Summary: This sermon unpacks the character & life of John the Baptist.
John 1:19 -28. The testimony of John the Baptist.
Last week we uncovered the deep spiritual insights into his identity of Jesus (divine nature), his incarnation ( humanity) & his purpose (to save those who receive Him). We now commence the historical journey, with the beginnings of Jesus earthly ministry and the impact it had upon those around at the time. It begins not with the witness of Christ but with the testimony of another, John the Baptist (v19). Who was the forerunner to Jesus, a witness sent from God (Jhn1:6-8) to point others to the true light. just like the other three gospel writers John too mentions the testimony and work of John the Baptist (Matt3:1, Mark 1: 1-11, Luke 3: 2).
Today I want us to unpack a little of the life of John the Baptist and show that his life & character is a true example of the life & character that all true saints of God should endeavour to live out on a daily basis before others, whatever our gifting in the Lord. We shall also see the opportunities that type of character will give us as we come into contact with others.
But before we do let’s look at a bit of the background.
John the Baptist (The man)
John was born at the same time as Jesus, and was born as a result of prayer & promise given by the Angel of the Lord in the temple to Zechariah (luke1:13). John was a Levite & his family line had a priestly heritage his Father came from priestly division of Abijah & his mother was from the priestly line of Aaron (luke1:5). John was also related to Jesus; Elizabeth was a relative to Mary (earthly family). Even in the womb of Elizabeth his mother, John was filled with the Holy Spirit (15) The whole of Johns life was given over to Gods call, to serve Gods specific purpose to be the forerunner to Jesus ministry pointing others ultimately not just to repentance but to the Christ.
John the Baptist (His ministry)
Jesus & Johns ministries overlap and interconnect as Jesus was proclaiming the kingdom of God & calling his disciples, Johns ministry was prophesised by Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3) upon his birth his father also prophesied too echoing the words of Isaiah (Luke 1:76- 80) John spent his time in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Isreal. John began preparing the ground for the Messiah, bringing people to a baptism of repentance, also pointing others to Jesus as the Messiah, specifically as the Lamb of God ( John 1:29) who would die for sinners, He pointed to the greater baptism of that Jesus would deliver with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). John simply said of himself that he was the one as the prophet Isaiah foretold “The one called to prepare the way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness; Prepare the way of the Lord make his paths straight.” (Jhn 1:23)
John also baptises Jesus this Jesus undertakes this act although he had no sin in order to fulfil all righteousness (Mat t2:15) Here Jesus is also identifying himself with sinful humanity, yet without sin, it’s the inauguration of his own earthly ministry. John the Baptist would find himself getting into hot water over his outspoken words, specifically to Herod the Tetrarch who was having an affair with his brother’s wife Herodias after at a dinner party he eventually found himself be headed as a result of his heart searching words.
John the Baptist (The moment)
The times were expectant & volatile. With messianic expectations, ( under Roman control) and volatile with the usurping of power with the raising up of so called messianic groups, we see it in the questioning of John. John had been causing a stir all over Palestine and it had even reached the higher echelons of the temple in Jerusalem and so a group of delegates from the Sanhedrin are sent out to question him (19-23). John had a powerful preaching ministry, with a fresh and radical call to repentance as a result, large masses of people were submitting to baptism of repentance in the river Jordan and elsewhere , with a growing band of disciples, not to mention his peculiar looks & eating habits, John was making a real impact and it had reached the big guns (The Sanhedrin) in Jerusalem word had got out and so a group of delegates made up of priests & Levites are sent out to question him. V19 “Who are you?”
• The author wants us to know the hostility towards Jesus, John, his disciple’s right in the beginning of the ministry. ( The Jews : 68 times in Greek text of John the word Jews is used sometimes in the neutral 2:6, positive 4:22, but in the main its hostile throughout Johns gospel; not by all Jews though).