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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - John 1:19-51

Skip Heitzig - John 1:19-51

Skip Heitzig - John 1:19-51
Skip Heitzig - John 1:19-51
TOPICS: Expound, Gospel of John, Bible Study

As you turn in your Bibles to the gospel of John, Chapter 1, a question to ask yourselves is, what is your view of God? In particular, what is your view of Jesus? Some would say, well, I picture Him as a King, He's enthroned. Others would say, I picture Him as a servant. Others might say, well, I picture Him as a friend. Others would say, I picture Him as the Lord of Lords, King of Kings above all. And hopefully, you picture Him as all of those things, because they're really, it's not one single description that will totally reveal and encapsulate the magnificence of the character that is Jesus Christ.

And that is why we have four gospels. The four gospels you might say are the four faces of Jesus Christ. I have literally thousands of photographs that I have taken of my family over the years. And each one is slightly different. And incidentally, there are very few pictures of me, because I'm always the one behind the camera.

So I've got the pictures of my wife, and my son, and now my grandkids. And every blue moon, there may be one of me if somebody grabs my camera to take one. But other than that, they're pictures of them, but each photograph is slightly different. And what's interesting is that I never get tired of photographing them. I'll look at the way light is hitting little Katie's hair or Seth's smile, my grandkids, and I'll go, oh, I got to get a picture of that. Now I might have 45,000 pictures of them already, but I need another one to capture that moment, to capture that scene.

So in the gospels, we have the four faces of Jesus. Now let me just take you back a little bit into the Old Testament. You remember that when God dwelt among people, He dwelt among them with a Tabernacle. And a Tabernacle was a tent, you remember, sort of a very fancy tent. The courtyard was 75 feet wide by 150 feet deep.

In the middle of that courtyard was a tent structure that basically had two rooms the Holy Place and then the Holy of Holies. And then around the Tabernacle where God dwelt with His people, there were the Levites, the priestly tribe on all four sides divided up according to families. But then beyond them, were the thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of the tribes of Israel. The 12 tribes that were encamped around where God was dwelling.

But do you remember that the 12 tribes were divided into four separate camps? A camp on the East, a camp on the West, a camp on the South, a camp on the North, so there were three tribes in all directions. And according to the writings of the Jews in the Talmud and the traditions of the Jews we understand that the tribes on each side had an emblem according to the head tribe that they gathered under.

So on the Eastern side of the Tabernacle, there were three tribes under the banner or the emblem, the standard of the tribe of Judah. That's on the East side. On the West side were three more tribes under the emblem or the standard of the tribe of Ephraim. On the South side of the Tabernacle were three other of the 12 tribes under a single banner, a standard, an emblem, and that was the tribe of Ruben. And then to the North, three more tribes and that final encampment had as its standard, as its emblem, the tribe of Dan.

Now here's what's interesting. According to Jewish tradition and those Jewish writings that I mentioned, on the Eastern side, the tribe of Judah had their standard, their emblem, . Was the emblem of a lion. On the Western side, under the tribe of Ephraim was the standard or the emblem of the Ox. On the South side, those three tribes under the standard or the emblem of Ruben was the image of a man. And on the North side, the tribe of Dan had as its emblem over those three tribes an eagle.

So you had four faces. You had a lion. You had an ox. You had a man. You had an eagle. Why is that significant? Well, if you move on in the scripture you see that Ezekiel gets a vision in Chapter 1 of that book and Chapter 10 of that book of the throne of God. Remember that wild vision of the wheel within the wheels, and eyes on all sides, and four living creatures. And the four living creatures each had four faces.

And what's interesting is that the four faces were the same faces as around the Tabernacle. On one side the living creatures had the face of a lion and an ox on another side. And another side the face of a man and finally the face of an eagle. When we get to the Book of Revelation John sees a vision of heaven. This time the four living creatures each have a singular face each, but it's the same faces, a lion, and ox or a calf, a man, and finally an eagle. Why is that important? Well, I don't think it's there by accident, and I see the same kind of imagery in the four gospels. That's why I'm calling them the four faces of Christ.

Matthew's gospel speaks about Jesus as the King of the Jews. It is fulfilled, it says in that book quite frequently. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of by the prophet. Matthew writes for the Jews presenting Jesus. His picture, his portrait is Jesus the King of the Jews like the lion of the tribe of Judah, the kingly tribe, the kingly beast, the kingly animal.

When we get to the Gospel of Mark, Mark writes for the Romans and it's very rapid paced as we saw last week. We made note of last week. Mark speaks a lot about what Jesus did. He's the servant. He's doing things, so the emblem of an ox. We get to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is portrayed in His humanity as the Son of Man full of compassion. And Luke writes about him in His humanity more than the other three so the emblem of a man.

But finally, we get to the Gospel of John and that's the face of an eagle. He is the exalted one. He is the Son of God more than the Son of Man. He is the Son of God in all of His deity and all of His glory. So we have, like the Tabernacle, like Ezekiel's vision, and like Revelation 4, the four faces and not one of them is enough. And so we noted last week that the three gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke, called synoptic gospels because they bear so much resemblance to each other, are snapshots of what Jesus said, that's Matthew.

