1 Kings 19:2-3
"So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."
This threat on Elijah's life by Jezebel reminds me of how much Elijah and John the Baptist had in common. John was not only threatened by a bloodthirsty queen but killed because of her hatred. In Mark 6, Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted him put to death because he pointed out the fact she had left her husband to be married to her brother-in-law. Unlike Jezebel's unsuccessful threat against Elijah, Herodias succeeded in having John beheaded.
Before John's birth, Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, appeared to his father, Zechariah, to announce an answer to his prayers for a son (Luke 1:11-17). Gabriel said John's ministry would exhibit the spirit and power of Elijah. In 1 Kings 18:37, Elijah prayed for the LORD to turn the people of Israel's heart back to Him. Gabriel said that John would do that. Additionally, Gabriel explained John would fulfill the last prophecy of the Old Testament. In Malachi 4:5-6, the LORD promised to send Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers just as Gabriel declared John would do in Luke 1:17.
In Luke 9:18, Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" Their response was John the Baptist, or Elijah or one of the other prophets who had risen. The people of Israel knew Elijah and John so well they assumed Jesus must be one of those two men because it seemed God was working through Him in the same way He had the two prophets.
In Matthew 11:14, Jesus, speaking of John said, "If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah." He makes this statement after reminding the crowd that John was an unshakeable prophet, like Elijah, who fulfilled his responsibility of calling Israel to repentance.
The event that started this conversation brings to mind another similarity between Elijah and John. Not only did the queen of their day hate them, but Elijah and John both responded in comparable ways to the queens' threats. In Luke 11:1-3, while John was in prison, he sent disciples to ask Jesus "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another." Elijah, when threatened by Jezebel in 1 Kings 19, fled for his life. Both men doubted God in the moment of distress.
John is the one who declared Jesus to be the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" and the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. After baptizing Jesus, he saw the Holy Spirit descend on Him and heard the Voice from heaven say "this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." But sitting in prison, John struggled in his belief.
Elijah saw God withhold rain for three years, send ravens to feed him, raise a boy from the dead, cause fire from heaven to consume the offering and answer his prayer by bringing rain after the prolonged drought. But the threat of Jezebel caused him to flee for his life.
The LORD God and the Lord Jesus graciously dealt with both men in their time of doubt. He feeds Elijah for forty days on Mount Horeb and then spoke to him in a whisper to encourage and comfort. Jesus responded to John's question by quoting Scripture to remind him of all the fulfilled prophecy of both his life and Jesus'.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, thank You for displaying Your gentleness and patience with Elijah and John. Thank You for raising up men like Elijah and John who faithfully proclaim the necessity of turning back to You. May my witness of You be as bold these two men.