Oh boy! Did I mention I LOVE the book of John?? Oh, yes I think I did!
The absolute first thing I was inspired with this morning is just how anointed John the Baptist was. God calls him, His messenger (Luke 7:27), and rightfully so. He was sent AHEAD of Jesus to prepare the way for Him, In fact, “He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” Luke 3:3
All I can say is, he must have been one Hell of a Preacher man!
IMAGINE . . . baptizing people or being baptized, for that matter- which was something that was not taken lightly at all back then, or now in some parts of the World- merely on the Hope and Promise of a Savior to COME.
They were so fired up – they were like those people who pre-order books on Amazon – they pay for it up front, just to be able to be one of the first ones to have it- these people HAD some faith like that, let me tell you!
Shoot– Now you know there are lots of people who have a hard time coming to Christ knowing what all He has done for them by dying on the cross and having been told of the miracles He performed. How much guesswork does it take to follow a man who has ALREADY defeated death, AND forgave all of your sins? Not too much. But there is still doubt for believers and unbelievers alike.
However, these first believers had to go on P U R E unadulterated FAITH. To trust that the Savior was coming – they didn’t know His name or what He looked like. In way of description, John simply said, “…There is one coming whose sandal strap I am unworthy to untie…” (part of Luke 3:16). Yet, they believed on Him.
WOW!! What a Faith and Hope that was theirs! Then, the very next day we are told that Jesus approached John as he was baptizing, and it says:
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel.”
But it doesn’t stop there, he goes on to say how it is he knew Jesus was the Lamb of God. Because you have to know, they didn’t have picture messaging back then, they didn’t have photography at all for that matter, so how was John to recognize the Son of Man whom he had never met (save that one time, in utero- but that was a long time ago and people change in appearance after all)? Well, he explains it here:
John 1:32-34 (HSCB)
32 And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. 33 I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on — He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God! ”
Now, I don’t know about you, but me, I be like, “Sayyy whaaatt?? Brother just said, he done saw the Spirit of God come down on that man . . . I ain’t seen nothing . . . Joe, did you see anything descend down on that guy?” Joe looks over at that guy and then back at me, and says, “Naw, man, I ain’t seen nothin’ like that.”
Then one of two responses would follow, “This joker is crazy…either that or he be smokin’ something mighty strong!” Or, maybe, just maybe I would have sensed the Spirit of God in the place (as those in attendance must have) and reveled at the sight of the Lamb of God, and at John’s testimony of Him.
That’s what they did. Now, that is some faith and believing I have never seen! John was confident that the Lord had spoken to him and he was confident that the Lord would do as He said he would. So, he went out proclaiming the coming of a savior. Regardless of how foolish it may have seemed to some. And, when he went, He went with power because God had personally sent him, and THIS is why people listened to him and subsequently followed him:
6 There was a man named Johnwho was sent from God.7 He came as a witnessto testify about the light,so that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light,but he came to testify about the light.
What must it have been like to declare the coming of the Lord? What can we learn from John and the people he was teaching and baptizing?
Lots, but I think in this case, it would be sufficient to repeat what John says about Jesus later on when his own disciples came to him worried, because after hearing Jesus teach and seeing his miracles, people started flocking to him and Jesus was baptizing more people than John. So what was John’s response? He said:
27 John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
He recognized that all power comes from God ALONE.
John knew this thing was not about him, and he gave of himself to see the thing through. He was not only confident in the message God sent him to spread and teach, but he was also confident in who he was in relation to Christ and was rejoicing in what Christ was doing and becoming.
That’s how we need to be:
* Confident in Who we are, because God made us that way for a reason, a season, and with a purpose.
* We need to recognize where our talents come from and put them to good use.
* We need to be Confident in what God has told us to do, and do THAT unashamedly.
Are you Confidently LIVING out His plan for your life?
If so, right on! If not, pray that He helps you where you are to lay down the burden of unrighteousness (that is not your load to carry) and to PUT ON the truth of His word about you!