What He said is highlighted more in Matthew than in Mark, Luke, or John. The great discourses are written about in Matthew. The parables are written about in detail in Matthew, what Jesus said. In the Gospel of Mark, what Jesus did. In the Gospel of Luke, what Jesus felt as the Son of Man. And finally, the Gospel of John is who Jesus is in His deity, in His totality.

We made it through half a chapter last week, because this book I would say demands a little more attention, a little more consideration, a little more study, so that it might have its full impact upon us. Do you realize that the book of John 90% of the material in the Gospel of John is unique to the Gospel of John? That's how different it is from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, those three synoptic gospels.

And there are certain features in John that are featured nowhere else. The seven great "I am" statements of Jesus. I am the breath of life. I am the living water. I am the way, the truth, the light. There are seven such statements that are found in the Gospel of John and found nowhere else. There are no parables written in the Gospel of John, because the emphasis isn't on what Jesus said, that's more Matthew.

There are seven miracles presented in the Gospel of John, five of which are found in none of the other gospels. Also, the longest prayer found in the New Testament is found in the Gospel of John by Jesus Himself, John Chapter 17. It's like holy ground, man, that's like the Holy of Holies of this Book. John, Chapter 17. It's the longest prayer in the New Testament. And the shortest verse in the Bible is found in the Gospel of John. John 11:35, Jesus what? Wept. The shortest verse, longest prayer, all found in the Gospel of John.

I don't know why Deuteronomy opened up. We're in the Gospel of John. Something else. The word, Jesus, and the word, Christ, is found in the Gospel of John 170 times. 170 times. The word, believe, is found 100 times. I'm bringing that up, because when you look at word repetitions in a book you discover the core of the book, the essence of the book, the purpose of the book. Jesus and Christ are found 170 times in 100 times the word, believe, is found. And that shows you the purpose that John wrote the book, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ. And that's what he says in John Chapter 20, Verse 30.

Truly many other signs Jesus did in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing you might have life in His name. That is the core and the purpose for which John wrote. Well, we made it down to about Verse 20 something last week. We're going to pick it up at Verse 19 tonight.

We began with the introduction of the Son of God or, if you will, the incarnation of the Son of God, that's Chapter 1, Verses 1 through 18. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. The Word was made flesh. That's the introduction or the incarnation of the Son of God.

Beginning in Verse 19, we have the presentation of the Son of God. He is presented to John the Baptist. He will be presented to the early disciples that become His disciples. He will be presented to the people at Cana, His first miracle in Chapter 2. And He will be presented to the City of Samaria in Chapter 4.

Verse 19, now this is the testimony of John. This is not John the Apostle now, it is John the Baptist or as we affectionately call him J the B. John is mentioned by name in this book, John the Baptist, J the B is mentioned by name. John the Apostle, the author of the book, is not mentioned at all in the book, except he calls himself the apostle whom Jesus loved. And I love that.

Before our study tonight, I had three or four different people come up and just give me a short little snapshot, a little snippet of what God had done in their lives this week, and I love that. This is what God has done for me, or through me, or in me in my life. And when a person comes to the realization, hey, I'm the one Jesus loves, it's a great realization. You need that realization.

So would you rather be called John or would you rather be known as the apostle whom Jesus loved? That's not hard to figure out. So he calls himself the more preferable term to just his name. He leaves his name out of it, and he calls himself the one whom Jesus loved. Now this is the testimony of John, J the B.

When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him who are you? He confessed and did not deny, but confessed, I'm not the Christ. So he began telling them who he's not because who he is really isn't important to him. John the Baptist never came on the scene and said, do you realize who I am? He came on the scene and said, do you realize who He is? I'll tell you who I'm not. I am not the Christ. He knew that's what they were thinking.

Now history tells us that there was, not only in the Jewish world but in the secular world at that time, this is written by Suetonius and Tacitus. They tell us that there was this yearning and expectation that a leader would arise in the world, many of them even pinpointed it to Judea. Among the secular world, according to Suetonius and Tacitus, a ruler would emerge from Judah. There was that expectation. And there was also a heightened expectation among the Jews for their Deliverer, their Messiah, their Christ.

History tells us that. You see, the Jews had been in captivity. In captivity they could not practice ceremonial law. Their temple had been destroyed. Their city had been destroyed. They're in a foreign country. They can't offer animal sacrifices anymore, so the institution of the temple in captivity was gone. Right?

So in captivity Judaism developed something that stayed with it even to this day. You don't read about them at all in the Old Testament. Suddenly you read about them in the New Testament. It came during the Babylonian captivity called the synagogue. The synagogue is an institution that we don't read about in the Old Testament. God never established it. The Jews established it while they couldn't practice ceremonial law because their city had been destroyed, their temple had been burned, they couldn't offer sacrifice.

Now they're in a foreign land. The only thing they can do is get together, and while they're together in the bet knesset, that's the Hebrew word for synagogue, the gathering together place, they could read, and study, and apply the written Law of God. They can practice ceremonial law. They can only read, and study, and apply the written law.

