Summary: This sermon looks at Jesus as the forerunner of the Messiah.
THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Video Sermon Link: https://youtu.be/GqROLrfsH_8
1.) Last week we started to look at Jesus the “Word”.
2.) Today we will continue to look at and exalt Jesus, but we are also introduced to John the Baptist.
A.) As you know John was a cousin of Jesus, but John was far more than just his cousin.
B.) John had also come into this world by a miraculous work of God to an elderly couple unable to have children.
C.) More than this, John was the one whom Isaiah had prophesied would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
ca.) John is the voice calling in the wilderness “Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
cb.) Let us meet John the Baptist.
I. JOHN WAS A MESSENGER.
1.) He was a messenger from God (1:6)
A.) Scripture does not record for us how that John the Baptist had received his call from God to prepare the way for the Lord.
aa.) Certainly, Isaiah had prophesied that John would come in that role.
ab.) John himself recognized that God had called him to that position.
B.) What we can say with certainty is that the Spirit of God had been involved in preparing John for this ministry from the time he was in the womb.
ba.) Luke 1:13, 15b., 39-44
baa.) It seems the yet to be born John the Baptist (and for a time his mother Elizabeth were both filled with the Holy Spirit as a testimony to Mary of the coming Messiah.
bab.) Elizabeth received the Spirit of God long enough to make this prophecy about Jesus.
bac.) John had a measure of the Spirit of God from his conception, on into life.
.01) Luke 1:15 “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth.”
.011) This is truly a remarkable statement.
.012) Throughout the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came onto people at times, but not necessarily all the time.
.013) The permanent abiding of the Spirit of God did not come until Christ had gone to the cross, and man came into Christ when buried in baptism.
.014) Yet the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah would have the Holy Spirit right from the womb.
.02) This could even explain John’s knowledge of being called to this ministry.
B.) John was to come in the Spirit of Elijah.
ba.) This had been prophesied in Malachi.
baa.) Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6
bb.) In John 1:21 that we will look at more next week the religious leaders asked John if he was Elijah.
bba.) John told them he was not because John thought this referred to the literal Elijah.
.01) Even John himself did not realize that he was the prophesied Elijah of the Old Testament.
bbb.) Today there are still religious leaders looking for Elijah to come before the day of the Lord.
.01) Jesus brought clarity to the prophecy in declaring John to be the Elijah prophesied before the coming of the Lord.
.011) Matthew 17:10-13
2.) He came as a witness. (1:7.)
A.) “He came to bear witness to the Light.” (1:7a.)
aa.) John’s entire ministry was to play second fiddle to the Christ.
aaa.) His ministry was to proclaim Jesus as the Christ, or Messiah.
aab.) John was to prepare the world for Jesus the Messiah.
B.) “that through him all might believe.” (1:7b.)
ba.) The preaching of John would open the door to people accepting Jesus as the Christ.
baa.) Even then, many of the Jewish people would reject Jesus.
bab.) Many early disciples accepted Jesus, because of the preaching of John.
3.) “He himself was not the light; He came only as a witness to the light.” (1:8.)
A.) While John was not the light, there were a number who would have accepted John as the Messiah of God.
aa.) John’s ministry was as a mirror reflecting the image of Jesus Christ to the world.
aaa.) He was not the light but reflected people to the light of Christ.
ab.) It had been four hundred years with no word from God, and the people were ready for a Messiah.
aba.) John continually reminded people that he was not the Christ but had only come to testify of the Christ.
.01) John 1:19-20
abb.) That day the religious leaders had come to question him to find out if he was the Christ?
.01) There is much more for us to say on these questions, but I will address that next week.
II. JOHN CAME TO PROCLAIM THE GREATNESS OF THE MESSIAH.
1.) “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” (1:15)