The second reason for John why Christ
· The second reason for John why Christ “is first in all things” is that he worthy of that position
· John 1:27 "It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose."
· Without a doubt John the Baptist was, in several respects, one of the most remarkable characters brought before us in the Bible.
· He was the subject of Old Testament prophecy (Isa. 40); his birth was due to the direct and miraculous intervention of God (Luke 1:7, 13); he was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb” (Luke 1:15);
· He was a man “sent from God” (John 1:6); he was sent to prepare the way of the Lord (Matt. 3:3). Of him the Lord said, “Among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11); he was also given the great honour of baptizing the Lord Jesus.
· He obviously made a great impact through his preaching and ministry, the bible says that they went out into he dessert to hear him, and delegations where sent to examine him to see who he was.
· One such we find in John 1:19 – and they came to him with a simple but staggering questions - who are you? - Are you the Christ – are you the messiah are you the one who we have been waiting for promised in the scriptures.
· Are you Elijah – are you the one that was prophesied in Malachi that would be a sign from God - Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
· We have to remember that Elijah never died he was caught up to heaven in a chariot they expected the physical Elijah to return are you he,
· Or are you the prophet – there are various ways this has been interpreted, some refer to the prophet Moses said would come but we understand that to be Christ but it seems at this time there is a little uncertainty who that would be, some thought that it might be Jeremiah, some think that what they are saying is this “are you a prophet”
· But to each of these he replies No! And he does this for a specific reason he wants them to take their attention away from him and to point them to Christ.
· So then who are you – what do you say about yourself – “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” "Make straight the way of the LORD,"’ as the prophet Isaiah said."
· I am not the Christ but I have been sent to prepare you to receive him, I have come to awaken the people, to get ready the people to receive the Christ.
· I have come to lay open the wound and preach repentance, to show you your sins so that when the Christ comes you will flee to him, because all I can do is baptize you with water, this will not save you, but when he comes he will baptize you with his Spirit.
· I can only preach and make you understand your sin before God I am limited but when he comes he can deal with your sin, he can forgive you, he can cleanse you he can take away your sin.
· No do not look at me, look at him who is to come after me he can do so much more than I, all I can do is be the voice he is the Word, all I have come to do is be a witness but he is the light.
· John 1: 29 ¶ The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
· And it has to be noted that of all the descriptions that John could have used to describe Christ, he chose the one description that would fit Christ’s ministry, which would reveal why Christ came and why john was sent.
· He could have called him the anointed one, the Messiah, the Christ, Immanuel, but he chose "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
· He chose one that one because it turned the people’s attention away from his ministry and pointed them to Christ’s. John had been preaching repentance and the need for it; he had been showing people their true nature before God.
· And as a sign of their repentance they where baptised with water, but this would never and could never deal with the problem it was just symbolic saying they acknowledged their sin.
· But the Lamb of God he was the one who would take away their sin, I can only baptise with water but he will baptise you with the spirit of God. He will deal with your sin and give you a new life.
· Who am I you ask, I am no one, he is everything, and I am not even worthy to undo his shoe laces (probably the strongest illustration he could think of to make them realise how he viewed Christ).
· I am not worthy enough to do even the most menial tasks those a simple slave would do for him.
· All he wanted was for the people to look past him to Christ, because he understood who he was and why he came.
· When he was asked the questions are you Elijah or a prophet in a real sense he could have said yes to both of these, Jesus himself said that John had come in the spirit of Elijah, and he certainly did the work of a prophet he did bring God's message to the people.
· But as we have said all he wanted was their attention to be pointed to Christ because he was God the Son and deserving of the praise, and John was less than a simple servant.
· John understood like every other believer that he himself needed the Lamb of God to deal with his sins; he needed Christ to go to the cross and become that great sacrifice.
· Like all the other great men God used before Christ came they had to look ahead to the cross in faith trusting in what God would do through Christ.
· But Christ said this to the people after the death of John the Baptist “what did you go to see in the desert, because even though he was great, the least in my kingdom is far more privileged than he was”! – this was not said to undermine John but to show the true status of the saved!
· – Matt 11:11"Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
· Why we have the Spirit of God living in our hearts since Pentecost but John missed that and so did every other O.T saint and prophet.
· They had the spirit of God in their lives only at those times when God used them, but we have it all the time, we have far greater privileges and blessings than they ever did.
· And yet even saying that, John still placed Christ at the centre of everything in his life – no matter what position he had in the church he still wanted to point people past himself and towards Christ.
· Can we say this, can we say with Paul I am the least of all the saints, can I be so caught up in Christ that when ever I am given a place of honour or even praise I will direct this away from myself and onto Christ.
· William Sangster told the illustration “the devil was once crossing the Libyan desert when he came upon a group of small fiends who were tempting a holy hermit. They tried him with the seductions of the flesh: they sought to sow his mind with doubts and fears: they told him that all his piety was worth nothing. But it was all of no avail. The holy man was impeccable. Then the devil stepped forward and addressing the imps said “your methods are too crude. Permit me for one moment. This is what I should recommend. Going up to the hermit, he said “have you heard the news? Your brother has been made Bishop of Alexandria” a scowl of malignant jealousy clouded the serene face of the holy man”
· Are we not all guilty of some sort of spiritual pride, and the devil knows exactly where to aim his darts.
· Can I say like John did as Christ’s ministry began to take off– he must increase and I must decrease, can I submit everything in my life into his hands?
· And learn to put him first in all things, can I train my mind and my heart to be full of him, to make a conscious effort to involve Christ is all my life not just selected parts.
· To understand how worthy he is and how unworthy I really am, if John was not worthy even to tie his shoe laces, then what does it say of me who has far more privileges and blessings than John ever did?
· This is a challenge for all of us, we have to work at this, and it is a hard thing for we are fighting a fallen nature and all the temptations that the world, the flesh and the devil will throw at us, but let us remember Christ defeated all these.
· We do not need to fight these on our own we have a gracious saviour who wants to be a part of your life. It is his delight to be a part of your life if you will let him.
· He wants to be first in your life because your are first in his – he treats each and everyone of us as thought the whole of creation revolves around each of us individually.
· May God remove our pride and give us the grace and desire to put him first in all things.