While they were reading and studying the written law, a yearning more than ever before to go back to Jerusalem, but also to experience the coming of Messiah, was greater than ever before. Especially now, they're back in the land, and the Romans have come in and taken over. And there is a Jewish prayer that was said every day by pious Jewish believers. I believe, it, said I believe in the coming of Messiah. And even though He tarries, yet, I will wait for Him every coming day.

Well, He has come on the scene. He is about to be presented to John the Baptist, to the disciples, to the people of Cana, Samaria, Jerusalem, etc. But before He comes, John the Baptist is out in the wilderness. As he's out there and a crowd draws around him because he is a curious figure, indeed, they ask him are you the Christ? Are you the one we're expecting? Are you the promised one? He says, I am not the Christ.

They asked him what then? Are you Elijah? He said, I am not. Are you the prophet? He answered, no. Then they said to him, who are you that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? He said, I am the voice. Jesus is the Word. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness make straight the way of the Lord as the prophet, Isaiah, said.

Are you Elijah? Nope. Now why would they think that he is Elijah? Well, two reasons. The way he looked. We know that John the Baptist grew his hair long. He wore camel's hair, leather around his waist, ate bugs. Do you remember? Some of you will remember the description of the Elijah the prophet in the Old Testament. It comes to us out of, I think, Second Kings, Chapter 8. Elijah comes on the scene, and he's outside the door. And they said, who's at the door? And they said, a hairy guy with leather on.

So looking at John the Baptist would have been reminiscent to any Jew that was familiar with his Bible or her Bible, that reminds me of Elijah. But there is another reason that they expected Elijah, and that's because the last chapter of the Old Testament predicts that before the Lord, the Messiah, establishes his earthly kingdom, Elijah will come and turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the children back to the fathers, turn the nation back to God.

Behold I will send you Elijah Malachi 4 says before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And that is why, even to this day, if you've ever been to a Jewish Passover Seder, they leave a chair vacant for the prophet Elijah. They expect that on one of these occasions at somebody's Passover around the world, Elijah's is to show up and sit in that chair and come.

So they always expected the Messiah is going to come, but we're going to know it's the Messiah come to set up His kingdom when Elijah comes. So they say, John, are you Elijah? He goes, nope. Well, now we have a problem, don't we? We have a problem because of the words that Jesus said if you have a mind to turn to Matthew. If you don't, I'll turn to it for you.

This is Matthew Chapter 11, Verse 11, "Assuredly Jesus says, I say to you among those born of women, there is not risen one greater than John the Baptist. But he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent taked by force for all the prophets in the law prophesied until John." Now watch this verse.

"And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come." It's an odd statement. Are you Elijah? Nope. Now Jesus said now, if you can receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let me confuse you further. If you go forward in the Gospel of Matthew to Chapter 17, now John the Baptist has come and gone. He is dead. Matthew 17, Verse 9, "Now as they came down from the mountain Jesus commanded them saying, tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead. And His disciples asked him saying, why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Now the reason they asked the question is because Jesus was transfigured moments before this along with Moses and Elijah the prophet. They saw this transfiguration vision on the mountain. So they asked him about it. "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? Jesus answered and said to them, indeed Elijah is coming first and will restore all things."

So speaking yet future, now John the Baptist has come and gone, so he's saying, you know what? Elijah is going to come like Malachi said. He is coming. "But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise, the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist."

So John says I'm not Elijah. Jesus said, well, if you can receive it, it is Elijah. Then He says, you know, Elijah the prophet, the real Elijah, is going to come in the future. But, you know, in a sense Elijah has already come. And they did whatever they wanted to him. And they go, oh, He must be speaking about John the Baptist so what does this all mean?

Here's what it means. When Zechariah was in the temple and offering incense, and the angel Gabriel said, your wife Elizabeth, though she's an old gal, is pregnant. And she's going to have a son. You guys are going to have a son together. You're going to call his name John, John the Baptist. That's the John we're talking about. He will come in the spirit and in the power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord their God, he starts quoting Malachi 4.

Now the angel said he's coming in the spirit and the power of Elijah, not in the person of Elijah. So in a sense, in a type, in a futuristic type in a shadow, John the Baptist was any Elijah-like forerunner. But since the prophecy in Malachi says he's going to come, Elijah the prophet is going to come before the Lord sets up His kingdom, which is yet future.

We see that John the Baptist was a partial fulfillment of that ushering in, in the spirit and power of the Elijah, the first coming of Jesus whereas as the prophet Elijah, literally, resurrected will come in the future to usher in the second coming. I hope that makes sense. I hope that clears it up. You say, well, where do we find that in the Book of Revelation? We know that Jesus comes back in Revelation 19.

Well, it's interesting if you look at the two witnesses in Revelation 11, and you look at what they do, they sound very suspiciously like Moses and Elijah. Just go some other time, we don't have the time tonight we've already taken really too much time on the subject. But go look at the description and you'll see that Moses and Elijah possibly are the two witnesses spoken about in Revelation. As far as two witnesses to the Jewish nation, you couldn't have two greater witnesses than Moses the lawgiver and Elijah, their greatest prophet.

