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.