27 September 2016

BSF 2016-2017: John 1:19-51

This week, we see more of John the Baptist and his mission on earth. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. He was born six months before Jesus. John the Baptist was born into the priesthood, but God called him to be a prophet. His task was to prepare the way for Christ the Messiah and to prepare people’s hearts to receive Jesus.

John’s message was repentance. He also called for people to be baptized, an outward sign of an inward change. Baptism typically was reserved for Gentiles when they converted to Judaism. So it was unusual for John to tell Jews they also needed to be baptized.

When Jewish leaders questioned John and asked who he was, he humbly answered their questions and pointed them back to Jesus. They asked John if he was the promised Deliverer. John said he was pointing people to Jesus. John didn’t want people looking at him; he wanted people looking at Jesus.

John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God. This was a very symbolic name for Jesus. In Jewish sacrifices, a sinner brought a lamb to a priest. The sinner laid his hands on the lamb and confessed his sins so that his sins symbolically were transferred to the lamb. The lamb was slaughtered as the sacrifice, and the blood was sprinkled on the altar as an offering for the sin of the sinner. This was God’s appointed way to cleanse His people from their sins.

But then God sent Jesus as the lamb for all people. He was our substitute. He stood in our place, He symbolically took on our sins, He bore the full wrath of God, and He died for us.

Later, John the Baptist was with his followers, Andrew and John (the author of this book). John the Baptist again calls Jesus the Lamb of God. Jesus invited Andrew and John to come and see. They spent the day with Jesus. Jesus is never too busy to spend time with us. Jesus desires to spend time with us.

Andrew immediately found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon in a way that showed Simon that Jesus knew him fully. Jesus gave Simon a new name – Peter.

Then Jesus called out to Philip and told Philip to follow Him. Philip found his friend Nathanael. Nathanael questioned if anything good can come from Nazareth. But he didn’t stay in his doubt. He went with Philip to meet Jesus. Jesus told Nathanael that He saw him sitting under a fig tree. Nathanael could have been studying the Scriptures or praying under the fig tree. Nathanael realized that Jesus was the Messiah and the only stairway to God. Jesus commended Nathanael for his faith.

Things to Think About
  • All of John’s life was a preparation for his calling. He had to be prepared first before he could prepare others.
  • The ministry of all believers is to point people to Jesus.
  • Are you stepping out of the way and working to point others to Jesus?
  • Man’s greatest tragedy is a loss of fellowship with God. Man’s greatest problem is God’s wrath. Man’s greatest need is a restored relationship with God. Man’s only hope is Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus is God’s chosen One to take away the sin of the world.
  • Do you worship Jesus for His sacrifice and for the changed life His death brings?
  • The ministry of all believers is to bring people to Jesus.
  • God gives His people the privilege of introducing others to Jesus. But we must be with Jesus before we can bring others to Him.
  • Who does God want you to bring to Jesus?
  • God can use you in a way that He can use no one else. Are you willing to let Him use you to touch other people’s lives?

This Week’s Memory Verse
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 NIV