The Witness of John the Baptist
Book of John Chapter 1:15-36
In last week’s lesson we saw that John introduced the Jews to the Holy Trinity, the Triune God. The Jews laid claim to God. The Jews were familiar with the Spirit of God. The Spirit can be found 224 times in the Old Testament. It was time for the world to meet the Messiah, God the Son.
Last week we saw these words Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Last week we saw these words Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
John the Baptist preached to all who came to hear him that this man named Jesus was indeed the Messiah sent from God.
This is the same job we have today, “to witness that Jesus is “the Christ”, “the true Messiah” come from God, the God-Man!
We believe that John was only 6 months older than the Man/Jesus, so we know that John the Baptist preached the coming of the Messiah before Jesus made His presence known to him.
You see it is important for the world to know that God certainly manifested Himself in the flesh and that Jesus was that person.
Jesus’ last name is not Christ, Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah!
*****Joh 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
There can be no doubt that God had sent His Spirit to dwell in John the Baptist.
God’s answer to the sin of Adam was making Himself known to the world. We would have never known Jehovah God if He had not introduced Himself to us!
When John realized by the Holy Spirit that it was this Jesus, the son of Mary his cousin, he could say that Jesus was born of Mary after his own birth.
John also knew by the Holy Spirit that this same Jesus was before Him, in fact so far before him that He was God in the flesh!
Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
God alone is eternity.
God has always existed.
God is the cause of John’s existence and also our own existence.
Jesus the Christ is to be first in importance much more than any human being that has ever lived.
The entire world has changed and is still changing since the First Coming of our Lord to this earth and this cannot be denied.
BUT, We must all be aware of the Second Coming of the Messiah, still in the same flesh He wore at His departure.
Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
There is no human who can lay such a claim to themselves other than Jesus the Messiah.
Christ is not Jesus’ last name it is who He is! It is only Jesus Christ who has revealed God the Father to us!
All that we are capable of knowing about God the Father is revealed to us through His Son!
*****Joh 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist had a great following, but he had to make sure that the Light of the Messiah did not shine upon him, John was only the “Voice” and not the “Foundation” of the Church.
His job was to lead as many people as he could to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only Christ Jesus who can reveal to us the “Grace” of God!
There would be no “Gospel” (Good News) for us if, Jesus was a mere man like so many who lay claim to be of God!
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
We can be complete in no other but Jesus Christ.
Jesus has given us “Grace” upon “Grace”, Grace enough to meet every need we could ever have, no matter the circumstances!
Jesus Christ does not only have the answers but He in His Deity is the answer to all life’s problems!
It is a fact that Moses revealed the written Law to the Jews but, is also a fact that “Grace” came by Jesus Christ!
What is “Grace”? Grace is the unmerited favor of God!
The word “Grace” can be found 39 times in the Old Testament and 131 times in the New Testament. God’s Grace is very important to us!
Rom_5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Law made us realize that we are all sinners.
It is only by the “Grace” of God that we can be saved from our sin!
Righteousness cannot come by the Law for no one can keep all the Law, but Jesus Christ.
Therefore righteousness can come only by Jesus Christ, who in His person is the “Grace” of God!
Moses was no more than a servant just as we are to be. Jesus Christ is the Master!
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Again it is only by Jesus Christ that we can know the true God!
*****Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Had the Lord Jesus Christ not come to this earth we would have never known the truth of God. He would just have been someone who just moved on after He created us like so many believe.
There is but one God and this is very true!
There is no such thing as a God of Evil and a God of Good who are fighting to see who wins.
There is One God and He is very involved in every action upon this earth.
This does not mean God does bad things because He cannot do such a thing, but He can allow them to happen when He could have certainly stopped them from happening. God will not necessarily stop anything that does not alter His plan of salvation or His plans for this world.
This is why our prayers are so important. God has to power to alter anything that does not change His salvation plan and He is willing to do so. Sometimes He just wants to know if we love those we say we love!
God will never deviate from what He says but God will heal where healing is needed and comfort where comfort is needed if we fall down on our knees and pray!
We must not forget that we are His children and Jesus is working on our Mansions now.
