The Gospel of John… John 1:1-18
We started out at the end to get a better understanding of the beginning. John 20:30-31 NIV – 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe (continue believing) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
4 Main points from last week:
- The Word (Jesus) is Eternal…
- The Word (Jesus) is Creator…
- The Word (Jesus) is THE Source of all Life…
- The Word (Jesus) reveals God the Father.
John 1:19-34 – A Man sent from God, to announce the Messiah’s coming! – John the Baptist.
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders (Those Jewish leaders who would later oppose Jesus) in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (Isaiah 40:3) 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
NOTE: At least a 4 – 6 week gap between Vs. 28 and 29. Jesus Baptism and Temptation in the Dessert take place after Vs. 28 but before Vs. 29. John doesn’t give us a specific account of Jesus Baptism and the Temptation of Jesus that we find in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, (wasn’t sure if he were the Messiah) but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.33 And I myself did not know him, (recognize him as Messiah) but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Religious leaders begin questioning John, his calling and Ministry:
God’s been silent for 400 years. Now all of a sudden God is speaking through some wild, long haired, camel leather wearing, guy who lives in the desert eating bugs.
He’s not authorized by the Religious leaders, didn’t go to seminary, sat under no one’s teaching… and never ordained.
There’s very little known about John:
- Father was Zacharias, mother was Elizabeth, cousin to Mary (Jesus Mother).
- Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, obeyed all the Lord’s commands and regulations. In their old age without no children. Until God allowed her get pregnant with John. Luke 1:11-17 – 11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
- Zacharias was from the Tribe of Levi, a Levite, the Tribe of Priests of the Nation of Israel. (Same as Moses, Aaron) John was also a Levite.
- Before John’s birth, a Nazarite Vow was given to him (Vs. 15) meaning he was chosen to separate himself from the world, and to the Lord.
- John chose to separate himself from the world by living in the desert until God called him around the age of 26-27. (Luke 3)
- He Wore Camel hair leathers, with a leather belt… Ate bugs, grasshoppers and honey and lived in the desert. Drank no wine, fermented drinks, no grape juice, grapes.
- No cutting his hair while under the Nazerite vow. (At the completion of the vow they would offer their hair as a sacrifice to God.)
- Could not go near or around a dead body.
He’s completely the opposite of any of the Religious leaders of the day. But He’s God’s man! The Religious leaders are NOT thrilled (actually threatened) by John. And the questions begin… Who are you?
I’m not the Messiah… I’m not Elijah… I’m not the Prophet? I’m the voice… clearing the way for the LORD… John quoted Isaiah 40:3.
Isaiah 40:3-5 – “A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 4 “Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
John 1:25- “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
Baptism isn’t something that originated with Christianity. Baptism was born from the “ceremonial cleansing” that would take place when folks converted to Judaism. (This was reserved for the Priests at the Temple)
But John was Baptizing… John was calling on everyone to repent… to be washed clean – Baptized. Including the Jews, which was outrageous to the Religious leaders.
Matthew 3:7-10 NLT – 7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, (or coming to be Baptized) he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
John baptized in the name of the one coming after him (Acts 19:4) and baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 19:5) A person repented of his/her sin and was ready to place their faith in the one coming after John.
John was foreshadowing the Cross… I baptize with water but He will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John’s Baptism is external… Jesus Baptism is internal.
Lessons learned from John the Baptist:
- John the Baptist was an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life for God!
What moved the great men/women of the Bible from ordinary men & women to Extraordinary Men & Women!
The Power of God! We can do NOTHING apart from HIM! AND, He’s given us all that we need to be Extraordinary for Him!
Serious Devotion to the LORD? There’s a Seriousness for the LORD, about the LORD. There’s a Devotion, Dedication and Desire to honor and obey Him with my life! I’m willing to: Surrender; Sacrifice; Serve; Sharing my Faith.
John 17:15-18 – Jesus Praying/communicating with God the Father. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.
Look at the Disciples of Christ after Jesus’ Resurrection. Ordinary men changed to EXTRAORDINARY Men of God… 1. They had the Holy Spirit (Power) of God. 2. They Trusted and Obeyed 3. They were Serious.
- John was a voice but not the Word! John was a lamp but not the light.
There hadn’t been a Prophet in Israel for 400 Years! The Prophet was God’s Man! God spoke through the Prophets to the people of Israel!
In John Chapter 3:30, He was approached about Jesus gaining popularity…. John simply said, He must increase, I must decrease.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20-21NCV – 20 I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me.
We never move from ordinary to extraordinary unless we clearly understand our role, our purpose and unless HE increases and I decrease!
- John was useful to God… (God created Him, gave Him as specific purpose… ) but John was not indispensable. (Indispensable meaning “absolutely necessary” to God and for God.) In other words, God doesn’t “need” us but wants to use us in His plans and for His purposes.
John didn’t believe the papers, the hype, the news media, the internet and all that they said about him on face-book. Even though he probably had more likes than Jesus!
We have to be so careful that we don’t think and act as if Ministry can’t get along without us… The Church can’t function without me. God can’t get along without me.
Our sense of worth and importance is in our Purpose NOT our Position!
Purpose = Relationship with God, thru Jesus Christ. Seek Him, Know Him!
IF that’s right it doesn’t matter about my position and how HE uses me!
- John was extremely successful for God but remained a man of Humility.
Jesus said this of John the Baptist… “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matt. 11:11)
CS Lewis said, Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
Chuck Swindoll said, “Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us. Humility is understanding our place in the Lord’s plan while giving preference to the welfare of others over self.”
John the Baptist lived up to that statement. His life characterized by Humility. I’m not the Messiah… Elijah… the Prophet (Although he was the last Prophet of the Old Test.)… I’m not worthy to take His sandals off. I’m just a voice… I’m just a witness for Jesus!