Summary: The focus of our personal ministries should be introducing and calling attention to Jesus Christ, not ourselves.
God’s Gift to Mankind: A Lamb
1. For about 14 years, I have been teaching AWANA. I teach each of our three division, beginning with a puppet skit and then a flannel graph lesson with felt figures…
2. I taught the Christmas Story to the Sparks, K=2nd grade…then Austin helped me move everything into the auditorium to teach the Flames (grads3-6); but when it came time to put Jesus into the manger, he was missing….
3. We searched for Jesus and could not find him.
4. My wife, Marylu, finally suggested I look behind the scenery; there was baby Jesus on the back side of the door.
5. So I had to go with the flow. This year, baby Jesus crawled away outside and the shepherds brought him back in!
6. I can also say that my wife, Marylu, helped me to find Jesus!
7. Some Christmas seasons, it is easy to lose Jesus. We forget what the season is about. We forget that we owe our all to Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. We forget that the one born over 2,000 years ago was a sacrificial lamb.
Main Idea: The focus of our personal ministries should be introducing and calling attention to Jesus Christ, not ourselves.
I. John Developed Anticipation for the Gift of the Lamb With HUMILITY, Not for Men’s Praise (19-28)
A. The term "did not fail" emphasizes his RESOLVE (19-22)
1. Not the Messiah
2. Why Elijah? (Malachi 4:5)
Malachi 4:5, "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes."
3. Why the Prophet? (Deuteronomy 18:15)
Deuteronomy 18:15, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him."
B. He was CONTENT being anonymous (23)
C. His focus was furthering the work of the MESSIAH (24-28)
1. Baptism was a pre-existing JEWISH ritual
Jewish Encyclopedia, "In order to pronounce the name of God in prayer in perfect purity, the Essenes underwent Baptism every morning."
2. Hillel’s school believed the Millennium would begin if ALL Israel repented
3. John and Jesus seemed to express SIMILAR views (Matthew 4:17 and 10:7)
• We must serve to serve, not for attention (liking attention or appreciation, is okay, but our motivation needs to be purpose driven)
• Even though John and Jesus recognized that the coming of the Kingdom to earth was under God’s control, they still put their hearts into winning people to repentance.
II. John Put His REPUTATION on the Line to Endorse God’s Lamb Gift (29-34)
Product endorsements are important. Why do they pay movie stars or athletes who really know nothing about a product to endorse it? Because endorsements are persuasive. We need to endorse Jesus with both our words and our lives.
A. He was not ashamed to CONFESS Christ publicly (29)
1. He explained that Yeshua is the LAMB
• A lamb was the favored sacrificial animal of the First Testament. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "No less than 50,000 paschal lambs were killed at the Passover celebration of the second year after the Exodus (Num. ix. 1-14)."
• Lambs were used on a daily basis for sacrifice, more than goats or bullocks.
• John is probably alluding to the prophecies of the Messiah who would suffer for the sins of the people, prophesied in Isaiah 53. Verses 7 and 8 read:
"He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished."
2. He explained that Yeshua came to take our sins AWAY
Martin Dale shares this true illustration:
A tourist visited a church in Germany and was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower.
He asked why it was there and was told that when the church was being built, a workman fell from a high scaffold.
His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured.
How did he survive? A flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower at the time, and he landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved.
To commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the workman fell. [source: sermon central]