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The Son of God Revealed

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:38
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Today we are continuing our study of The Gospel According to John. We will be looking specifically at John 1:29-34. I encourage you to open your bibles to that passage. If you are following along on your mobile device using the Faithlife Bible, or Logos Bible app, you can click the link at the bottom of the screen to go to the passage.
We are going to read about John the Baptist’s testimony concerning Jesus. Remember, the Gospel According to John was written by John, the disciple. The account we are reading in John chapter 1, is about John the Baptist. Two different men.
Let’s read it together.
John 1:29–34 NIV
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. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Pray

“I myself did not know him...”

What do you think of this phrase, “I myself did not know him?” Why would John say such a thing? Did he not know Jesus?
Think back with me. Who was John’s mother? Who was Jesus’ mother? What was their relationship? Anyone remember what happened when Mary went to stay with Elizabeth after she learned she was going to bear Jesus, the Son of God? Look back at Luke 1:39-41.
Luke 1:39–41 NIV
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Even in the womb, the baby John the Baptist knew Jesus. We do not have other interactions from their childhood recorded, however, I don’t doubt that Jesus and John had some interactions.
The next recorded interaction we have is in Matthew 3. We will begin reading in verse 11.
Matthew 3:11–15 NIV
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
John recognized the baby Jesus in his mother’s womb while he was yet in the womb? How? According to Luke 1:15
Luke 1:15 NIV
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
He was filled with the Holy Spirit who reveals truth, from the time he was in the womb! He knew Jesus even then!
Before Jesus came, John was fully aware of his mission. He was the forerunner. He knew there would be one who was greater, the Lord God Himself come as a man, who would begin his ministry shortly!
He knew he was the lesser, and hence wanted to identify himself with Jesus through baptism, rather than baptise Jesus.
So, if John the Baptist did know Jesus, why did he say he did not know him in the passage in John 1, which occured after he baptised Jesus?
John 1:31 NIV
I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
What is interesting is that if you look at different translations, about half are worded ‘know’, and the other half are worded ‘recognize’.
In English we have different ways of expressing knowledge. I know. I understand. I see. I comprehend. I apprehend. I recognize. I get it. And, while these different phrases can be used somewhat interchangeably, they also have different nuances. For example, I can know something without fully understanding it. I can know a fact, without experiencing it. Or, can I know something inside and out, or like the back of my hand. A full-understanding or comprehension.
In this passage, John specifically uses a word which is related both to seeing, and knowing. It has the nuance of a full recognition. To see and understand fully, or to fully recognize. It is the same verb Jesus uses in John 10:4.
John 10:4 NIV
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
The sheep follow the shepherd because the fully recognize his voice. And, that is exactly what John is describing when he says two times, I did not know/recognize him in verses 31 and 33. I did not fully recognize him.
John knew who Jesus was through the Holy Spirit within him. So what was missing for this full recognition? John describes that in the rest of verse 33.
John 1:33 NIV
And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
God had given John a specific sign so that it would be fully known, fully recognized beyond a doubt for whom John was the forerunner. The sign of the Spirit coming down when John baptized him.
That is exactly what happened when John baptized Jesus. Back to Matthew.
Matthew 3:16–17 NIV
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
God had given a sign. God wanted it to be shown, to be known without any doubt exactly who Jesus is. So, God gave this sign to John. But it was not just for John.
John 1:31 NIV
I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

