December 27, 2021
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with our family and celebrating Christ’s birth. My oldest son is in seminary, and we got to see him preach on Christmas Eve. I was a very proud mama!
This week we are talking about John chapters one through five. This book is written by the apostle John, who was also know as the “one whom Jesus loved.” He was an eyewitness to the events of Jesus.
As I said last week, we see that Jesus is called the Word, and he is God, and with God and created everything in the beginning. He became flesh and tabernacled among us. Thus, he is fully God and fully man.
We also see that prior to the start of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist was baptizing people.
Let’s review information about John the Baptist. First, he was really a baptizer and not a Baptist. He was Jesus’ cousin, and conceived from Elizabeth in her old age. He was the one who leaped in Elizabeth’s stomach when Mary was pregnant with Jesus and visited Elizabeth (Luke 1). John also was the one baptizing in the Jordan river. He was announcing that the Messiah was coming. As John 1:6-7 states, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”
John 1:15-17 states, “5 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
As John was baptizing and preaching about Jesus, the Pharisees and leaders were questioning him.
John 1:19-26 states, “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[c] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”[d] 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet? 26 “I baptize with[e] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
I love John’s humility and that is what we will discuss today. There are so many stories in these first five chapters, but I really feel called to discuss humility.
Think about it. John was a man living in the wilderness basically living off locusts. He was gaining popularity and he had his own disciples. People wanted to see what he was talking about and they were being baptized. Jewish leaders were coming to him to hear him speak.
It would have been very easy to get a big head and feel important. It would have been easy to feel prideful; “thinking too highly of oneself” (Dictionary.com). Yet, John was not prideful at all. When he was asked if he was the Messiah or a prophet, he said he was not. When he was asked who he was, he quoted Isaiah 40:3 “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness…” Then he said, “I baptize with[e] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
When he talks about Jesus, he is so humble that he says in verse 27, “the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” A slave was someone who would untie the straps of sandals. John is saying that he is not even worthy enough to be Jesus’ slave.
We continue to read about John, “29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Throughout the story, we continue to see that John remains humble. Two of his disciples start to follow Jesus instead of John (Chapter 1). This is not a problem for John.
In John 3:22-32, John the Baptist continues to testify about Jesus. “22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
You can see people are trying to start an argument between Jesus and John. But John gave a great and humble answer. Jesus must become greater and John must become less.
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
Throughout John the Baptist’s ministry, Christ is always lifted up and John stays humble. He is never prideful. He fulfills God’s will for his life by sharing about Christ.
The Bible has a lot to say about pride and humility.
Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”
Luke 14:11 says, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Philippians 2:3-8, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
1 Peter 5:5-6, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”
There are so many references about being humble. Jesus was humble, even though he was King of Kings and Lord of Lords. John the Baptist was humble. God wants us to be humble as well.
Do you struggle with pride? Do you make the Lord greater and yourself smaller? Ask God to show you areas you need to work on.
Next week we will read John 6-12.