And when Jesus was transfigured in the gospels with Moses and Elijah upon that mountain, it says they were speaking about things of the kingdom in one of the gospel accounts. I love the fact that not only did Moses make it into the promise land in that scene, remember, he wasn't allowed to go in the Old Testament, but he's showing up there in Northern Israel with Jesus and Elijah. But also the fact that Elijah the prophet is with him. And they speak about things future and probably they'll show up in Revelation Chapter 11 as the two witnesses.

Now back to John Chapter 1. Verse 24, now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him saying why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ nor Elijah nor the prophet? Now what is this, the prophet? They said are you the prophet? No, I'm not the prophet. Why are you baptizing if you're not the prophet?

When Jesus asked his disciples right before the transfiguration at Neziri Phillippe, who do men say that I am? Remember, they said some say you're John the Baptist. Some say you're Elijah. Some say you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets. The reason they thought Jesus might be Jeremiah or one of the prophets is there was a long standing tradition that Jeremiah the prophet will also come back and he will restore the Ark of the Covenant to its proper place in the worship system of Israel prior to the Messiah's arrival to establish His kingdom.

But I believe what they are referring to more than that when they said, are you the prophet, is if you recall in our study in Deuteronomy Chapter 18, Moses said for the Lord your God will send to you another prophet like unto me. Him you shall hear. You shall listen to him. And that is believed, a longstanding belief, that that is a Messianic prediction. Are you the Christ? No. Are you Elijah? No. Are you the prophet either Jeremiah or one of the prophets, or perhaps that prophet referred to in Deuteronomy 18?

So they ask him since he says, no, I am none of those, he said why are you baptizing then if you're none of these people? John answered and said to them, I baptize with water but there stands one among you whom you do not know. It is He who coming after me is preferred before me whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. Again, please notice John, just the humble nature of this voice proclaiming the word of life.

He says, there's somebody coming and the one that is coming, the one that you are anticipating, you know what? I am not even worthy to be a household slave to this man. It was a servant's job to unloose and to take off the sandals of a master who had walked the streets and had come home in the evening, the slave, the servant, would take off the sandals by and unloosening the straps and then wash the feet. John the Baptist said, I'm not even worthy to do that.

Now contrast John's words, I'm not even worthy to be His servant to some of our attitudes when we pray and go, Lord, I deserve better than this. The way you've been treating me, the way you've allowed this to happen in my life, the trials and the tribulations, well, I've served you and I've trusted you. And we start getting angry at God, like God should give us what we deserve.

You should praise Him and thank Him every day that He doesn't give you what you deserve. You'd be in hell. That's what we deserve. I'm not even worthy to be his household slave. These things were done in Bethel bara beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing. Bethel bara is where we were a few weeks ago in Deuteronomy. It's the place of crossing. The place the children of Israel when Moses said, you're going to cross over the Jordan River, and Joshua in Chapter 1 takes them over at this place called the place of crossing Bethel bara. They had been wandering around the wilderness till they crossed over into the promise land.

It's the place where the nation was baptized, so to speak. They went through the waters of the Jordan that parted for them, and they came over from wandering around into the promised land. I don't believe that John puts that there without intentionality. I believe that John is directing our attention to just as the children of Israel wandered, and wandered, and wandered, and had no resting place till they came into the promise land. It's time for you to enter into your rest. Quit wandering around through life and wandering off the path and come into the place God has promised you in Christ, life in Christ.

So he's baptizing down there where the nation had been baptized at the Jordan River. Now let me tell you about baptism, because most people in the world, most religious people in the world, think that baptism was invented by Christianity. You know, Christians, we baptize people. That's the ritual of Christians. It wasn't originally. It was invented by the Jewish people.

Did you know that if you wanted to be Jewish in antiquity you had to go through three things, three rituals. Number one, instruction. Number two, circumcision if you're a male, and number three, baptism. Instruction by a scribe, circumcision by a priest, baptism by or with a witness. It was a symbol that you were proselytizing. You were converting from paganism, from whatever you were into before into Judaism. You acknowledge one true living God, the God of Israel.

If you wanted to be an Israelite, if you wanted to believe in the one true God, Yahweh, you had to proselytize by those three things. So if you wanted to be a Jew if you're a Gentile, a pagan, that's what you had to do. Baptism was part of it, number one. Number two, if you were a Jew, and you had become ritually unclean by touching a dead body or coming in contact with something that would defile you, before you would go up into the temple area you would have to baptize yourself. There was self-baptism.

Now if you've been with us to Israel, as you get up to the Temple Mount on the southern steps, just before you see all these pools dug out in the rocks. They're called mikvot. That's the plural Hebrew for the singular mikveh. A mikveh is a little pool, a ritual cleansing pool. If you've been defiled, you immerse yourself you get up, towel off, and now you are ready to go up and worship in the temple. So number one, if you're a non-Jew and you want to convert, and number two, if you're a Jew and you've been defiled you get baptized.

