Rabbi Schneider - Prepare the World for Jesus
Did you know that Paul said in the Book of Colossians that he had been made a minister of the Gospel, he said, which for ages had been hidden. And then he went on to say, and the mystery of it. And he began to reveal to, reveal to us mysteries. We speak about the mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory; the mystery of Jew and Gentile becoming one in Messiah. So John reveals to us many other types of mysteries as well. In fact, one of my favorite portions of Scripture in terms of mystery is when Jesus and revelation, is when Jesus says to Peter, Peter, who do you say that I am? And Peter said, you're the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus responded to Peter and he said, blessed are you, he said, for flesh and blood has not, get this word now, revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And upon this rock, Jesus said, I will build my church.
I believe that the rock that Jesus was speaking of there that he built his church on is the rock of revelation. And revelation has to do with mystery, 'cause we can't perceive mysteries. We can't perceive those things that are hidden without revelation that comes to us through the grace of Father God by the Spirit. John has been sent, beloved, to reveal to us the mysteries of the Father and his Gospel is the Gospel that focuses more than any other of the Gospels on bringing to the surface these truths that had been previously concealed but now revealed as John makes them known. So with that introduction today, I'm gonna pick right up where we left off last week. I'm gonna begin today in John, chapter number 1, verse 22.
I want to encourage you as I'm going through the Gospel of John, have your Bible out, take notes, even gather people around your home, have a Bible study around it. I actually have my teaching notes on the website discoveringthejewishjesus.com. You can even record it, you know, record it when it plays during the week, have the Bible study in the evening, and you could just take it off your DVR. Let's continue now, John, chapter 1, verse 22. This is concerning John the Baptist: Then they said to him, Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? So once again, just to clarify, we're not talking about John the Apostle that wrote the Gospel of John. In this portion of Scripture we're reading about John the Baptist.
Let's read it again: Then they said to him, Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? He said, John the Baptist said, I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD, as Isaiah the prophet has said. I want to just focus on two principles in this verse where I believe, beloved ones, there's application for you and I. First of all John said, he was a voice crying in the wilderness. Do you know, especially those of us that are living in the United States, do you know that as we share the Gospel of Jesus with friends, family, people in the grocery store, wherever we go, as we lift up Jesus, we are voices crying into the wilderness because the amount of people in this country, beloved, that is following the Lord passionately is very minimal. Jesus said, straight is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it. So we also have this forerunner calling.
You see, John the Baptist was a forerunner. He was sent to make straight the way of the Lord. That's what John said here. He is a voice of one crying in the wilderness, get it now. Make straight the way of the Lord. He was sent before Jesus to prepare the way as a forerunner. So two principles and applications; number one, he was a voice crying out in the wilderness. And number two, John was a forerunner. Let's think about this as it applies to God's call on our life today. Number one, Jesus called us to be his witnesses. He said, you shall be endued with power, right, and you shall be my witnesses. So if we want to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, we have to be living lives of being witnesses. This is what Jesus said at the end of the Book of Matthew, the end of the Book of Mark, go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. Matthew, as you're going, as we're living our lives, make disciples of all nations.
So our lives are here, beloved, to make straight the way of the Lord, to prepare the earth for a second coming by spreading the Gospel. We've been called to be his witnesses. Those that are calling out into the wilderness, into all those around us, that, that are living in darkness, come to Jesus, just like John the Baptist did, repent, turn to God, right? Come to God, because if you don't, your life is meaningless. You're gonna die in emptiness. You're gonna die in a lost state, fate, and be suffer... You're separated from the Lord forever, right? And then secondly, we're forerunners. We are sent before Jesus's return to prepare the atmosphere, to prepare the world for his return. Think about it. John the Baptist was sent before Jesus's first coming to prepare the world for Jesus's coming. He was sent before the Lord's coming, preaching a gospel of repentance, baptizing people in the Jordan River, a baptism of repentance. And why did he do it? He did it to prepare the way, church, for Jesus's first coming.