Christianity is in fact the fulfillment of the Old Testament because Jehovah God designed it that way.
If we had seen God in all His Majesty before we have become Christians, we would have perished!
Exo 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
When the Lord does return, this time in all His glory, those who reject Him will be just as this Scripture. They cannot see Him and live!
*****Joh 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
Joh 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
We must not be fooled, those that were questioning John the Baptist, many of them students of the Scriptures, knew the prophecies of Daniel and he had said when a period of time would come, and the Messiah would appear. Maybe not the exact day but at least in that generation. Just as it is today when the Lord will return.
Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
They understood that Daniel was writing of years.
When will the Lord return?
Luk_17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
How was it in the days of Noah?
Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
We cannot deny that we live in a replica of the days of Noah today!
We can just imagine how great a preacher was John the Baptist if the elders of the Scribes and Pharisees thought he might be the Messiah!
But they had not yet heard our Savior preach!
Luk_7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
It would have been rather easy for John to say he was the real Messiah, at least for a while but, he confessed he was not the Christ!
John the Baptist knew what he was sent to do, and he concentrated on those things!
John knew he was not the Messiah and John also knew he was not the Prophet Elijah.
Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The Lord Jesus said that John was Elijah in the spirit but not in his person.
Mar 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Elijah will return from the dead to be the forerunner of the Lord when He returns, at least this is what I believe because there were two, Elijah and Enoch who do not have a recorded death on earth!
Heb_9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
John the Baptist was well aware that he was not the Messiah.
In fact John knew very well that he was only a sinner unworthy to serve the Lord just like the rest of the world!
*****Joh 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Joh 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
Joh 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
The Scriptures only subtlety show the great impression John the Baptist made on the Jewish elders of that day, including the Sanhedrin Court.
It is obvious that these Bible Scholars had missed the Church Age and the Messiah the Redeemer in their studies.
John was certainly not Elijah even though in many ways he was like Elijah in his boldness.
John was not just another prophet who I believe to be Enoch the two prophets who would show up before the Second Coming of the Lord.
Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
John the Baptist said he was just a poor desert preacher, one who was doing his best to lead people to the Lord.
John said he was nothing more than a voice and really this is the same job we have today. We are God’s voice and God’s legs to take the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ to all parts of this world!
Isa 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
It is only Jesus Christ who could meet all the requirements written in the Scriptures of the Messiah the God-Man!
We are never to claim to be the Messiah.
We are never to claim to be some great man or woman.
We are not even to seek recognition.
We are never to assume some power that only the Lord has.
We are never to allow God’s Mercy and God’s Grace to turn our heads toward “Pride”, thinking more of ourselves than we should.
We are simply to obey the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, in everything He tells us to do!
These people who were the Bible Scholars of that day when seeking for a Messiah were looking for some man to show up and by His works determine that the Messiah had arrived.
It is the same for many today. Most of this world are ignoring the fact that Jesus was God in the flesh.
The message of John the Baptist was that the Kingdom of God was among them in His person, not in His majesty!
These Jews saw the Messiah as being someone along the line of King David who would set them free from the tyranny of Rome!
These Jews missed the fact that the Messiah came to save them and not them alone but also the Gentiles.
These Jews believed they were the only ones acceptable to the Lord and not the Gentiles.
These Jews had allowed their beliefs to be tainted by formality and just a form of godliness denying the Power of God!
John the Baptist would burst their perfect bubble, just like the Lord does every day!
*****Joh 1:24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
Joh 1:25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
The truth of the Pharisees in that day is that they had made themselves the interpreters of the Scriptures. They were well aware of the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah, but they had missed His coming and rejected that Christ was among the people.
1) A Pharisee had to set apart all the sacred tithes of the produce of the land.
2) A Pharisee had to observe the essential laws of purity which affected the eating of food and family affairs.
We know that the Mosaic Laws contained not just 10 laws, but 613 laws and it was impossible for any Jew to keep all those laws all the time, but the Pharisees would argue that they did.
The Pharisee would immerse his whole body in purified water before they partook of holy sacrifices.
