John’s Gospel Chapter 1
E. L. Lovering, Ilfracombe
SUBJECT : The Witness of John - STUDY PORTION : chapter I, 19-36.
Other passages for reading and study : Matt. 3. 1-16; 11. 1-15 ; Mark 1. 1-11; 6. 14-30 ; Luke 3. 1-22 ; 7. 24-30; John 3. 23-36. (Quotations from A.V. or R.V.).
Declared - Christ's testimony concerning John, Matt. 11. 9-11.
1. " More than a prophet ", v. 9.
2. The Lord's messenger - " which shall prepare thy way before thee ", v. 10.
3. " Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater ", v. 11.
John's testimony concerning himself, John 1. 20-27.
1. " I am not the Christ ", v. 20.
2. Not Elijah nor the prophet foretold by Moses, v. 21.
3. " I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness ", v. 23.
4. " Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose ", v. 27 (i.e., unworthy to be His slave).
Described -Special features: 1. Simplicity; 2. Sanctity; 3. Severity ; 4. Strength.
1. Simplicity. Dwelling, Mark 1. 4, " in the wilderness " not in kings' palaces.
Dress - Mark 1.6; Luke 7. 25, " clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins ". Diet - Mark 1. b, " did eat locusts and wild honey ", Luke 7. 33, not the bread and wine of ordinary folk.
2. Sanctity. A Nazarite : see Num. 6. 1-6 for the laws of the Nazarite and note that he was (a), controlled —no strong drink ; (b), conspicuous - by his long hair; that (c), contamination with death forbidden.
3. Severity. Hypocrisy critizcd, Matt. 3. 7. To Pharisees and Sadducees who came for baptism he said, " O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come."
Heredity challenged, Matt. 3. 9, " think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham ".
4. Strength. No " reed shaken by the wind ", Matt. 11. 7. John's spiritual stature seen in his fearless denunciation of Herod, who was living in sin, Mark 6. 14-29.
Note Herod's conflict with right, v. 20 R.V., " Herod feared John knowing that he was a righteous man and a holy and kept, him safe; and when he heard him, he was much perplexed and heard him gladly ".
His cowardice, v. 26, " the king was exceeding sorry, but for the sake of his oaths and of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her ".
His choice, v. 27, " and straightway the king sent forth a soldier of his guard and commanded to bring his head ".
Preparation for the Sovereign - John 1. 23 ; see also Isa. 40. 3. The forerunner - a king's courier, appointed to see that his way was clear and in good condition ; every valley is to be exalted (the cast down and oppressed to be encouraged); every mountain and hill is to be made low (the self-righteous and proud to be humbled) ; the crooked is to be made straight (double-mindedness is to give way to simplicity) ; the rough places are to be made plain (the niggardliness of pride is to be reduced to submission).
Presentation of the Saviour - vv. 39, 36. " Behold the Lamb of God which beareth away the sin of the world ". John was neither the Light of the world, nor the Lamb of God - Christ was both. The revealer of man's sin and the revelation of God's sacrifice.
Proclamation of the Son - v. 34, " and I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God ".
The symbol of Baptism - Mark i. 1-8 ; Matt. 3. 5-8-" John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins ", Mark 1. 4. " They were baptized of him (John) in Jordan confessing their sins ", Mark 1. 5. " Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance ", Matt. 3. 8.
Note the call, conviction, confession and conduct,
The Figures of Judgment - Matt. 3. 10-12.
Judgment is (a) imminent, v. 10, " and even now is the axe laid unto the root of the trees "; (b) inflexible, v. 12, " whose fan is in his hand and he will throughly cleanse his threshing-floor "; the wheat for the bam, the chaff for the burning. Although John who baptized with water may err, He who baptized with fire makes no mistake.