Two Johns – different people pointing in the same direction.  And two Baptisms – confirming the one God.

John 1:19-36

As before this blog is the work of Derek McKelvey though it purports to be written by John the writer of the Fourth Gospel. Any heresy is solely mine!

We have reversed the Order of the chapter as Michael Ots of Evangelism Trust spoke last Sunday (7th) evening on verses 35-51 as the latter part of Chapter one suited his theme. I am dealing with verses 19-36 this week (14th).

 

 

As I said last week, John the Baptist was a passionate and uncomfortable person. He shocked the establishment, his dress, his sermons, his Baptism (Jews do not need baptized – proselytes perhaps but not Jews[1]), even his choice of venue in the back of beyond.

But we, the young people who were tired of tired and ritual religion, loved him. It was exciting to be in his company – he questioned the status quo – he challenged the authorities – he told us to get serious about God – to repent and believe in the coming Messiah.

But not just us with the idealism of youth on our side – people of all ages flocked to him – and they repented and were baptized.

Small wonder that he had a visit from a delegation from the religious authorities – his services were more popular than theirs! And they had heard the gossip – he is Elijah[2] – He is the Prophet[3]

Even the Christ?  He would have none of it. He was emphatic (as always!) he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40[4] – one who prepares a way for the Lord and makes his paths straight.

If they had come a day later – they would have seen Him. It was the next day he came. When I read over what I have written I realise I did not mention that John baptized him. But John himself bore witness – the Spirit descended and remained – and a voice testified to his being the Son of God.  John and I are very different but we both can give witness without a shadow of doubt he is ‘the Son of God’. We both point in the same direction – to Jesus, the Christ. As you read on you will see that that is what the disciples and that tough nut to crack Nathanael also said and saw.

Witness – that’s what this book is all about – here is the first hand witness of who he is – and here is his own testimony and that of his Father that this is who he is.[5]

Just two things more – he came baptizing with the Holy Spirit – and that too is undeniable. John was a mighty preacher and brought many to repentance – but Jesus when we believed gave us power to do what he did and more.[6]

‘The Lamb of God’ I had no idea that John’s phrase would capture the imagination of the church as it has – spoken at Communion services week by week in many languages – but for us it captured so much of all the Scriptures[7] had to say.

  • The Lamb of Passover – the sacrifice that set us free from Egypt
  • The Lamb that saved Isaac and died in his stead
  • The Lamb that leads the flock of God and delivers them from their foes and rules them in the Kingdom of God[8]
  • The Lamb and the Lion are both descriptions I used in the Revelation – Isaiah 11 too.

For us and you that is who he is – The Lamb of God.


[1] Baptism was used as part of the ritual of admission of a proselyte – one converting to Judaism from another faith. For the Jew cleansing came through the sacrificial system and his/her membership of the Jews.

[2] There was a strong tradition that Elijah would return to announce the coming of the Messiah see Malachi 4:5 and 3:1

[3] This tradition stems from Deuteronomy 18:15-18. But it had much credence in the inter-testamental period

[4] Isaiah 40:3-5

[5] See chapters 5, 8, 12, and 15-16.

[6] See John 14:12 and of course the second chapter of Acts.

[7] Remember that the writers of the New Testament mean the Old Testament when they say ‘the scriptures’ The New testament would not gain recognition for another 100 years or more.

[8] Such is the description that is found in the ‘Testament of Joseph’

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