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Today, we continue our study through the Gospel according to John.
I encourage you to open your bibles if you have them, to chapter 1.
The Title of the sermon today is, “A Voice for God”.
As I thought of John’s ministry, and looking for a graphic, I came across this title idea.
It made me think, John was a Voice for God.
How will I be remembered?
Mike was a voice for… ?
For what am I a Voice?
That is the big question for today when it comes to applying this portion of God’s word to our lives.
The author of this gospel was the beloved disciple, John.
John was a fisherman from Galilee.
When he wrote his account of the life of Christ, he was likely in Ephesus.
Ephesus, a city in what is modern day Turkey, had a church which was known to be doctrinally sound.
They knew what they believed.
But they were a church that had lost their love for Jesus.
John wrote his gospel, so that the readers would know, believe and love Jesus.
Then, in true belief, experience life that can only be found in Jesus.
Many Christians today have a knowledge of what we believe.
And many Christians today have lost their love for Jesus.
We know what we believe, but we don’t experience the life Jesus offers because we have lost our love for him.
We fill our hearts and minds with so many things, we are not thrilled with Jesus.
As we study through John, I pray, and I hope you will pray, that we will all fall in love with Jesus, and experience the life He has for us!
Let’s pray now.
I would like to start by reading John, chapter 1 up through verse 28.
This will be everything we have talked about the last few weeks, and the portion we will be talking about today.
Let’s read it together.
Those on my right will read the odd verses, and those on my left will join me on the even verses.
When John, the disciple of Jesus wrote his gospel, he did not write about himself.
He was there, and can be found in the gospel, but not by name.
In fact, next week, we will see him.
Since he did not refer to himself, he referred to John the Baptist, as simply John.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, we find more background to John and his ministry.
John was telling people to repent because God’s kingdom was coming.
He was preparing them for the Messiah who was coming.
As a result of his preaching, many people were going to him to confess their sins, and to be baptized.
So many that Mark records it this way…
People were coming in droves.
The Spirit was at work through John and his preaching.
As the people saw this, some began to speculate who John was.
Luke records this.
Could he be the Messiah?
Messiah means anointed one.
Back in the Old Testament, God would have the religious leader anoint someone to be king or priest by pouring oil on their head.
This was symbolic, and showed that God chose them for this special position.
The act of anointing came to be synonymous with the office.
And, as God promised to send one who would be King and priest and to restore Israel, he was known as the Anointed One, or the Messiah.
He was the one the Israelites were waiting for!
When John came in the wilderness preaching, it was like Moses who led them through the wilderness.
He was like Elijah who wore camel skin and a leather belt.
He was of a priestly line.
Somehow related to David’s line.
Could he be the Messiah?
The Anointed One?
Having a lot of people going out to this guy in the wilderness created a stir among the religious leaders.
So they sent a delegation to find out who this guy thought he was.
That is what brings us to the passage for today.
What we have here is a first hand account of what happened with John when these priests and Levites came to him.
This is the first of a four day account given by John the disciple of Jesus and author of this gospel, who was at this time one of the disciples of John; that means he was following John the Baptizer as a student.
This was John’s testimony to those priests and Levites.
The word for testimony is the same word we saw repeated back in John 1:6-8; the word from which we get our word martyr.
It means to witness, or testify.
To witness or testify is the whole reason God sent John.
“He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”
And that is what he did.
What is interesting is in verse 20.
It is literally, “He confessed and did not deny, but confessed.”
The word confessed is there twice, emphasizing that he did exactly what he was supposed to do.
The word deny is what Peter did when he was confronted whether he knew Christ on the night of Jesus’ betrayal and trials.
John is face to face with a group of priests and Levites.
These are the power brokers.
These are the religious and political leaders of the day.
They had power to shut him down.
And it wasn’t one; it was a group of them.
They were out specifically to see him.
Faced with this opposition, it would be understandable as a human to deny what was going on.
It would be understandable to give in to fear.
But that is not what John did.
He gave the good confession.
He did not deny Christ.
He did not fail his calling of God.
I am not the Messiah.
And, in his confession, he stayed true to his mission.
His mission from God was to witness to Christ, not to focus on himself.
So, he did.
He focused on Christ.
It does not come out in our English translation as much, but John emphasizes Christ in his reply.
In English, we need to include the subject.
In many languages, including New Testament Greek, the subject does not need to be included, and the first person pronoun when used, is usually for emphasis, because the verb indicates the first person.
If John would have used the normal response, ‘Am not the Messiah.’
He would have been emphasizing that he was not the MESSIAH (emphasis on Messiah).
But, instead, he used the pronoun, ‘I am not the Messiah’; emphasizing that HE was not the messiah, but he was near.
The priests and Levites get the message.
John is not the Messiah.
Somehow the excitement of the Messiah being near seems to have passed them by.
But they still do not know who John is.
So, YOU’RE not the messiah.
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