Monday, January 25, 2010

Life Of Christ Devotional - Jn 1:19-34

"Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”" (John 1:19-34)

The bible consists of an Old Testament and a New Testament. The New Testament was written about the life of Jesus and the early years of the church. The Old Testament dates back some 1500 years before Jesus was born. What is important about these verses today is that they teach us that Jesus coming to live on the earth was not a surprise. The writers of the Old Testament predicted that a Savior, also known as a Messiah or Christ, would come to deliver people from sin and death. They did not know who this would be, when he would come or how he would deliver his people. They just knew he would come when God said it was time. But to help the people know when it was time, the Old Testament also predicted that there would be a person who would come before Jesus to prepare the way for the Messiah. His name, as we learn in these verses, is John the Baptist.

The role of John the Baptist was simple: Tell the people to get ready because the promised Messiah, Jesus, would soon be revealed. This caused quite a disruption among the people because they were living normal everyday lives and now a strange man announces that everything is about to change. John the Baptist goes from city to city making the amazing, almost unbelievable announcement that the One they had been waiting hundreds of years to see, has now arrived.

As you might expect, most people found this announcement hard to believe - especially the religious leaders! The coming of the Messiah would change everything including the power and influence of their leadership role among the people. This power and influence is not something the religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) were willing to give up. They thought that John the Baptist was either a liar, a prophet (teacher), or the return of a prophet who died many years earlier (Elijah). John the Baptist tells them that none of the options are correct. He is only the messenger. He once again confirms that Jesus is, in fact, the promised Messiah - the Savior of the world! And this is not simply his opinion. It’s important to know that John the Baptist didn’t meet Jesus before he began making his announcement. God spoke to John and told him to tell the people, “Jesus is coming!” John simply did what God told him to do. Therefore, this was not simply John’s opinion. The importance of this event came straight from God. God decided…it was time.

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