The puzzling thing to the Pharisees about John the Baptist is he's not calling pagans or Gentiles to convert to Judaism. He's calling Jewish people under God's covenant to repent of their sins and turn to God fully, completely. It's a baptism unto repentance and trust and belief in the Messiah that he says is going to come. So that baffled these Pharisees. Now Josephus tells us, you know how many Pharisees were alive at the time of Jesus? 6,000.

Pharisees were strict. They were legalists. They were very narrow in their interpretation of the law. They were very ritualistic. They believed in miracles. They believed in spirits, they believed in angels. Their opposite counterparts were the Sadducees. They were the liberals. They did not believe in spirits. They did not believe in the scripture past the Torah. They didn't believe in supernatural, et cetera. So they were antagonists, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. But John wants us to know that the group that comes to John the Baptist were sent out by the Pharisees, these really strict, legalistic Pharisees.

The next day, Verse 29, John saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Now John's dad, was what? What was his occupation? He was a priest. He was a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. John, therefore, grew up around temple ritual. He understood what lambs were for. They were bred for sacrifice. He see Jesus, says look, there's the Lamb of God, the lamb God has sent. And the application is universal, who takes away the sin of the world.

What did John the Baptist have in mind when he saw Jesus? Well, perhaps he had the Passover in mind from the ancient times. You take the blood of the lamb put on the lentils and doorpost of your homes. It was the lamb for the family. Now he's broadening it out. Or perhaps, he was thinking of Isaiah Chapter 53 that predicts the Messiah's sacrifice. He will be led as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before it shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Or maybe he was thinking about Abraham bringing his son Isaac and the angel stopping him. And then predicting to Abraham saying, the Lord will provide Himself a lamb. In the mountain of the Lord it shall be seen. And Abraham said that to his son Isaac. He sees Jesus, and he said behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is He, verse 30, of whom I said after me comes a man who is preferred before me for He was before me.

I did not know Him, but that He should be revealed to Israel. Therefore, I came baptizing with water. And John bore witness saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove. Why a dove? A dove was an animal of sacrifice. If you couldn't afford a lamb, if you were the poorest of the poor, you could bring a dove. So like a lamb, a dove appearing over Jesus indicating this is the one. Here's the one who can relate to those who can afford a sacrifice and those who can't, rich and poor alike, all people. A lamb or a dove, it's the same person.

"And he remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, upon whom you see the spirit descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."

Now let me ask you a question. It's puzzling, because twice in what we just read, twice in this text, John the Baptist said, I didn't know Him. I didn't know Him. How could he say that? He knew Him quite well. He was His cousin. He was His second cousin. We know from the scripture that John the Baptist's mother, Elizabeth and Jesus' mother Mary were first cousins, making Jesus and John second cousins.

They knew each other. They grew up going to the feast together. John knew that Cousin Yeshua's coming to town. We're going to play and have a blast. They were familiar with each other. He knew Him, but he says, I didn't know Him. What he means is, I knew Him as a cousin, but I surely didn't know all this time that this was the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I grew up not having that awareness and now this dove alights upon Him and tells me, that's Him. That's the one, the one you know as a cousin. You didn't know He would be the Savior, but He is. That's what it means.

So Jesus and John were familiar. They were second cousins. Now there's something else. It is believed that Jesus' mother Mary and John, the writer, John the apostle, not John the Baptist now, John the author's mother, Salome is her name, were sisters. Making John, the author, the first cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist, the second cousin of Jesus. Makes sense?

OK, I'm belaboring that point for this reason. It adds to the credibility of the witness of John the Baptist and John the Apostle to say this Jesus is the Lamb of God, the Son of God. God in a human body, which John affirms over, and over, and over again and highlights in this book. Why does it affirm that? Why does it understate that. Why does it add to the credibility and authenticity of the narrative in the testimony of John? Well, think about it. You have cousins.

And the ones that know you, I remember growing up my family reunion with some of my cousins, and I remember the Dower boys, Peter Dower, John Dower in Minnesota. We had a blast in the summer, but I'll tell you this my cousin would never say Skip is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. My cousin Skip, he's God in a human body. Cousins know their cousins.

But these cousins, John the Apostle and John the Baptist, their testimony, and it adds to the credibility because of this familiarity. They said, this is the one. This is the one. I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.

Are these testimonies important? Well, sure they are. These are eyewitness testimonies and under the circumstances they're vital. Because you see, there's a whole lot of people who want to say, well, you know Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a good example. We'll even say He worked some miracles, but the Son of God He is not. The Lamb of God He is not. God in a human body He is not.

But according to those who knew Him best and saw Him most, it's exactly who He was. Now Israel didn't want a lamb. He came into his own we read last week. His own did not receive Him. They didn't want a lamb. They wanted a lion. They wanted the lion of Judah. They wanted somebody to set up the earthly kingdom now. But first He must come as a lamb to take away their sin, otherwise they could not enjoy that kingdom. He will come again as the lamb or as the lion of the tribe of Judah, but first He comes as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world because sin is the impediment between the world and God.

