Jeremiah is widely recognized as a type of Christ. So many things in his life paralleled the life of Christ. But recently, I realized that Jeremiah also foreshadowed another important person in the New Testament. That person would be John the Baptist (JTB).
There are also many parallels between JTB and the Lord Jesus. So, if Jeremiah foreshadows the Lord Jesus, he also foreshadows JTB.
In my opinion, a very clear example of Jeremiah’s life that looks forward to JTB is found in Jeremiah 37–38. Both John and Jeremiah were sent to preach to the Jews. Both were prophets. Both preached a message of repentance. If the nation did not repent, it would be judged. Both spoke to the king of their day. Jeremiah dealt with Zedekiah. John dealt with Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-29).
During the reign of these kings, both prophets were imprisoned because they proclaimed an unpopular message. Both kings, however, were interested in what these prophets of God had to say. They would call for them to discuss what God had said (Jer 37:3, 17; 38:14; Mark 6:20). Even though the kings did not want to kill these prophets, other people near them wanted these two men executed (Jer 38:4). For various reasons, both kings were afraid to stand up against the enemies of Jeremiah and JTB and gave in to the desires of those who wanted them dead (Jer 38:5-6; Mark 6:26-28). Fortunately, for Jeremiah at least, his enemies were not successful in carrying out their plans. Even though the kings wanted to hear what these prophets had to say, they did not obey the word of the Lord given to them by these two men.
Of course, the call for repentance on the part of the nation by both Jeremiah and JTB went unheeded as well. When all was said and done, Jerusalem and the temple in that city were destroyed by the enemies of the Jews. Rembrandt has a famous painting of Jeremiah sitting dejected in a cave outside of Jerusalem while the city and temple burn in the background. No wonder he is known as the weeping prophet. John did not live to see the destruction of the capital city, but we know he was dejected when he faced the end of his ministry as well (Matt 11:3). He seemed to realize that the nation would not respond to his message either.
What are the lessons that these two men teach us today? One was from the OT, while the other is found in the pages of the NT. They lived about 600 years apart. Certainly, they show us that those who are faithful to the Lord can expect opposition from the world, whatever age or culture in which they live.
This opposition will manifest itself even though the servant of the Lord is speaking the truth. Many may even appear to be interested in hearing the message, because it is obviously true, only to reject it in the end.
Both Jeremiah and John loved their country and the Lord. But they also learned, and show us, that this world is passing away. Our citizenship is in the coming kingdom.
Finally, both men show us how to be like Christ. When we suffer for Him because we share His message and follow Him, we are sharing in His sufferings (Rom 8:17; Phil 3:10).
Their lives, though seen as tragic by the world, were well spent. They will always be known as faithful servants of Christ who pointed the nation to Him. We should be like them.