Archive for March 19th, 2018

John 1:19-27

John 1:19-27 has the Apostle continuing to describe what’s happening as Jesus comes into His public ministry.  John the Baptist deals with the questions that are flying at him.  “When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth: I am not the Messiah”.  He is emphatic that he is not the Christ.  It was unthinkable to him that the attention was on him rather than the One he was focused on proclaiming.  But he deals with the false assumptions head on.

They don’t believe it so keep on asking.  “They pressed him, Who, then? Elijah? I am not. The Prophet? No. Exasperated, they said, Who, then? We need an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something—anything!—about yourself. I’m thunder in the desert: Make the road straight for God! I’m doing what the prophet Isaiah preached”.  The crowd doesn’t get it.  They can’t believe he isn’t at least some famous biblical character or at the very least a prophet.  But John makes it clear that he’s just a simple voice in the wilderness talking about what is to come.  He is the advance man for the real King.

The folks questioning John go back to those who had sent them – the Pharisees – who come up with some questions of their own. “Those sent to question him were from the Pharisee party. Now they had a question of their own: If you’re neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize? John answered, I only baptize using water. A person you don’t recognize has taken his stand in your midst. He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me. I’m not even worthy to hold his coat for him”.  And John continues to point to Jesus, the One true Messiah and the One he had come to proclaim.

The Pharisees were caught up in John baptizing people.  They didn’t understand that was his name – John the Baptizer – but more importantly they didn’t understand that his baptism was preparing for the King by cleansing people.  Baptism prior to this was about ceremonial washing to become clean.  John is clear that his baptism is with water.  Baptism to this point in history was about cleansing, but it did nothing to keep people clean.  But the baptism Christ brings is spiritual and illustrates our death with Christ and our rising with Him to new life.  This is the transformation that Christ will bring to this age old act.  It moves from a cleansing action to a spiritual birth and eternal cleansing from sin.

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