Again, the next day, Verse 35, John, this is J the B stood with two of His disciples. So he's down to the Jordan River down by the Dead Sea. It's very hot down there. We were down there just in the end of February beginning of March, and it was in the 90s already. If it's the summer time, it's in the 120s or so. So I'm guessing, I'm hoping for their sake it's in the milder time of the year.

Again, the next day John stood with two of His disciples and looking at Jesus as he walked said, look, that's what behold means, look. Check it out, check Him out. Look, the Lamb of God. The two disciples heard Him speak, and they followed Jesus. I love that. They heard John. They said, OK, see you, John, we're going. See you. Bye. We're going to follow him now.

And Jesus turned and seeing them following said to them, what do you want? Well, it says what do you seek? What do you want? Same question. What do you want? They said to him rabbi, which is to say when translated, teacher, where are you staying? Now in John's gospel, these are the first words that he records Jesus speaking. The first red letter in the book. And it's interesting the first words out of Jesus mouth recorded by John is a question. Why did Jesus ask this question? Because He didn't know the answer? No, He knew the answer. He wanted them to think about the answer they were going to give.

You know, many times God will ask the questions, and He doesn't do that because He doesn't know the answer. He asked the questions so that the one He's asking will have to think about the question, and it will lead that person to a logical consideration. In the garden after Adam sinned, God said, Adam, where are you? God wasn't, like, He didn't like miss him on the GPS. And I can't find Adam anywhere. He knew exactly where Adam was.

He wanted Adam to think about how far he had moved from God. Adam, where are you? Jesus said to his disciples who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? He knew the answer to that. He wanted them to answer it and to consider what people were saying. And then he said, who do you say that I am? He wanted to hear their confession.

In John, Chapter 5, Jesus will ask the paralyzed man, the paralytic who is at the pool of Bethesda an interesting question. It's probably not a question you would ask somebody who's cripple. Imagine walking up to a crippled person in a hospital room and asking him the question of Jesus, do you want to get better? What kind of a question is that? Hey, hey, cripple person, do you want to get better?

Anybody listening to that question who didn't understand what was going on would think that's a very cruel question to ask. I was going to say, try that, but don't try that. The question was meant to probe that are you sure you want to get better? Or are you up for, it's going to mean some changes in your life. You've been living off of the graces of people who are giving you things, and giving you money, and sustaining you on the dole of the charity of the people or the government all of this time.

Are you sure you are ready for a lifestyle change that means you're going to have to go back to work and struggle, etc? I know you're in suffering and pain. You don't want this, but are you sure you want to get well? Are you ready for this? So sometimes God will ask the question to provoke the answer to get us to think of our motives. What do you want? What are you seeking?

It's a good question. What are you seeking? You here tonight, us here tonight in this place. What do you see? Why do you come to church? What are you seeking? To give God the glory, to further your relationship with Him? To spot young girls that aren't married, young guys that aren't married? There's a number of reasons people can do things.

And so these questions, when you find them in the scripture, it's good to meditate on them and apply them yourself. What do you want? What are you seeking? I love their answer. They said, rabbi, now they ask the question, where are you staying? We just want to be where you are. There's something about you Jesus. There's something we're noticing right now. John pointed you out. There's something compelling about you.

We want to find out where you're hanging out, because we want to be there with you. It's like David said, one thing I will desire of the Lord and that will I seek after that I might abide in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and behold His beauty. They didn't say, well, we want some information. Or we want a course on theology with a degree. Or we want a miracle of healing. We want food. Where are you staying? We want to hang out with you.

And he said to them, again, I love these statements. Come and see. Come and see. He doesn't give them information. He gives them an invitation, come and see. Explore for yourself. Let it be a personal exploration. They came and saw where He was staying and remained with Him that day.

Now it was about the 10th hour, which means it was 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon by this time. I'm guessing it's the winter time, the sun would be going down soon. The reckoning of time among the Jews began with 6:00 AM. That was the first hour of the day. So the 10th hour of the day is 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. The fisherman from Galilee is down, one of them is down with John the Baptist and that's Andrew. Now watch this. He first found his own brother, Simon and said to him, we have found the Messiah which is translated the Christ. Now this is the text that the Billy Graham Organization has used for the past, I don't know, 40 years or so, 50 years, called Operation Andrew.

You know before a crusade comes into town, the Graham Organization will say OK, we're going to teach you Operation Andrew. It's all about identifying and writing down the friends that you're going to invite to the crusade that Dr. Graham is going to preach. You start praying for those friends. You invite them early, you invite them perpetually. You pick them up and bring them on that night or that day of the crusade.

So here is Andrew going out to find his brother to introduce Jesus to him and him to Jesus. That's always a sign of love. If you're really following Jesus, I believe, you're going to want to find other people that you know and love to bring them to Jesus. A true disciple is someone who is not content to go to heaven alone. If you're good with just getting to heaven all by yourself alone, you don't want to invite anybody else, you don't want to mention Jesus to anybody else because they may not like you. They might marginalize you or scorn you. It's a very sad and narrow life to live.