The Pharisees had so many laws involving impurity they were in a book named the Mishna, which were only the many interpretations of Scripture and many placed these laws above the Mosaic laws.
It is during this time that the Pharisees and the Sadducees had become corrupt in their thinking on the Word of God and were no more than legalists and liberals, who could not themselves keep the laws that they claimed for everyone else to keep!
These things began with good intentions when the Jews returned from Babylon after their captivity by Nebuchadnezzar.
It’s as if today we placed the words of commentaries above the Word of God.
So they asked John since you are not a Pharisee but only a Levite and you are not the Messiah and you are not Elijah nor any other prophet what right do you have to baptize any person?
They used this same line of thinking upon the Lord Jesus Christ!
Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Mat 21:24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mat 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Mat 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
Mat 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
How did John answer these corrupt men?
*****Joh 1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
Joh 1:27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
We should understand that everything John did was to prepare the people for the Messiah and John’s baptism was just an example of the break from Judaism to the coming Christianity who would bring total purity with His blood.
The Lord Jesus Christ was so pure and so trustworthy and so different from the way these people had been taught that those who were corrupt sought to have Him destroyed.
The Jews of that day needed to know this man called Jesus was the One who was mentioned throughout the Old Testament Scriptures who was sent from God.
This was the job of John the Baptist to teach these things!
Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
What was the importance of Betha bara?
*****Joh 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Betha bara means the house of confidence or the house of crossing or simply ferry house.
It was a place on the River Jordan where you could safely cross over to the other side!
This was the place where we got that wonderful phrase “Behold the Lamb of God”.
1Co_5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”:
Jesus Christ is our Passover!
And we are Saved because Jesus shed His “Blood” on Mount Calvary!
Heb_9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Jesus Christ was certainly , God’s perfect Lamb who was sacrificed to save all the people of this world and He did so for all that love Him!
Jesus Christ was our own blood Substitute!
1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
By the blood of Jesus Christ, God has paid the debt for all the sin in this world past, present, and future!
If we will pay attention we will see that Christ Jesus willingly gave His life for me and for you and for everyone who would put their trust in Him!
What did John continue to say?
*****Joh 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
Joh 1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
We all know that Jesus was at the most only 6 months in age younger than John the Baptist, yet John says He was before him.
The Messiah was not only before John the Baptist, but He was before us all!
The son of Elizabeth must have known the Son of Mary. John means that he did not know Him as the Messiah.
We can believe that John knew Jesus, but he did not know He was the Messiah, The Christ.
God knew that He would not be recognized as a man of God until He reached the age of 30 in earth years. Up until this time He had been feeling all the emotions of the human body.
Heb_4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
We should notice that John the Baptist was a man of strong faith!
Certainly God spoke to John just as He did with other prophets in dreams and visions and God had given him a sign to watch for to know the truth.
*****Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Joh 1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
John said this is the One that is taught in the Old Testament Scriptures!
Again we see the proof of the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
A dove was a sacred bird to the Jews and a symbol of purity, innocence, and gentleness.
The dove was often identified with the Spirit of God!
We should understand that the Holy Spirit did not take the shape of a dove but descended from Heaven as a dove flies in to land.
They land like no other bird in a fluttering motion.
In fact a dove can represent the Church sustained by the “Loving Grace of God”, justified in the “righteousness” of Jesus Christ.
Psa 68:13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.
The dove of Palestine is white with golden wings!
Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
John saw as the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven and remained on God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ!
This became the message of John the rest of his days!
What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit on the life of those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior?
There will be a change in that life!
What are Baptisms mentioned in the Scriptures?
The Baptism of water, in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost(Spirit). As an introduction into the Church.
The Baptism of repentance. Turning away from the world and toward Jesus Christ.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost(Spirit). At salvation and asked for continually all our days.
The Baptism by fire. We should know that God revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush and God lead the Jews through the wilderness by fire so to be Baptized by fire to me seems to be baptized by the presence of the Lord! Fire is one the physical manifestations of God’s presence! Fire can also represent “Judgment” and “Purification”!
Turn to Jesus and know the truth of God.