Gospel of John #02: An exposition of John 1:6-7, 19-34. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 31, 2010.
He was an extraordinary character. To some he was the greatest man of their time, perhaps one of the greatest man in their history. To others he was a nut! A country bumpkin. A strange little man with unusual habits in both dress and nutrition. He was an outcast from society. Had you lived during his time you may not have liked him. You may not have approved of his message or his methods but one thing is certain – you would not have been able to ignore him. The common folks adored him while the religious establishment despised him. Multitudes flocked to hear him, some out of curiosity, others out of deep devotion. We really do not know that much about him. His ministry was not long but it was profound, explosive and far reaching. He was known as “the baptizer.” Jesus said of him, “Of those born of women none is greater than John the Baptist.” This morning I want us to look at his life and consider his legacy. Our text is found in the first chapter of John’s Gospel.
Text: John 1:6-7, 19-34
We are still in the prologue of John’s Gospel. John is setting forth the themes that will run throughout his account of the life and ministry of Jesus. In the first five verse he gives us this wonderful, profound statement concerning the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. There we discover He is the eternal one, He is God, He is the creator of everything and He is life and light. So John begins his telling of the life of Jesus not with the events surrounding His birth but long before that. He reaches back into eternity past and tells us that before anything was created He, that is Jesus, was already continuing to exist. Then as he moves to tell us about Jesus’ earthly life and ministry he begins where the other gospel writers begin – with the announcement of John the Baptist.
He is referred to simply as “John” in the 4th Gospel. Why?
Because there are only 2 Johns closely associated with Jesus.
John the Baptist and John the son of Zebedee (the beloved apostle).
The apostle is the author of this Gospel and never refers to himself by name.
Thus there is no reason to distinguish this John with the descriptive – “the baptizer.”
John was the son of a priest who served in the Temple (Luke 1).
We know that he was a very dedicated and zealous servant of God.
He ministered in the wilderness of Judea.
He wore a coat of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist (the garb of a prophet).
He ate locust and wild honey.
He preached repentance and the coming of God’s kingdom.
He was not afraid to speak the truth even to the most powerful leaders.
He asked the leaders from Jerusalem, “What are you snakes doing out here?” (Luke 3:7-9)
He was not afraid to confront the king about his immorality. (Mt 14)
Listen to our Lord’s assessment of the Baptist – Matthew 11:7b-11a.
That is high praise indeed!
Yet he was a fall son of Adam like the rest of us.
A man of flesh and bone.
The occasion of our Lord’s assessment is critical at this point.
Do you know what prompted the testimonial?
John was struggling to believe – Mt 11:2-3.
John was extraordinary, gifted, godly, passionate, fervent, flawed, weak and sinful.
In other words, he was a man.
A good man.
A godly man.
One worthy of emulating but a man nonetheless.
We find in John and example of what it means to be a godly man.
As we consider our text we learn that…
Thesis: A godly man understands his role in the Divine plan.
A godly man knows who he is. He knows where he fits into the greater scheme of things. This is something desperately needed in our day.
I want to share with you 4 characteristics of a godly man. I’m using man in the generic sense. A godly person. Man or woman. What is it that ought to mark us as the people of God?
- A godly man understands his uniqueness is rooted in the call of God on his life. (1:6)
- The godly man delights in his role as a messenger and a light bearer. (1:7-8, 15, 19-23)
- The godly man acknowledges his usefulness without delusions of being indispensable. (1:25-28)
- The godly man glories in the exaltation of Christ. (1:29-34, 35-37; 3:30)
This is God’s call on the life of the redeemed. If Christ is who the opening verses claim He is, how could we expect anything less? If you belong to Christ find your life, your identity in Him. Delight in your role as a light bearer. Know that God is using you but the whole thing doesn’t hinge on you. Finally glory in the exaltation of the Lord Jesus.