I remember when I gave my life to Jesus. It was the summer of 19, and I was up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was living with my brother, 1973, summer. I had watched Billy Graham on television. You've all heard that story. And I remember being gripped with I've got to tell my family what happened to me. They've got to find out. They've got to hear this, they've got to hear about Jesus.

So I decided I have to go back home. Now I'm living up in the San Jose, San Francisco area and I drove my motorcycle eight hours south to Southern California because I was so eager and anxious to tell my family first. They didn't get too excited about my conversion. My friends, they weren't all excited about my conversion. But eventually, some of those came to know Christ.

And what I loved is when I went to a friend to tell him about Jesus, the reason he came to see me is to tell me about Jesus not knowing that I had given my life to Him. So we both had the same idea. We were both Andrew looking for our friends to invite them to Christ. So Andrew does that, finds Peter, brought him to Jesus. Now Jesus looked at him and said, you are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas, which is translated to stone. The Aramaic word is Petros, Peter.

I'm giving you a new name. I'm not going to call you Simon Hearing, because you're not all that good at hearing, Peter. I'm going to call you Rock. Now those that knew Peter probably laughed at that name. Ha, ha, Rock? This guy's shifting sand. He's anything but rock. He is impetuous and unreliable. But you know I've discovered as I read through the gospels that the people that Jesus names, I believe He names them based upon what He's going to make them into, not based on their present character.

You may be shifting sand, but I'm going to make you a chip off the old rock. I am the rock, Peter, but I'm going to make you rock man. And Peter became that. Who preached that great message on Pentecost and 3,000 souls were baptized that day? Peter. Who wrote two New Testament letters as a leader of the early church? Peter. I love that about Jesus.

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee. It's up north now, Sea of Galilee, and He found Philip. And He said to him, follow Me. Now Philip was from Bethsaida. That's a little fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The city of Andrew and Peter, Philip found Nathaniel. So Andrew went to Peter, now Philip finds Nathaniel and says to him, we have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

We found the one everyone has been searching for, and talking about, and anticipating. What you hear about in the synagogues by the rabbis, the coming Messiah, we found Him. His name is Yeshua. He's from Nazareth. And Nathaniel said to him, can anything good come out of Nazareth? And Philip said to him, come and see. He'd been hanging around Jesus with that question with that answer. Come and see. I like that. He's just, I'm going to do a Jesus, come and see.

Nazareth, and out of the way village. Now Nathaniel we are told and you won't be told till John, Chapter 21, but you will find out in John, Chapter 21 that Nathaniel was originally from Cana of Galilee, not far from Nazareth. Now nobody liked the Galilean cities in Jerusalem. All the Jerusalemites thought the Galileans were hicks. It's how you and I would view people from other states that have certain accents. We're, oh, they're just kind of like country bumpkins. They're hicks, man.

The Galileans were unsophisticated but of all the Galilean cities, Nazareth was like the lowest on the totem pole. So unsophisticated. Can anything good come out of there? Now keep in mind the village that Nathaniel's from is Cana. It's not, like, great. And probably Nazareth and Cana were rivals growing up. I'm sure their high school teams played each other in basketball and things like that. So he was familiar that. Oh, can anything good come out of there?

Come and see. Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward Him and said of him, behold our luck, an Israelite, indeed, in whom there is no deceit. Now you notice when Jesus meets these people, He already knows about them. Oh, you're Simon, son of Jonah. Well, I'm calling you this now. So they on a normal, natural human level are being introduced to Him, but it's as if Jesus was anticipating them.

Now, I don't have time now, but in a study I did, Finding the God Who Finds You in our Believe 879 series on the Gospel of John in-depth, I go into this in-depth in detail. The whole idea of you choosing versus God choosing. Arminianism versus Calvinism, preelection, predestination versus personal volition. I go into all that using this text.

So suffice it to say now Jesus said, hey, it's like I know you. An Israelite, indeed, in whom there is no God. Now why would He say that? Because He sounds like a wiseacre. A wise guy, oh, could anything good come out of Nazareth? He had the kind of personality he wore his heart on his sleeve. If he doubted something, He would say I doubt that, sort of like Thomas. We don't know where you're going, how can we know the way. He's that kind of personality. Thomas wasn't the only doubter on the team. Nathanial was the other guy. Can anything good come out of that place?

But that's what he felt, that's what he said. He was honest and Jesus knew that about him. He said, you don't hide your feelings. You're not covering up anything. You're a man in whom there is no guile, no deceit. Nathanial said to Him, how do you know me? Jesus answered and said before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree I saw you.

Evidently, there was some personal place that he was praying, hanging out. He thought nobody knew this little special hideaway that I have except for me. Jesus said, I saw you there. Look at his response. Nathaniel answered and said to Him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God. Wow, that's quite a turn. You are the King of Israel. That's all it took.

