The Witness of John the Baptist
Reading: John 1:19-34
I. Who was John?
A. He was the child of Zacharias and Elizabeth - Luke 1:57-66
1. His birth was a wonder, being announced by an angel.
2. He was born to an elderly couple, much like Isaac
3. The events caused people to wonder what type of man he would turn out to be.
B. He next appears in the wilderness - Mark 1:4-8
1. His mission was to cause people to repent (to turn away from their sins)
2. He taught people right from wrong, even when that teaching was unpopular and made people uncomfortable
3. After 400 years of silence, God had sent a prophet among the people of Israel.
4. His message was that the Messiah was about to come. God’s Anointed whom was prophesied about by so many prophets.
C. His teaching reminded people of the very last statement in the Old Testament - Malachi 4:5-6
1. This is why people asked John, “Are you Elijah?”
a. His simple answer was “No”
b. The answer was true, because Elijah was dead.
2. But in prophesying his birth, the angel said he would be like Elijah - Luke 1:17
3. But Jesus said Elijah had come - Matthew 17:10-13
D. They asked if he was the Messiah or the Prophet and the answer was “No.”
1. Notice that by listing them separately, the Jews thought they were two different people instead of the same person with two titles.
E. John said he was the one Isaiah had spoken of many years before in Isaiah 40:3
II. Some from the Pharisees were sent to question John - John 1:24-28
A. Those questioning John may not necessarily be Pharisees themselves
B. John had introduced a new rite, baptism, and the “keepers of the Law,” the Pharisees wanted to know what right he had to introduce a new practice
1. Notice that this indicates that baptism was NOT practiced prior to John
2. In order to add something to the law, he would have to be someone major, such as the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet
C. John acknowledges that he baptizes with water, but he doesn’t directly answer their question
1. Instead he points out that they could not recognize a very important person who was standing in the crowd.
2. This leads to the conclusion that this event takes place after Jesus’ baptism and temptation in the wilderness.
a. John did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah at first, but now he knows who Jesus is.
b. But his audience does not know who Jesus is.
3. His point is that if they cannot recognize just a might person right next to them, then there is no way they would recognize the authority by which John baptizes.
a. And indirectly John is indicating that the authority comes from this mighty person in the crowd.
III. Prophets are recognized to speak on behalf of God. Their word is considered truth.
A. When John saw Jesus, listen to what he said - John 1:29-30
1. He stated that Jesus was the sacrifice of God to remove sin.
2. He stated that Jesus was not a mere man, but far above them
3. He stated that Jesus was pre-existent.
B. John also explains why he baptized Jesus - so that Jesus would be shown or announced to Israel - John 1:31
1. Jesus was baptized by John - Matthew 3:13-17
a. This event is important as it shows all three of the Godhead
b. It is important because Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed One
c. He was not anointed with oil, but with the Holy Spirit himself - John 1:33
2. John did not know in advance who the Messiah would be. He only knew the sign from God to watch for
C. John gives his testimony - John 1:34