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Weekly Bible Study
“The apostle John introduces John the Baptist”
by Hugh Davidson   
August 19th, 2007

In John 1:14-28 we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, this was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Many years ago I worked for Eaton’s in downtown Toronto and my job involved moving stock from one series of warehouses to the various store departments in the core of the downtown area. The strange part of the job was, all of the work took place in the underground of the city. And the customer who bought the goods never saw someone like me who delivered everything to the store.

As a matter of fact, if you were a tourist in Toronto you would never realize it, but under the city is another city. There are all kinds of tunnels that run from warehouses to the various stores through underground tunnels and besides these tunnels there are several others kinds of things that take place underground. There are the subways to carry people to and from the core as well as the maintenance lines that support them. And then there are a large number of tunnels that support the phone lines, the water system and the sewage network. If you were aware of how much was taking place under the ground, you couldn’t help but think there wasn’t too much ground underground. And yet, when we think of the city the one thing that comes to mind is the skyline. You see, we tend to focus on the surface.

And the same is true of the scripture and in this passage the apostle John says, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” and what he was saying was that Jesus or the word which is his way of saying ‘the expression of God’ lived right here where we live now. Can you imagine that? He’s saying, the very God of the universe lived and experienced all the good and bad things of life just like those who lived here both then and now. This tells us, that Jesus experienced every problem and every pressure that you or I will ever experience and because He has, He can understand all our problems because not only can He see them through our eyes but He also experienced them as well.

And then John adds, “that He was full of grace and truth.” And listen very carefully, it is by grace that we are saved, and it is by truth that we are set free. John MacArthur said, “True grace, according to Scripture, teaches us “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” In other words, grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; it supplies power to live in the Spirit.

Now, as we come to this portion of scripture we see John the Baptist’s role in the life of Jesus. All the other writers seem to gloss over him but the apostle John takes the time to allow John the Baptist to give his testimony about the person and ministry of Jesus. And when you think about it, John the Baptist was the second most important person in the New Testament after Jesus. Listen to what Jesus had to say about him in Luke 7:24-28, “And when the messengers of John were departed, He (Jesus) began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Jesus asked them, why were you all going out to listen to John? What do you think he was, a reed shaken by the wind because no one goes all the way out there to see nothing or was he someone dressed in fancy clothes? These guys hang around the palace not out in the desert. But who was he? He was a prophet and more than a prophet because John the Baptist’s job was to introduce Jesus to the world.

And I think he’s telling us that we all need to look very carefully at the people in the Bible because none of them are there just to tell us a religious story but they’re there because God used them to illustrate and demonstrate what happened in Jesus’ life and they’re also there to help us to understand the truth of the word of God.

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