...that he might be revealed to Israel

God wanted everyone to see and fully recognize. So, he gave a very public, indisputable display to reveal to them that Jesus is the Son of God! God Himself, come in the flesh once again so that his people would know Him, and be saved by him.
What do I mean by again? God has often come and shown himself as the savior of his people, those who believe in him.
John writes his gospel that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the savior God has promised ever since Adam and Eve first sinned. And, not only is he the promised savior to save us from our sin, he is none other than the very Son of God!
God wants us to know he is the loving, Savior God who comes! Just like he did in the past. Like in Daniel 3, when he came to the rescue of Shadrach, Meshach and Abedneggo.
After they were threatened with death if they would not give up their God and bow to the idol the king made, they gave their testimony.
Daniel 3:16–18 NIV
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Then they were thrown into the furnace that was heated seven times hotter than normal, so hot that the guards who were close enough to throw these three men into the furnace were killed. Yet these three men were saved! And what was Nebuchadnezzar’s exclamation as he looked into the furnace?
Daniel 3:25 NASB95
He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
He saw God the Son standing there in the midst of the furnace saving these men from the flames. What was the result, even Nebuchadnezzar the king, recognized and glorified God! He called him the Most high God! And he went on to proclaim that all should praise God, this one true God that can save as no other god can.
God reveals himself dramatically! He wants people to know He is the one true God! He wants people to know that in this evil world, He alone provides salvation! That salvation is first and foremost being saved from the punishment we all deserve because of sin. Ultimately, that salvation will be from the very presence of sin as He takes us to be with Him, changes us to be holy and righteous as He is, and establishes the new heaven and new earth in which He will dwell with his people, forever and ever, Amen!
God wants this to be crystal clear! So He reveals! He makes it obvious! He gives signs, things for us to see with our eyes and recognize who He is and what He does for us!
He did it again when Jesus was baptized, and the spirit descended upon him, and God the Father declared, This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased!
Jesus is revealed!!! He is the One! He is the One who pleases God! He is God Himself, come down to be our Savior!
John saw this.
And it made all the difference in His life! He knew Jesus before, but now he KNEW. Now, he fully recognized as God made it clear!
So then, John says this...

I have seen and I testify

This combination of seeing and testifying is repeated in verses 32 and 34.
John 1:32 NIV
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
John 1:34 NIV
I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
These verbs, seen and testify, are in a tense that means it happened in the past, but the effects are on going. Once John saw, he was effected permanently! This was a huge moment! And, he could not help but testify about this!
Notice, John never testifies how, I baptised Jesus, and the Spirit came. The emphasis is never on John, and what he did. Never on his part.
It was all about Jesus!!! Jesus is the One! John saw Jesus! He kept his eyes on Jesus! And he proclaimed with his mouth, Jesus! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
That was John’s martyr. John’s witness. John’s testimony.
That is all that came out of his mouth. Because he saw, and loved Jesus, the God who first loved him.
What about me? What about you?
Homework
1. Read John chapter 1. Pay attention and make a list of all the references to Jesus being a man. Also make a list of all references to Jesus being God. (Son of God is calling him God as well. cf. John 10:30-33. How does this passage show that the Jews used the term ‘Son of God’ as a reference to God? More info: rooted in Daniel 3:25.)
2. God wanted it to be known to all who Jesus was. He foretold John, and Jesus’ coming. He gave signs in the Old Testament. He also gave a sign to John. Read Matthew 3. Imagine yourself there witnessing the scene. God really wants you to know who Jesus is. Why is that so important?
3. Read Psalm 37. Why is it important to recognize who God is? Where is our focus to be when evil is taking place around us, and even coming against us directly? It is so easy to look to the governing officials, or others for protection and making things right in this world. Where should our focus be?
4. Read Psalm 90. This was a prayer of Moses. During his days, Israel did see a number of people die at different times from plague, judgment at the hands of the Levites, fire, the earth opening, snakes, etc. Eventually, even the whole generation of those who came out of Egypt as adults had to die as they wandered in the wilderness instead of entering the land of promise. Why did they go through these trials? Purification of evil. What stands out to you in this Psalm? Where is the hope?
5. Read Psalm 91. In Matthew 25, Jesus talks of all the evil that is coming, and tells his people to not be afraid. Why? Why should we not be afraid? Where is comfort? Where is hope?
6. Pick a verse of hope, and memorize it. Share it with someone this week. Tell them why you have hope even in the midst of all the evil going on in this world.
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