Now think about this. Even as John the Baptist was sent to earth to prepare the way for Jesus's first coming, you and I are in the world right now, get it beloved ones, to prepare the earth and prepare the spiritual atmosphere around us for Jesus's return. So I want to ask you today, will you receive the call of John the Baptist in your life to be a witness, to prepare the world for Jesus's return by being a forerunner, calling people to him, sharing with people that he's gonna return, you're gonna meet him, calling people to repentance? If you'll do that, you'll be walking, beloved, in a John the Baptist type of anointing. You'll be walking in a forerunner anointing. What do I mean by forerunner? One that is going before the Lord in preparing the world for his return. It's an awesome thing.
I love when someone comes up to me and says, you know what? I see the same type of anointing that was on John the Baptist on you. But I want you to know, all of us partake of the same anointing perhaps at different levels and to different extremes. But every one of us is called to eat his flesh and drink his blood. And when we eat Jesus's flesh and drink his blood, this is his word now. For those of you that are not familiar with the Bible, when I say that Jesus said, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in yourself, I know that sounds perhaps a little bit raw or gory, but Jesus was speaking here in the spiritual sense. He was speaking about receiving him deeply, his fullness into our lives.
And when we receive Jesus into our lives, when we truly partake of him as he is, not the way just that we want him to be, not just the pleasant part of truth, but the hard part of truth as well, when we take him in his fullness into our life, eating his flesh and drinking his blood, you know what the result's gonna be? Fruit, and part of that fruit is gonna be, we're gonna be witnessing Christians because there's no other type of real Christian than a witnessing Christian, since this is the mandate of the church. Jesus said, if you deny me before men, I'll deny you before the Father. But if you confess me before men, I'll confess you before the Father. We're gonna take a John the Baptist type of anointing on ourself. We're gonna be witnessing Christians telling the world that Jesus is returning and inviting people to him in repentance just like John the Baptist did. Well I love that and I'm trusting that some of you right here are also getting the fever, catching the fever, praise God, and even have the fever.
Let's continue on: And he said, I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD, as Isaiah the prophet had prophesied. Now let's get down to verse 28: These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. So I want you to get this. John the Baptist, get it now, is a real, historical person. I know that this might sound basic, but a lot of times people approach the Christian faith as if it's just a bunch of poetic pleasantries. They claim they're Christians, but they really don't believe the Word. But we need to understand that the Word was made flesh, okay, John, chapter 1, verse 14. Jesus is a real, historical person. He really lived in the flesh. John the Baptist is not the figment of somebody's imagination. He's not a poetic pleasantry. He's a real, historical figure that lived in the flesh, in the blood, approximately 2,000 years ago. And so John tells us, these things that John said, he tells us where it happened. It happened in real space, and in real time, and in real history at the Jordan River.
So listen once again, verse number 28: These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing. Some of you have even been to Israel and have been in the Jordan River. Let's go to the next verse here. Verse 29: The next day he, once again we're speaking of John the Baptist, saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I want you to catch that. The next day, John is once again at the Jordan River. Jesus has come. He points at Jesus in front of all the crowd that was gathered there. He points at Jesus and says, Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
Now for many of us that term the Lamb of God, again it's the, it's the introduction of the world to Jesus. And how is the world introduced to Jesus? Get this now, how did John introduce the world to Jesus? He did it, get it church, by calling him the Lamb of God. I'm gonna say it again, the Lamb of God. What's the point, Rabbi? The point is this, many people when they read this or when they hear Yeshua referred to as the Lamb of God, it kind of goes over their head. They don't really get what's going on here. Some people even think of John's terminology as referring to like a warm, fuzzy lamb. Somehow they think that, you know, Jesus is just this warm, you know, real soft, you know, person. But when John the Baptist referred to him as the Lamb of God he wasn't just comparing Jesus to a nice, soft lamb as if he's just such a warm, fuzzy person, although Jesus is tender and warm in spirit. But that's not what John was primarily pointing to.
What John, beloved church, was pointing to is that Jesus, get it now, is the fulfillment of the ancient Passover lamb from the Book of Exodus, chapter 12. God said to Moses, Moses, I'm gonna raise up from your people a prophet like yourself, from your own people, and whoever does not listen to him will be cut off. Peter in the Book of Acts said that Jesus is the One that God spoke to Moses about in the Book of Deuteronomy. You see, Jesus, beloved, is the fulfillment of Passover. Even as Moses tells the story of the first deliverance of Israel through the blood of the Passover lamb, we see here that Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover by becoming the final Passover lamb. It's not just that he's a warm, fuzzy animal, you know, as some people, you know, they have Jesus with, you know, holding the lamb, you know, petting the soft lamb.
