:1, 8).
May the good word of the Lord come to you. When the word of the LORD came to Moses to return to Egypt and deliver the Israelites, he seemed like God to Pharaoh. “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet” (Exodus 7:1 New King James Version). Moses had no title; he only had the word of God. And through him, God brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand. The word of God will transform your life and change your status.
While Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of the Lord came to John the Baptist. May you not have titles without the word of God. People don’t need titles. They need the word of God, for the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The word of God has creative power (Ezekiel 37:1-10). The word of God is truth (John 17:17). It is very pure (Psalm 119:140). It gives life and hope (Psalms 119:50; 119:114). The word of God illuminates and gives direction (Psalm 119:105, 133).
May the good word of the Lord come to you. And may you be a faithful minister of the word of God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, deliver me from whatever can make Your word not to come to me. Father, don’t bypass me; let Your Word come to me. Open my ears to hear Your Word and respond appropriately. Holy Spirit, help me to be a faithful minister of the word of God.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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