May 1, 2018
HOW WELL DID JOHN KNOW JESUS?
John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins born six months apart. Both births were miraculous, foretold by the prophets and announced by the angel Gabriel. Yet, John said that he “did not recognize” Jesus as the Messiah until after His baptism. Some suggest that since John grew up in Hebron and Jesus in Nazareth, they had never met before. But this seems unlikely. Mary and Elizabeth were apparently close before their sons were born, but they were no doubt bound together even closer after the spiritual experience they had together during their pregnancies (See Luke 1:39-56). In addition, the gospel of Matthew reported that John recognized Jesus before His baptism and felt unworthy to baptize Him (Matt. 3:14).
So what did John mean by saying he didn’t “recognize” Jesus, if he already knew Him and already considered Him to be greater than himself? Perhaps John did recognize Jesus as his cousin, and as one who was well known in their families as being announced as the long awaited Messiah. But that was thirty years ago and John had seen no confirmation as of yet. So, it was on the day of Christ’s baptism that the Lord spoke to John and revealed to him that Jesus was indeed the Messiah by the appearance of the Spirit descending like a dove upon Jesus. What his mother, Elizabeth, had told him was true. Jesus was the Messiah. John finally saw Him with spiritual eyes and proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Messiah, as he had been born to do.
April 30, 2018
THE UNEXPECTED MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Although he was the son of the Levite priest, Zechariah, in the line of Abijah, one of the 24 orders of priests in the line of Eleazar, son of Aaron, John did not serve in the Temple. Instead, led by the Spirit, he preached in the wilderness on the East side of the Jordan. He did not wear the rich flowing robes of the Temple leaders, but was clothed in a cloak of camel’s hair. He lived on a diet of locusts and wild honey. He did not answer to the Jewish leaders, but to the Lord, for his authority came from the Lord. It was this that the Jewish leaders came to question. For their real question was, “Who gives you the right to baptize?” In other words they were saying, “We are the religious authority and we don’t remember ordaining you.”
John knew that they did not recognize him, nor did they recognize that the Messiah was already standing right there in the midst of the crowd (John 1:26). John refused to be cast in one of their expected eschatologies. His only answer to their question concerning his identity was to quote the prophet Isaiah, “I am a voice crying in the wilderness” (Isa. 40:3). It was a voice they had no ears to hear. John’s ministry was not the one they expected. But it was the one the prophets foretold.
April 30, 2016
The “Logos” (Greek for “Word”) which was in the beginning has now become flesh. The Logos that was and is God, has now become man. He did not “become” God for He was God already. He did not “become” life or light for these were His divine attributes before eternity. But He did “become,” of His own will and power, flesh. And this He did that we might finally perceive God’s “glory,” and receiving and believing in Him, we might become children of God. For God made Him who knew no sin to “become” sin for us, so that we might “become” His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus is the Logos become flesh. He is the perfect communication of God. He that has ears to hear, let him hear!
May 1, 2015
John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be the “Lamb of God,” a fulfillment long anticipated by God’s people. Every Paschal lamb that was slain with its blood spread over the doorway, not only brought to their remembrance God’s deliverance from Egypt, but pointed to a future promise of their ultimate rescue from sin and death. As Abraham told his son, Isaac, “God will provide a lamb.” And so, He did. There is no more need for sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice was the deposit that made all the previous ones good. We are now able to place our faith into the One who paid it all. Jesus is the Lamb of God, the One who delivers those who believe from sin and death.
May 1, 2014
The disciple Nathaniel went from expressing doubt to proclaiming belief simply because Jesus told him he had seen him earlier under a fig tree. Jesus appears to find this humorous. He responded that it didn’t take much to move Nathaniel to believing, but there would come a day when his faith would be rewarded with full evidence of Christ’s identity. Jesus then described a coming day when all would see him as the “stairway between heaven and earth.” This is a clear allusion to Jacob’s vision in Genesis 28 when Jacob saw this same stairway and named the place Bethel, which means “House of God.” Jesus is the fulfillment of Jacob’s vision. He is the Ladder of Love come down mediating the only way to the Father (John 14:6, 1 Tim. 2:5).
April 30, 2014
John began his gospel as Moses began the Torah, “In the beginning…” This signals the lofty aspect of John’s gospel that clearly proclaims Jesus as God’s Son. Using the Greek for “word” (λόγος, logos), John proclaims Jesus as not only equal to God in every way (essence, preexistence, eternality, creator, unity…), but also the ultimate revelation of God to humanity. As the “Word” He is the very communication of God, superior even to the revelation that Moses carried down from Mount Sinai. The law came through Moses, but the free gift of life and the full revelation of God came through Christ (John 1:17). If you want to see God, look upon Jesus. If you want to know God, know Jesus. If you want to be right with God, receive Jesus. Got Jesus? Got life (1 John 5:12).
May 1, 2013
This is what Jesus told his newest follower, Nathaniel, after the disciple expressed amazement at Jesus over a little thing. Jesus was essentially saying, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” (Forgive the slang, but wanted to drive home the point). Jesus used unusual language in this prophecy: “angels ascending and descending…” The reference would’ve been easily recognized by his Jewish disciple though, as it clearly refers to Jacob’s ladder vision (Gen.28:12). Jesus was saying, “I am the ladder between heaven and earth,” follow me and you’ll see it.
April 30, 2013
Many of His own people did not receive Jesus, “but” those who did were born again as children of God. We recognize many races and cultural differences among humanity, but to God, we are either His children through Christ, or children of Adam. All of Adam’s kids are born spiritually dead due to the sin nature that they inherit. But to those who “receive” Christ, there is a new nature imparted, reconciling them to God and bestowing on them eternal life. The question that matters is not, “what have you done with your life?” but “whose child are you?” Have you been born again through receiving Christ?