Summary: In the account of Christ’s advent in John 1:19-37, we see a 1) Joyful Preparation (John 1:19-28), a 2) Joyful Arrival (John 1:29-34) and a resulting 3) Joyful Response (John 1:35-37).
If you're the type of person who counts down the days until your local radio station starts playing nonstop Christmas music, you might want to brace yourself for some bad news. Apparently listening to Christmas music on loop could have some negative effects on your mental health, according to clinical psychologist Linda Blair. She also thinks Christmas songs can have a mentally draining effect on shoppers if they're played too early in the season. "Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it's played too loudly and too early," Blair added. "It might make us feel that we're trapped—it's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, and organize celebrations. (http://www.countryliving.com/life/news/a45613/christmas-music-mental-health/)
The whole issue about the arrival of Christmas music is related to the content or the music itself and character of the one listening to it. If the music is devoid of the mention of Christ and the person hearing it is hostile to Christ, then there will be resentment. Interestingly enough, the first arrival of Christ had the same effect. For those who were attentive to the prophesy of His coming and revered the messiah in their hearts, His coming was met with joyous celebration. For those who ignored the prophesy or saw Christ’s coming as an intrusion to their lives, His arrival was met with skepticism and hostility.
In John 1:19-37, the apostle John gives examples of John the Baptist’s witness, alluded to earlier (1:6–8, 15). The events recorded here took place at the peak of his ministry, subsequent to John’s baptism of Jesus. While the Lord was in the wilderness being tempted (Matt. 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13), John the Baptist continued his ministry of preaching repentance and baptizing. On three successive days, to three different groups, he emphasized three truths about Jesus Christ.
In the account of Christ’s advent in John 1:19-37, we see a 1) Joyful Preparation (John 1:19-28), a 2) Joyful Arrival (John 1:29-34) and a resulting 3) Joyful Response (John 1:35-37). We will spend most of our time on the first, less on the second, and only briefly on the third.
In the account of Christ’s advent in John 1:19-37, we first see a
1) Joyful Preparation (John 1:19-28)
John 1:19-28 19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (ESV)
The opening phrase, this is the testimony of John, introduces all three accounts in verses 19–37. |The noun marturia (testimony) and the related verb martureo (“testify”) are favorite terms of John’s, appearing more than seventy-five times in his writings. John the Baptist was the first witness called by the apostle John to testify to the truth about Jesus Christ.
• When someone asks you what your favorite Christmas carol is, what do you say? Is your response a general apathy or distain of carols, or do you have a specific one in mind? The best carols testify of Christ, and our answer to a favorite carol gives us a unique opportunity. Advent is a unique time of year to publicly answer questions that we may be asked with a testimony of Christ.
With John’s descriptions, the term Jews, while certainly appropriate for all the people of Israel, is in the majority of its uses in John’s gospel restricted especially to the religious authorities (particularly those in Jerusalem) who were hostile to Christ. In this verse the term Jews likely targets the Sanhedrin, the supreme governing body in Israel (under the ultimate authority of the Romans). John’s powerful preaching (including his scathing denunciation of the Jewish religious establishment; cf. Matt. 3:7–10) and widespread popularity prompted them to send a delegation to investigate him. That some were beginning to wonder if he might be the Messiah (Luke 3:15) further alarmed the Jewish authorities. They feared a popular uprising, which would have been brutally suppressed by the Romans (cf. John 11:47–50) and diminished their power. So this strange prophet not only unsettled the Jewish authorities religiously, but politically as well.