The fact that Jesus told him showed him that He knew even the secret parts of His life. Jesus answered and said to him, because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, most assuredly, I say to you hereafter you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

You thought that fig tree thing statement I just said was cool? Stick around, dude. You're going to see no less than 37 miracles recorded in the Gospel of John, the first being in your hometown next chapter in the town of Cana, turning water into wine. You think that's great? Hold your horses. You're going to see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

Real quickly, that's a reference to Genesis 28. Jacob runs away from his brother, Esau, trying to kill him after he stole the blessing. And he sees a vision of God that night. He camps out, puts his head on a rock, he's in the area of Bethel, and he sees a dream, a vision of angels, heaven open, and a ladder from heaven to earth, and angels, God's angels going down.

And I believe what Jesus is telling him is you are going to see that I am the ladder between heaven and earth. You're going to discover in looking at me and following me, not only can I tell you cool things about you hanging out under a tree, more than a tree, I'm the ladder, man that connects God and man. I'm the bridge that connects heaven and earth. And you're going to see that displayed in the days ahead.

Now in our chapter, we noted last week that Jesus came into His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as did receive Him, He gave them the right, the power, to become children of God. In those verses you have what people thought about Him. And, in fact, what people think about Him. You have two responses, the majority response, the minority response. The majority response, they didn't receive Him. The minority response, a few did receive Him.

And those who did, God gave them the right to become His children. The majority was wrong. The minority was right. Don't let your spirituality be governed, be dictated, by a finger to the wind. Find out what everybody else is thinking, and I'll do it because they do it. I'll do it because everybody else does it, because you will be wrong. If you want to discover who Jesus is based upon what your friends or what your coworkers think of Him, you'll be wrong.

The minority report is the accurate report. He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the Lamb of God, that's the accurate report. And, therefore, you receive Him. And if you receive Him, you will become a son or daughter of the living God because you believe in His name. That's all it takes for salvation. You believe in His name. Let's pray.

Father, thank you Father for the testimony of John the Apostle, the testimony of John the Baptist, the testimony of Nathaniel. These people who came into contact with this carpenter, the son of a carpenter from Nazareth, who is the very lamb sent by God to take away sin that is prevalent and rampant in this world. Lord, we, too, have sin. And some of us Lord have never come to Christ to get it removed. Some of us have never received Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Others may have done it but walked away from it. Received you, but turned away from you. Tonight, Lord, we are once again given the choice to receive Jesus.

As we close this service, we close in prayer and a song, if you are gathered here tonight and you need to be one of those few who say, I will place my faith in Jesus. I will turn to Him personally. It won't be religious, it will be real, it will be authentic. I'm going to receive Jesus as my lamb, as my Lord. Or if you have turned away from Him, and you need to come back to Him, either way, if you know that's you, I want you to raise your hand in the air as we close this service before we're dismissed.

In raising your hand, you're saying, Skip, here's my hand up. Pray for me. I need to do this. I'm going to do it now. God bless you, right on the aisle and you, sir, right on the aisle in the middle. Anyone else? Let those hands go up high. It's God speaking to you, raise Him up. God bless you and you. And in the balcony, and on the side, and in the back, and in the back again to my right. And over here.

Father, we pray for those around this auditorium with those raised hands. I pray, Father, you would fill them with a sense of anticipation, excitement, joy, peace as they make Jesus the Lord and the Lamb of their life. It's in his name we pray. Amen.

Let's all stand. We're going to close with a song, and I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hands, and I saw hands go up around the auditorium, even in the balcony. We'll give you time to get down the stairs. Jesus called people publicly, and we believe it's a great celebration whenever we do it. So if you raised your hand, I'm going to ask you as we sing this to get up out of your seat and come stand right up here in the front, where I'm going to lead you in a prayer to make Jesus the Lord and your lamb who takes away your sin.

You come as we sing. If you raised your hand, you come and just stand right up here. And we'll welcome you, and we'll applaud your decision. We're going to wait just another moment. We're not going to let this linger. We're already a little bit over time. If you're in that balcony, you need to come down those steps. If you raise your hand, if you're in the back, the middle, the front. If you didn't raise your hand but you know God is speaking to you, this is something you need to do. You come and join those who have already come and say yes to Him.

You know, Jesus will never force Himself on you. He works by invitation. He says I stand at the door and I knock, if you will open the door, I will come in. Will you open the door of your life, your heart. He's given you the power, you the control over it. You have choice, you have volition. So say yes to Him and you'll discover how much He loves you. Beautiful. Come right on up this way.

All right. Now those of you who have come forward, I'm glad you did. I hope you don't feel on the spot right now. I just want you to feel and know that you're surrounded by people who love you and are excited that you are making this all important, most important, decision of your life. So I'm going to lead you in a prayer publicly. I'm going to say these words out loud. I'm going to ask you to say them out loud from your heart as you give your heart to the Lord. Let's pray. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I know that I am a sinner. And I'm sorry for my sin. I believe that Jesus died on a cross, that He shed his blood for me, and that He rose from the dead for me. I turn from my sin. I leave it behind me. And I turn to Jesus as my Lamb, as my Savior, as my Lord. It's in His name I pray. Amen.

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