Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19990623.htm
JOHN: TRIUMPHING IN LIFE'S MOST CRITICAL ISSUE
Part II: Presentation Of The Messenger Of Salvation
A. Christ's Credentials Given By A Credible Witness
Lesson: (1) John's separation from questionable religious groups, (2) his unimpeachable teaching before critical Pharisees, (2) his selflessness, (3) the fact he testified of Jesus as soon as he knew the facts and (4) the life-changing effects o f his witness on his followers made John a credible witness.
- Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that is credible is useful for the messenger to disciple men.
- John's Gospel shows the credibility of the witness of John the Baptizer. His credibility so backed up his claims as to Jesus' identity as Messiah and God that even John's followers began to follow Jesus. John's ministry provides a lesson to us on gaining credibility so that we become believable to our onlookers:
- Christ's Credentials Given By A Credible Witness, John 1:19-39:
- When John ministered across the Jordan, he did not identify with major sects that struggled for powerful influence in Jerusalem. As a man sent from God, he came from the lonely wilderness area that lay across from the Jordan as ministering separate from such questionable religious groups, John 1:28.
- When John ministered, Jerusalem's most critical authorities checked him out and found John to be above their most scrutinizing religious reproach, John 1:19, 24:
- The Jewish leaders of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to John to evaluate his ministry, John 1:19.
- We know from John 1:24 that these priests and Levites were of the Pharisee sect.
- Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, i, p. 311 reports that the Pharisees' association in Palestine at the time had two intense objects in their religious organization:
- They wanted to observe all the ordinances of Levitical purity in accord with the Mosaic Law.
- They wanted to be exact in measuring up to all the tithes and offerings required by the Law.
- Thus, had John's acts or answers to their questions erred in the slightest way from Scripture, these religious leaders would have landed all over John and discredited him before the Jewish throngs in order to protect the nation Israel from apostasy from the Law of Moses, cf. Ibid., Edersheim, p. 309.
- Well, John's testimony to these leaders was beyond their capacity to criticize:
- John stated he was neither the Messiah, Elijah to come predicted in Malachi 4:5 nor the prophet predicted in Deut. 18:15, Jn. 1:20-21. John was not the prophet Elijah reincarnated although he was a type of Elijah, and the prophet predicted by Moses was Christ, Ryr. St. Bib., KJV, ftn. to Jn. 1:21.
- Instead, John claimed he was the voice of one crying to prepare the Lord's way predicted in Is. 40:3.
- Since John did not claim any personal fame, the Pharisees asked how he could authoritatively baptize as baptism often signified major discipleship steps such as one's conversion to Judaism, John 1:25.
- John replied his baptism anticipated the arrival of One Who was so lofty John did not have the worth to untie his shoelatch. This answer showed John could do the notable work of baptizing as he anticipated a coming Great One's baptism and yet not claim fame himself in the process, Jn. 1:26-27.
- There are no recorded further proceedings by the Pharisees as they could not critique John's words.
- John's unusually selfless ministry claims indicated the character credibility of humility, John 1:26-27, 30.
- When John ministered across the Jordan, his identification of Jesus as Messiah and God was done based upon clear divine leading and without the slightest human manipulation on John' part, John 1:29-34:
- John did not know who the Messiah was, but was told only that upon whom he saw the Spirit of God descending and abiding, that was the One to be manifest to Israel, John 1:31, 32-33.
- Thus, when God revealed the truth to him, John announced Jesus as Messiah and God's Son, 1:29-31.
- When John ministered across the Jordan, his identification of Jesus coupled with his credibility before His followers led to his own disciples leaving him to make the life-changing choice to follow Jesus, 1:35-39.
Application: We too should (1) be separate from questionable religious groups, (2) be unimpeachable before critical onlookers, (3) be selfless, (4) testify candidly of what we know is the truth when we know it and let (5) the changed lives of th ose who heed us become what make us CREDIBLE to onlookers!