That's beautiful and I love it, but it's more than that. John is speaking about the fact that even as God used a lamb to deliver his people when they were in bondage in Egypt, so he has presently sent his Son into the world to deliver us. He's become the new and the final Lamb of God who will be an offering and a sacrifice for us, just like that ancient Passover lamb. And that through him God's church and his people, beloved, Hallelujah, will be delivered. So once again, the New Testament, beloved, is not separate from the Old Testament. It's the continuation or the fulfillment of the Old Testament. You see, Jesus said, if you believed Moses, you'd believe me for Moses wrote of me. So I want you to understand this phrase the Lamb of God from a Hebraic context from the root at which it comes from.
You see, when we read Scripture, one of the goals is to understand Scripture not just from our own, you know, 21st century American perspective, or African perspective, or wherever it is in the world that you're watching this from. The goal is not to read Scripture just through our lens, living 2,000 years after the fact. Beloved, to really get a fuller understanding of the Scripture, we have to understand it, listen now church, through the lens of the person that originally wrote it. This was a Hebraic writing, beloved. The apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, they were all Jews. Jesus died with a sign above his head, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Jesus comes out of Israel. And so when John, once again, as I conclude this point, when John points at Jesus and says, Behold the Lamb of God, let's put out of our mind the picture of Jesus holding the fuzzy lamb.
Let's go back to what John's purpose was when John said, he's the fulfillment of the ancient Passover. That's why the Bible tells us in Corinthians, chapter 5, Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. So it's a beautiful thing to understand our Scriptures from a Jewish or Hebrew perspective. Let's continue on now. We're going now to verse number 30. John the Baptist: This is He on behalf of whom I said, After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in the water. John testified saying, I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. And then John concludes: I myself have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.
I love it again. I'm looking here at the historicity of John's proclamation. He says, I was at the Jordan River and this happened. I saw this One coming to me. John says, when Jesus first came, John says, I didn't recognize him. John said, he looked to me just like all the others that were coming. I saw him only in the natural. In verse 33, John says: I did not recognize him. But what happened? The Spirit of the Lord came upon this One that looked ordinary, the Spirit of the Lord came upon this One that looked ordinary, manifested himself as a Holy Dove, remained upon him and lighted him. And then John heard the voice, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And eureka, John knew that he was the One that God had sent him to prepare the way for. And then John said, I'm not even worthy to untie his sandals. John said, he must increase but I must decrease.
You see, John's whole purpose in coming was to prepare the world for Jesus. I want to speak one last time about this point. When John said, I did not recognize him, but as he was coming I saw the Spirit descend upon him as a dove. Listen, this was real. The Holy Spirit can truly and in reality manifest himself to you, beloved, right where you're at. Just like John had an encounter with God through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit showed John what was going on. I want you to know, expect God to show you things in your life by the Holy Spirit. You may not see a dove. You may or may not hear God's voice. Often times his voice is just a gentle whisper. John heard his voice. But I want to encourage you, God is supernatural. He supernaturally manifested himself to John here, and he is still, beloved, in the kingdom business of supernaturally revealing himself to his people.
So look up. Listen, the Bible is designed to lead us to God, and it is God's infallible Word. But hear me, it's not designed to replace God. I want you to look up and expect the Lord to supernaturally lead you and reveal himself to you. I'm not telling you how he's gonna do it. I just want to get you excited today to tell you God loves you and he delights in revealing himself to his people. Jesus said in John, 14: 21 & 23, if you love me, I'm gonna come to you, he said, and reveal myself to you. This is Rabbi Schneider saying to you, Shalom from Discovering the Jewish Jesus. I want you to hear me today, church. I love you. I trust that God is using this ministry to build you up in your faith, and I encourage you to take what you're learning and share it with others, and you'll be profitable in this world for the building of the kingdom of God.