Summary: 1 of 4. John was approached by others regarding his spiritual niche. We must identify those competing for our belief. But How are we to identify them? Identifying competitors for your belief employs...
IDENTIFYING The COMPETITORS For BELIEF—John 1:19-28
Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School.
"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge, & all the people walked across safely. He used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters & call in an air strike. They sent in bombers to blow up the bridge & all the Israelites were saved."
"Now, Joey, is that REALLY what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked.
"Well, no, Mom, but if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it !"
There are many trying to gain our attention & guide the placement of belief.
Identifying God’s servant(s)
John was approached by others regarding his spiritual niche.
*We must identify/concern ourselves with/ the spiritual niche of those competing/vying for our belief.
How can/are we to identify the niche of those competing for belief?
9 considerations/keys/objectives/principles for identifying/categorizing those copeting for belief.
1—Identifying competitors for your belief employs...
:19—“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests & Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?””
This entire section(:19-36) reveals the “testimony of John” the Baptist & the relevance of his ministry in relation to the coming of Messiah.
Here we gain insight to the personal character of John & his ministry. The reader sees John’s ministry in greater depth or focus. A particular aspect of John’s ministry is centered upon. That aspect is the relationship between John’s & Jesus’ ministry as it is borne out from the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
The emphasis eventually shifts fully to Jesus’ ministry beginning with the focus upon the inner circle of His initial disciples(1:35-51).
The “Jews”, in “Jerusalem” “sent” “priests & Levites” to John. They were sent “from Jerusalem” which was their(the Jew’s) seat of spiritual learning & expression in Israel. The temple(Herod’s) was there. These were sent to John to question(“ask”) him in order to discover his purpose or rather to discover ‘if’ &/or ‘how’ he was fulfilling anticipated biblical identities.
“[John] constantly uses the phrase "the Jews" as descriptive of the people as distinct from the Gentile world & from the followers of Christ (at first Jews also). Often he uses it of the Jewish leaders & rulers in particular who soon took a hostile attitude toward both John & Jesus.”—RWP
These particular “priests & Levites” were sent because they were the representatives of spiritual things to their larger constituency.
This smaller section(:19-28) specifically details the inquiries of those who had been sent by a larger party(the Pharisees) to inquire of spiritual things.
John must have made statements regarding the Messiah or at least had made a noticeable public impact so that an inquiry seemed in order. Regardless, John engendered enough interest among “the Jews” that their concern about the possible arrival of Messiah in their lifetime was seriously entertained.
We all(like the Jews) trust our delegates. If they are found to be untrustworthy they are rightly dismissed or disposed of.
*But, Where/How do we get our information, & is it trustworthy?
“Testimony/Record/Witness”—marturia—1) A testifying—1a) The office committed to the prophets of testifying concerning future events; 2) What one testifies, testimony, i.e. before a judge. Strong—Evidence given (judicially or genitive case).
“Jews”—Ioudaiov—1) Jewish, belonging to the Jewish nation; 2) Jewish as respects to birth, origin, religion. Strong—Judaean, i.e. Belonging to Jehudah[hdwhy—Gen. 29:35].
“Sent”—apostellw—1) To order (one) to go to a place appointed; 2) To send away, dismiss—2a) To allow one to depart, that he may be in a state of liberty, 2b) To order one to depart, send off, 2c) To drive away. Apostellw includes a reference to equipment & suggests official or authoritative sending. Strong—Set apart, i.e. by implication--To send out(properly, on a mission) literally or figuratively.
“Priests”—iereuv—1) A priest, one who offers sacrifices & in general in busied with sacred rites—1a) Referring to priests of Gentiles or the Jews,; 2) metaph. of Christians, because, purified by the blood of Christ & brought into close intercourse with God, they devote their life to him alone & to Christ. Strong—A priest (literally or figuratively).
“Levites”—Leuithv—1) One of the tribe of Levi; 2) in a narrower sense--Those were called Levites who, not being of the family of Aaron, for whom alone the priesthood was reserved, served as assistants to the priests. It was their duty to keep the sacred utensils & the temple clean, to provide the sacred loaves, to open & shut the gates of the temple, to sing the sacred hymns in the temple, & to do many other things. Used 3X.
“Ask”—erwtaw—1) To question; 2) To ask—2a) To request, entreat, beg, beseech. Erwtaw denotes the form of the request. “Aitew signifies to ask for something to be given, not done, giving prominence to the thing asked for rather than the person, & hence is rarely used in exhortation. Erwtaw, on the other hand, is to request a person to do (rarely to give) something; referring more directly to the person, it is naturally used in exhortation, etc.'” Strong—To interrogate; by implication--To request.