(You can listen to this study by audio, and you can pause the audio to follow page links, then resume when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of references or footnotes for important details of this teaching.)
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN– Part 11
John 1:19-23, says, “This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed and did not deny; and this is what he confessed: “I am not the Christ.” And so they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am THE VOICE OF ONE CALLING OUT IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE THE WAY OF THE LORD STRAIGHT,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
We learn two things about John and learn two major lessons as he continues to testify about the Messiah, Jesus. One is that John is establishing a pattern of witnessing about Jesus. John establishes that there is nothing about himself that is worthy of mention ahead of the name of God. He establishes that this is not about him; he is not the Christ, nor is he Elijah or the Prophet. He is simply “the voice of one calling out in the wilderness”.
Why is this important? Because the focus should be on Jesus Christ, alone. Too many of our postmodern Church leaders are quick to point out their own achievements, accomplishments, titles, credentials and status. They may not always be overt about it, but, it is made clear through their inferences and attitudes. John is plainly and simply focused on “Making straight the way of the Lord”. This is our pattern.
Philippians 2:5-7, tells us to, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant…”. This is our pattern.
Additionally, when you effectively witness about Christ, in one fashion or another, people will want to know, “What do you say about yourself?”, just as the priests and the Levites said to John. In other words, people may want to know where you get the authority to say such things? John points out that he has no authority of his own and that he is repeating what the Bible and the prophet before him has said. Just as Jesus told Satan as recorded in Matthew 4:4, ““It is written: ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT COMES OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” This is our pattern.
John confesses that he is, ”THE VOICE OF ONE CALLING OUT IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE THE WAY OF THE LORD STRAIGHT,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
The words and prophecy of Isaiah are in the mind of John. In order to fully understand what John is saying, let’s read the words of Isaiah:
Verse 4.. “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the uneven ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
Verse 6. A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
Verse 7. The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; The people are indeed grass!
Verse 8. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
Verse 9. Go up on a high mountain, Zion, messenger of good news, Raise your voice forcefully, Jerusalem, messenger of good news; Raise it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
Verse 10. Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His compensation is with Him, And His reward before Him.
Verse 11. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in the fold of His robe; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
This is our testimony and our confession, and this is our pattern. Let’s go, tell this Good News!
Your Brother and Friend,
Please bookmark this page and continue with me on this exciting journey in God’s Word.