Day 3 - Friday, Feb. 28 John the Baptizer DAILY READING - John 1:19-34 John the Baptizer and John the Evangelist are two different people. John the Baptizer was the son of Elizabeth and cousin to Jesus. John the Evangelist was the son of Zebedee and a disciple of Christ. The writer of the Gospel of John, John the Evangelist, is describing the testimony of John the Baptist in this portion of chapter 1. Looking back to John 1:6-7, what is the primary purpose of John the Baptist? When the Jewish leaders ask John the Baptist who he is, the Baptizer replies using the words of Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet called to direct God’s people. Isaiah 40:3-5 says, “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord had spoken.” By using the words of Isaiah, what is John the Baptizer trying to say to the Jewish leaders in John 1:23? John the Baptizer is the one who prepares the way for the Lord. The path to the Lord will be made straight. Every obstacle will be levelled. The glory of the Lord is revealed in Christ. If all of this is true, what does Jesus, the Christ, do for humanity? In Jn 1:26-27, John is testifying to the supreme importance of the one who is to come after him. How does John describe his unworthiness compared to the one that will come after him? In these times, only a slave would be asked to touch a person’s shoe or sandal. Modern day trash and sewer systems did not exist. Daily sludge splattered streets. Feet were filthy. John says that he is not even worthy to touch the filth covering the feet of the one that is yet to come. This foreshadows what is to come later when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. We will talk more about this idea in the weeks to come. For now, think about what John the Baptizer is saying to the Pharisees. Also, think about why John the Evangelist chooses this as the first characterization of John the Baptist. What do both the Baptizer and the Evangelist want us to know about Jesus? John the Baptist gives further testimony, or witness, in Jn 1:32-34. A dove comes down from heaven and remains on Jesus. The physical evidence of the Holy Spirit, the dove, descends from God to Jesus. The Spirit remains with Jesus. The Spirit from God abides with Christ. This is significant confirmation that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah or Christ(NIV Commentary, 74). While the Old Testament describes visitations from the Spirit many times, never does the Spirit remain. Why is it significant that the Spirit remains with Christ? Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. Turn to Isaiah 11:1-2 and find the clues that indicate the importance of the Spirit abiding with Jesus. Looking at Isaiah 11:2, how does the dove’s descension affirm Isaiah’s prophecy? Read Isaiah 42:1. The prophet Isaiah trumpets the words of God which affirm John the Baptizer’s testimony. Isaiah said the Spirit would descend on the Messiah. John saw the Spirit descend and remain. John experiences a revelation, God revealing truth. For John, the truth (information) became Truth (revelation of Christ). The transcendent divine broke through Creation to deliver concrete knowledge of his immanence. In John 1:34, John the Baptist says, “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” John’s seeing became believing in such a way that it brought clarity and conviction with transforming significance (Carson, 152) John would never be the same. Describe a time of “transforming significance” in your own life. When have you experienced something that dramatically changed you? Have you ever seen God so clearly in something that you were forever changed? Pray, now, that God would continue to reveal Himself to you.