Summary: John the Baptist understands who he is and the message he is bringing
I am beginning today a series of messages on the People Jesus met as recorded in the Gospel of John. Two years ago I gave you a series of messages on the “I AM” statements of Jesus. Last summer, I gave you a series of messages on the eight miracles recorded in John’s Gospel account. This summer I wanted to walk us through this marvelous book in another way.
Please turn to John 1:19-22 please stand in honor of the reading of the Word of God. READ.
Today we will focus on how John described himself and an encounter with Jesus.
I. Who was John the Baptist?
This question was asked by the Pharisees in verse 22. I find it interesting that the Apostle John does not include in his gospel account some of the things we find in other accounts. Luke gives to us the wonderful story of John the Baptist’s miraculous birth. Mark jumps immediately into John the Baptist’s story chapter 1 verse 2 and presents his story in 7 verses. John gives him 25 out of the first 34.
How did John the baptizer answer the Pharisees question? READ verse 23
A. I am a voice
John the Baptist picks up on a statement from the Prophet Isaiah 40:3 that he felt described himself.
John understood that he was to prepare the people for the Messiah and was not to have people focus on him. “A voice” is an interesting way to describe what John did. Because there are many voices calling out to people, John seemed concerned that his would be lost or ignored as if standing out in the wilderness.
We are also called to be “a voice” for God; we are to speak --- to cry out in our modern wilderness how wonderful Jesus is.
B. He is a witness
Go back with me to verses 6-9 READ.
In this section John the Baptist tells us he is a witness to the light of Jesus.
In spite of all the advantages and special treatment that God gave to Israel, they were a people living in spiritual darkness. John was called to shed light into their darkness.
Modern lights come in all shapes, wattages and sizes. Some of you are supposed to be 100 watts for Jesus, but because of sin in your life, you are dim. Some of you are called to be “spotlights” for Jesus --- life the path of someone for Jesus today. I feel sure everyone remembers the song “this little light of mine I am going to let it shine” – let’s sing it.
C. He is humble
I am impressed by John the Baptist’s humility. In verse 26, 27 READ John tells the Pharisees that he is unworthy to untie his sandals. Untying sandals was a job for the lowest of servants. Rather than having such a poor view of himself, I think John the Baptist held such a high view of Jesus. This is one reason I wanted to do the study on Gripped by the Greatness of God on Wednesday nights. I fear too few people really understand the majesty of God. Come join us!
There is a big difference between humility and poor self image. Humility is in contrast to self-reliance, pride and arrogance.
When John describes himself as a voice, a witness and unworthy to untie the sandal of Jesus, he is describing himself in humility. John described himself as a voice instead of a presence; a witness rather than the one being testified about; to unlatch rather than the one wearing the sandals. Those of us in leadership must watch ourselves so that we don’t try to take the place of Jesus. The Oak Ridge Boys had a song back in the 70’s that had the line in it “nobody wants to rhythm guitar behind Jesus, everyone wants to be the leader of the band”.
As I wrap up this section, I feel I have to step out of the Gospel of John for a moment and give you a statement by the Lord Jesus about John. I am reading from Luke 7:28 READ
“I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
Jesus gave high praise of John for who he was and what he did.
The purpose of John the Baptist was to introduce Jesus to the world. He was the forerunner, the one who was to prepare the way for others to come to faith in Jesus as the Christ.
Someone sent this video clip from Youtube to me and I thought it might be a blessing to you. In case some of you are not familiar with Steve Harvey, he is a comedian. (show clip)