Summary: John the Baptist was called by God to be the clarion and herald of the coming Good News!
Date Written: March 15, 2010
Date Preached: March 21, 2010
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: Approaching the Resurrection
Sermon Title: The Revealing of Messiah
Sermon Text: John 1:15-34
Ever since the fall of humanity in the Garden, humanity has sought God in many ways! Humanity’s search has led them down many pathways and into places of dark lostness.
Today in the world there are thousands of religions and religious sects that claim the truth or at least claim to be part of the truth. All of these religions except one have one thing in common… they are avenues for humanity to reach out to touch or find God… their belief is that humanity can work and do good deeds to gain God’s attention and favor!
But of all the belief systems in this world Christianity has just the opposite approach! Christianity teaches humanity is incapable of reaching God, but we proclaim Good News and it is God reaching out for humanity. God has done what is necessary to reconcile the broken relationship of His creation…
And for most people today this is a BIG problem! These people believe that we must DO something OR we must ACCOMPLISH something to earn God’s favor! However, God has said in His Word that it is just the opposite! Humanity can do NOTHING that will garner God’s favor leading to salvation! However, God has initiated and engaged humanity to reconcile with His creation, bringing forgiveness, grace and salvation!
God has been at work in this plan since before the world began, and it came to fulfillment in the life and person of Jesus Christ! Today we begin a series of sermons that reveal and reflect on Jesus! So many of us here know the story and we have heard it every year at Easter.
We have heard how Jesus came and that He chose to die for our sin and provide salvation for the lost. Jesus said on the night before He gave His life, “I am the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE and NO man comes to the Father except thru ME!”
This exclusive claim on the part of Jesus is another area that bothers a lot of people today. Many want to claim that just like there are more than one road to any location… there are more than one ways to get to God. But Jesus was very clear on this matter… Jesus claimed to be the ONLY way to God! Then we see Jesus cementing that claim by laying down His life as a ransom for the sin of this world… Jesus laid down His life for our sin, and because of that we can know forgiveness!
Many people throughout history have cringed at the thought that Jesus was crucified with thieves and have found it to be repugnant and degrading! BUT for the church, for the 2000 yrs of Christian history the cross of Calvary has ALWAYS been the central focus of our faith. Every other aspect of our faith and belief is realized only THRU what Jesus accomplished on the Cross of Calvary!
So, without the Cross of Christ, our faith would be manmade and thus be worthless! But the cross was the initiative of God… the Cross is God reaching out to humanity! Without the cross our ‘religion’ would be no different than any other false religion in the world today!
Knowing this helps us to understand Jesus in the Garden! Jesus knew that the Cross was His only path! Likewise Satan understood and tried his best to distract Jesus from that path…away from the Cross! But Jesus realized the centrality of the Cross to our redemption! He knew that without the Cross, we would be lost!
When Jesus walked here with His disciples, time and time again He mentioned how He would have to die…referencing the Cross and how critical it was to His mission! This was a constant source of confusion for the disciples to the point of being offensive to them, in fact Peter took Jesus aside one time and urged Jesus to stop saying things like that because he was NEVER going to let that happen!
We know that Jesus rebuked Peter on that occasion and that was because Jesus understood that His path and mission…Jesus understood what God required of him! As so knowing that, today we look at the beginning of His ministry that leads us directly to the foot of Calvary and ultimately will explode forth from the grave and change the world FOREVER!
John tells us in John 1:14 [ESV]
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus came on mission from God and John the Baptist knew and understood that He was to tell the world that Jesus was coming. But John did not know WHO Jesus… who the Messiah would be other than He knew He was coming! John was a witness of Christ even before Jesus began His ministry.