Inexhaustible fullness, revealing God, witnessed by John (the baptist), the very Lamb of God… this is Jesus!
In this study we will be looking at John 1:16-34. Jesus was only six months younger than John. A ‘junior’ in earth time, but eternal in ‘timeless’ eternity, caused John to admit the superiority of Jesus. John’s work was to prepare the way… and even though he was at ‘center stage’ for a time… when Jesus appeared, he had no problem with stepping aside. Other exaggerated as to John, because all were looking for the Messiah…. but it was not him. This passage goes on to say three things about Jesus:
a.) He is the FULLNESS (Gk. “pleroma”) the sum total of all that God is. Colossians 1:17; 2:9.
b.) He is GRACE UPON GRACE (grace instead of grace/ grace on top of grace/ wonder upon wonder). Limitless/ unmerited grace!!! (Romans 4:1-9). Thus there is no worry about ‘running out of’ grace, for His grace is as deep as His love for mankind.
c.) He is God (the Son) His mind/character/being… all the same as the Father and the Spirit. It may be hard to grasp, or wrap our arms around GOD… but since Jesus reveals GOD… it is easier for us to relate to and ‘wrap our arms around’ Jesus. He opens the door to our knowing God. Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, NO ONE CAN COME TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.”
* Thus the importance of our Savior, our ‘doorway’ … ‘DOORKNOB’ (if that is easier) but He is our way to the Father!
1. IN JESUS – THE DISTANT, UNKNOWABLE, INVISIBLE AND UNREACHABLE GOD HAS COME TO MEN (A little boy was crying in the night, when his dad came in to comfort him… “Can you stay with me dad?” he asked.” The wise father said, “God is always here my son… don’t be afraid”. The child looked up and said, “But dad, I just want a God with skin”.
2. THE WITNESS (vs. 19-28) Begins the story of the ministry/miracles of Jesus)
Recently I was ‘asked'(?) to be on a jury for a capital murder trial. During the trial, there were ‘witnesses’… people who had actually seen the event. Some were credible and some were not. Based on the evidence and witnesses who testified, we either believed the witnesses or not. Some were more credible than others…eventually a judgment was passed down.
Consider the following events:
a.) Day one: vs. 19-28 – The witness of John – “I’m not HIM” (not Elijah, not THE prophet… I’m just a voice crying in the wilderness! John realized his reason, his purpose. So many today never see their purpose in life, or they think that if they are not ‘THE prophet’ or the one in the ‘limelight’ then it’s not good enough. John was humble, bold and satisfied to serve in the shadow of One greater.
b.) Day two: vs. 29-34 – The Lamb of God – Lamb/Sacrifice/Sin, these are connected by demand. It is the demand of justice. It is God’s greatest mystery… the saving of mankind. Paul teaches us in Romans 3:21-26 through the sacrifice of Christ God is declared JUST as well as the JUSTIFIER of those who have faith in Jesus. It is a salvation which is not based on law keeping, but on faith. It is in Jesus that we see IN is dealt with by the SACRIFICE of the LAMB of God.
c.) Day three: vs. 35-39 – The ‘Following’ begins – John, saw Jesus… and realized, this is the One. He begins now to point people to Jesus… “There is Jesus… the One who was promised, the Lamb of God!!!” Those that had been following John, now began following Jesus. Mission accomplished! Well done John! Today we would do well to learn from john. Never seek to be followed, or be in the lime-light or be the ‘big man’… just point people to Jesus.
d.) Day four: vs. 40-42 – Andrew Simon Peter’s brother – What began here, is still going on today, with Andrew, an ordinary fisherman who saw Jesus, heard Jesus, and was so touched by Jesus, that he brought his brother Peter. The rest is ‘His-story’ as more and more were brought to Jesus. Has it stopped? Of course not… ordinary people are still bringing other ordinary people to the Someone who is not Ordinary. Because He is not ordinary… people seek Him out. People follow. They don’t have to… not coerced to… they just see in Jesus, Someone who has the answers to life and eternity, Someone who loves them. May this same joy and excitement of finding Jesus, be with you in your life.
e.) Day five: vs. 43-51 – Phillip and Nathanael – Met Jesus….Not much is said of them, accept that they followed Jesus! That’s enough! (Although we know there was more!)
All in all we see…
a.) John affirms Jesus is the Christ
b.) John tells of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leaders.
c.) Pharisees (Sanhedrin) are looking for false prophets
While many others came to love, believe in, and follow this one called Jesus of Nazareth… the Son of God!
The ‘religious elite’ were asking questions of John… Who are you? (Messiah?)(Elijah?)(Prophet?)… all were answered with a firm, “NO”. Jesus later would ask the disciples the question, “Who do men say I am?” Various answers came, but the one that counted, the one Jesus wanted was “Who do you think I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” (“You are the one we have been looking for and the one with the answer to life’s problems. You are the one and only Messiah!”) (Matthew 16:13-16). Malachi speaks prophetically of the Messiah as the “messenger”. Not just any messenger, but THE MESSENGER. The prophet is so excited, because times were hard in this prophet’s day. The bright ‘light’ … “He is coming” He is the “smelter” and “purifier”. Like a “refiner’s fire” and laundryman’s soap. Of course there is a ‘cleansing coming’ when He comes. Sure, the picture of Jesus cleansing the temple comes to mind, but there is more… cf. Luke 3:15-18! Then notice Malachi 4:4-6… as with all other Old Testament prophecies, they all point forward… to Jesus.
Who are you John? He knew who he was not… he knew who he was. His was a special place at a special time… Preparing people for the coming Christ was his life, and he gave his all to it.
3. WHY DID JOHN BAPTIZE?
Read Mark 1:4-8! John was a rough, tough man. A wilderness preacher that “preached a baptism of repentance FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS”. So were people forgiven when they were immersed by John? Sure! This seems to give some people problems, but that’s what the Book says. Everyone was going out to hear John speak, and ‘obey the gospel he was preaching’, but it was also in preparation for the coming Christ, and the preparation of those of Israel who would be ready for the Messiah. Did these need to be re-baptized later in the name of Jesus? Of course. Since Jesus was to be crucified, and ascend to the Father and then send the Holy Spirit… The church was still to be established. Just as in Acts 19, these disciples had not heard that there was even a Holy Spirit, so they were immersed again. We shall look more at being born again in John 3, but John’s immersion was temporary, but accomplished it’s purpose… it pointed all who would come, to the King. According to Zech. 13:1, the chosen people had to be cleansed… prepared for the coming King (Jesus).
4. THE LAMB OF GOD – vs. 29-34 – (Cf. Isaiah 53:1-7)
“Passover” the word was rich in meaning since the days of Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. The lamb that was to be slain for each family, in remembrance of the deliverance from slavery (representing sin for us), was spotless, no bones broken, and perfect…. Jesus is the Lamb (used 29 times in Revelation) of God! Perfect, spotless, and the “once for all sacrifice” given to perfect salvation for all who come. He is our sacrifice.
Jesus is our “AMNOS” – which gives us the word ‘amnesty’… God’s great Lamb!
Our great propitiation, God’s satisfaction… our great salvation. PRAISE GOD!
Next: “The First Disciples”