What John Knew about Jesus (Jn 1:19-34)
Sometimes the testimony of people carries great weight (e.g., John Dean before Congress during Watergate). This morning, we need to examine the testimony of John the Baptist, because that testimony carries great weight. We need to examine the testimony of John the Baptist and take a look at Jesus.
Jesus’ Way Needed to be Prepared, vv 19-23
Some priests and Levites came to John and asked him if he was one of several end-time figures the Jews expected.
They asked him if he were the Christ. He denied being the Christ.
They asked if he were Elijah.
Malachi had prophesied that Elijah would come shortly before the Messiah (Mal 4:5). John said that he was not Elijah. Jesus said that John was Elijah (Mt 11:14). The solution:
- The Jews had a faulty concept of Malachi’s prophecy. They expected the real Elijah to return and settle all disputes between the Jews.
- That was not John’s purpose-he had “the spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk 1:17), but he was not Elijah himself nor was he the Jews’ concept of Elijah.
They asked him if he were the prophet.
Moses had said that another great prophet would come (Deut 18:15). John was not that prophet.
John said that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The Jews asked John, “Then who are you?” John uses the words of Isaiah (Is 40:3). The context in Isaiah is straightening out the desert so that God could lead his people out of Egypt. John’s role was to prepare the way for Jesus.
Here’s the essence of John’s message: I’m not any great figure; he is yet to come. John pointed to Jesus, not himself. We need people today who point to Jesus.
Jesus was Greater than John, vv 24-28
The Jews wanted to know why John was baptizing. Baptism was common as a cleansing ritual in John’s day, but it was self-administered. The Jews wanted to know what business John had baptizing others.
John pointed them to Jesus. He said he baptized with water, but someone else was coming. John was not even worthy to untie the thongs of his sandals. Untying the sandals was a job for a slave; John says, “I am not even worthy to be Jesus’ slave.” John wasn’t worthy to be Jesus’ slave because Jesus came before John (Jn 1:15). Since John was older than Jesus, this refers to Jesus’ pre-existence.
Jesus is greater than we. We are not worthy to be Jesus’ slaves. Because Jesus is greater than we are, he deserves our praise and our worship, our lives.
Jesus is the Lamb of God, vv 29-34
The day after the Jews came to him, John saw Jesus, and John cried out, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus came into this world to be our sacrifice. He came to take away our sins.
John came baptizing so that Jesus might be revealed to Israel.
Jesus is the Messiah. John saw the Spirit descend as a dove and remain on Jesus. God told him that the one upon whom he saw the Spirit remain would baptize with the Holy Spirit. John had seen and borne witness that Jesus is the Son of God. John was, in essence, saying, “This is the one!”
Jesus is the One who can take away your sins. He is the Lamb of God.
If you need to respond to the invitation, we give you that chance while we stand and sing.