Can I get a witness?! (John 5)

I’m still amazed at how much I’m learning by doing these blogs.  I’ve traveled the landscape of His word many times, yet I’ve dashed right past so many wonderful views.  Views that reach into my heart, my mind, my soul; views that cry the Name of the One who loves me, the name of the one on whom I call.   How can one miss so much testimony?

How can one not hear the overpowering voices of the witnesses?

I don’t know how… but I know its possible.  Both my own life and the Scriptures guarantee to me that it’s possible.  From verse 31 on to the end of the chapter, John 5 tells us about witnesses for Jesus.  Not just one witness, and none of them small or insignificant…

Jesus- He testified about Himself (though He states that this is not His only testimony).  If a man does not state the truth about himself, it may be hard for another to understand who the man is.

John- The people were willing to listen to John, and he was a man like them.  Jesus was a man like them too, but His testimony as a man would not be valid by itself.  Jesus uses this lesser (only a man’s) testimony of John to help convince the people.  He uses one of their own, a man and a kin, to reach them.

Jesus’ Works- One can look to the things that Jesus did (which were all given to Him to do) to see the truth of who He is.  And He did these works in a manner that greatly benefited the people. The works declared that the Father sent Jesus.

The Father- Jesus was declared to all by the Father Himself.  People didn’t hear because they didn’t embrace the Father’s Word as they ought to have, but He was declared to them by the Father none the less.  Jesus calls to the authority that they claim to submit to.

Scripture- The Old Testament (and now also the New) testifies about Jesus.  The words told that life is in Christ, and the words were the hope of the people.

All around them the greatest of witnesses poured fourth speech.  The rocks would have cried out too had none of people heard these witnesses. 

The voices are overwhelming.  And each one has it’s own unique way of reaching people. 

Jesus, John, Jesus’ Works, The Father and the Scriptures all cry out who Jesus is.  If we listen, then we can hear the Holy One they cry out about… we hear Him in our humanity, and in our desire for good works in the world.  We hear Him from He whom we ought to submit to, and we hear Him in that which the people of God hope will bring them salvation.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

He who has eyes to see, let him see…

 

Follow Him (John 1)

So today as I was reading on in John 1 I was thinking still about what it must have been like for John the Baptist to know he was spoken of exclusively in a prophecy from Isaiah.  I can’t fully imagine what life would be like if I was in his spot.

It must have been at least a little bit of a struggle not to become proud.  I mean, that’s no small honor John was given.  When I look at the text here in John 1 it looks like he was gaining quite a following.  So many people were coming to him to be baptised.  He even had his own disciples!  Add to that having the hypocritical religious leaders of the Jews snooping around, and it would be hard for me not to think more highly of myself then I ought to.

Well it seems like John did a pretty good job of keeping his ego in check.  When people wondered if he was the Messiah, he quickly responded with humility. 

And we see something special from John in 1:35-36.  These disciples of his, these followers, were obviously supporting John in his work.  And with all the Jews around there, John certainly had his work cut out for him.  Two of them were down by the water with him as he was baptising the people.  John had already declared that Jesus was the Messiah.  He fulfilled a major part of his task, though much work was left to be done.  And Jesus, he didn’t make any indication to John that He needed any help.  So I imagine if I was John I’d still be wanting all the help I could get.

But I’m not John.  And instead of seeing John as a man scared to lose his disciples, we see John as a man eager to give God the glory.  When Jesus comes walking by the water again, he tells his disciples “Hey look, that’s Him!  That’s the Lamb of God!”  And with the way these two disciples so quickly turn and follow Jesus, it’s clear that John had lifted Christ up properly.  We see no questions from John’s disciples, and we don’t see John dishing out advice to them like it’s his kids leaving home for good.  They just go.  And John just watches…

Christ has called all Christians to do likewise.  If you are a Christian, and not all who claim to be are, you must remember that you have given your life to Him.  You have committed putting yourself on a cross, and going out into the world with the purpose of bringing the world to Him. 

Looking back at my life, I’m saddened to see how often I’ve failed to follow the example John set.  Instead of pointing to God, I have often pointed to myself.  I sometimes even start with the intentions of pointing to Christ, but instead I get to focused on how good of a person I am and how good of a Christian I am.  If I saw the truth of it, I would know that I’m not as good as I think.

Is this true for you?  Do you get so worried about what people think of you that you forget your mission?  Your mission, not to simply look good, but to declare with your actions that God is good?  If so, read over the accounts of John the baptist and ask God for understanding.  Look at how John always seemed to take the focus off of himself and shift it towards Christ.  You will find encouragement and insight on how to do the same.  If God has called you to a work, believe He will provide what is needed for that work!

And your work is to point to Him.

It’s YOU!

Continuing on in John 1…

So imagine you are born as a Jew into the world around 3AD, and as you grow up you are taught the truth of Judaism.  You embrace Judaism, and Jehovah God.  And as you grow up you hear your family talking; they speak of the Messiah being already born, and of salvation for the Jews finally being at hand.

Now imagine what it would have been like to read Isaiah 40:1-2:

“Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God. 
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.”

Imagine you’re trying to work through all that, not knowing what we in the 21st century know about Jesus and His blood. The passage is talking about something big, about a change.  God Himself is going do something amazing for His people.

Then you read the next three verses:

“A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
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 mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” “

Wouldn’t you be eager to hear this voice?  Wouldn’t you want to find the one calling out?  Now imagine, if you can, that you are told that you are to be that voice!  And it’s not just some dude coming up to you and saying “Hey, what if…”  You know without a shadow of a doubt that this passage is speaking specifically, directly, and exclusively about you.  You! 

There’s a prophecy about you in the Holy Writ.  People have been reading this for hundreds of years and wondering who it would be.  When it would be.  How it would happen…  Well, now you must show them.

That’s a lot to take in for one sitting.

And then imagine that you continue in your walk with God, learning more about His word.  You have to now view Scripture knowing that you are a part of it in a way that’s different.  Your free will choices will prove the prophecy true, and you know that somehow it will not be any other way.  You read on about the Messiah, and now you must think about your direct involvement with Him here on earth.  For you are the one who is to reveal Him to Israel.

You are John the Baptist, the voice in the desert.

What a life directing event!  What a mind-altering realization! 

What a burden…

What an honor!!

So John followed what the Scripture said he would do.  He revealed the Christ, who by the way happened to be a man he was related to.  It’s hard for me to put myself in John’s position.  The man from the prophecy in Isaiah 40.  The man who would show the world who the Messiah was.

I don’t know how exactly how John found out this passage was about Him.  But one didn’t just go around Jerusalem claiming to be the voice in Isaiah 40.  One didn’t casually go around declaring who the Messiah was.  And we see the humility John displays when they asked who he was; he said he’s not even worthy of loosing a sandal strap.  This wasn’t a man who had any reason to doubt the fact, or a proud man looking to pull one over on people.  Somehow John knew for sure that he was the one the Scripture spoke about.

Can you imagine?