The Role of John the Baptist – John 1

If you’d like to read the entire chapter of John 1, click here.

John 1
Vs 1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

BEGINNING: Where else in the Bible do we read the phrase “In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1 “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

WORD: Who is the Word? The answer is found in vs 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.”

So Jesus was there at the beginning of the world, at the dawn of creation, for “In the beginning was the Word”.

Vs 6-8 “There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.”

There are two significant men named John in the New Testament, and here the one “John” (the Apostle) is writing about the other “John” (the Baptist). John the Baptist had a job given to him by God, “to declare the way of the Lord” and to proclaim Jesus’ coming. Why would he do that, what’s the point?

When you hear a friend describe for you all of the wonderful reasons why you need to try this new car, read a new book that just came out, or go see a movie they just saw – they are testifying to you from their own experience. Your friend saw the movie, thought it was awesome, and thinks you will to. This kind of testimony carries so much credit and weight. That’s one reason why movies become blockbusters and books become bestsellers.

A movie came out recently about the book of Exodus, and it had a good opening weekend in ticket sales. But after folks saw it and told their friends how terrible the movie was, it bombed. The advertising for the movie can only bring in so many ticket sales. It’s the personal testimony of others that can make the movie a hit.

That was the job of John the Baptist here. His role was to “testify” to the people around him that the long-awaited, long-promised Savior was coming!

John the Baptist is telling the Jews “He is here, He is walking among us right now! Watch for Him!” John is preparing the hearts of the Jewish people, God’s chosen people, to discover Jesus as their Savior.

Let’s take a quick look at some Old Testament prophecy that predicted Jesus was coming as King and Savior from 2 Samuel 7:12-16

12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,
15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'”

After David dies (verse 12), God will raise up one of his descendants to reign as King. Jesus was actually born as a descendant of King David.

God will establish Jesus as King forever (vs 13). Israel was waiting for an eternal King!

King David was Jesus’ ancestor/father, but Jesus is eternal and existed at creation. So he is both a “father” to King David and a “son”.

Again, God promised that He would establish Jesus as King forever.

Vs 9-14
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
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.

The true light” is Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as “the Word” in verse 1 and the psalmist tells us that God’s “word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. Jesus embodies the Word of God, the promises of God. He is our light along the dark path we travel in this world.

Verse 10 reminds us that Jesus was there at the beginning of Creation. He has always existed and always will be.

Jesus Christ is the third person of the Trinity, God’s only Son. Verses 12-13 remind us that He is also a choice each of us has to make. We can choose Jesus as our Savior and accept his free gift of eternal life, or we can choose to reject Him.

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
~ Joshua 24:15

In verse 14, John is saying that the Word – the Promise of a coming King and Savior – has been born. It has become flesh. The Promise has been fulfilled.

I had a dad who would frequently promise to do things with us – play baseball, take us sledding, whatever. He was a busy guy, it wasn’t a big priority for him, and he frequently broke those promises. God has made a promise to Israel and they have been longing and waiting for this promise to be completed.

God always does what He promised. Always. We can trust Him.

Vs 15-16 “John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me. For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

John is “bearing witness”, he is testifying, that Jesus is the Savior from God and from Him we “receive grace upon grace”. In other words, there is no end to the grace He gives us. John is telling anyone and everyone who will listen.

Vs 19a, 23 “And this is the testimony of John, 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.”

John is quoting from the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:3 “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’ ”

A highway is a fast, simple, smooth route for us to get to where we are going. Straight, smooth, and simple. That’s what God was providing to us: a simple route to have a relationship with Him through Jesus. Not complicated or based on all kinds of work we have to do or things we need to clean up before we get there. A straight, simple, smooth highway. Jesus. Nothing in our lives- things we’ve done or people we’ve hurt- can block the highway. There is forgiveness and grace and love in Jesus that we can’t get anywhere else. All we have to do is ask for it from God. “Please forgive me, give me your life, your Son, I want the grace you have, I want you Lord to take over my life. Please change me and take me in like a lost sheep that you love and protect.”

That’s it. Straight, smooth, and simple.

God intentionally keeps it easy so that even the simplest soul can understand how to find salvation in Jesus.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The old English proverb “For Want of a Nail” instructs us that seemingly small choice, can lead to later and greater consequences. Think about some of the choices you made earlier in life: That first date with him/her, the first cigarette, spending that big check on something you wanted, whatever.

I am reminded of math homework, particularly in high school. Early on in my freshman year, I didn’t work too hard on my Algebra. I could have made much greater effort but I didn’t. Later I took Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus – all of which I struggled through. All because I didn’t get the basic concepts back in my freshman year.

If you could name the one most important choice you will ever make in life, what would it be? I’ll tell you what I think it is. It’s the choice you make on Jesus Christ. There is no middle ground on Jesus. You either believe or you don’t. And if you truly believe, it changes everything. There is no halfway. He died for you and I so that we don’t need to spend eternity in hell. It’s a pretty simple choice, but with consequences that last for eternity. Choose Christ. You will never be the same.

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
~ Joshua 24:15

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.
~Acts 16:31

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2 thoughts on “The Role of John the Baptist – John 1

  1. Pingback: Jesus at the Cana wedding and clearing out the weasels | Sunday School Bible Study

  2. Pingback: Jesus at the Cana Wedding and Clearing the Temple | Sunday School Bible Study

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