John 1:29-34

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 13, 2009

Financial Report

The Upcoming Baptism


The Gospel of John was written by an uneducated Jewish fisherman who had become one of the apostles Jesus Christ.

He never refers to himself by name in this gospel.  When you see the name “John”, it will be talking about John the Baptist.  John only refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”.

Why did John write his gospel?

1. He’s going to clear a few things up.

It’s been a good 20-30 years since the other gospels were written.  He’s going to fill in some of the blanks left by the other gospels.

2. He’s going to correct the Gnostic heresies.

Today, the heresy of Gnosticism has once again raised its ugly head.  Whether it’s in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code or a university classroom, people are hearing about the “secret” (and incorrect) writings of the Gnostics.

3.  He wants people to believe.

John wants his readers to understand just who Jesus is and believe in Him.
This is a great book to recommend to your friends who are looking for God.

:29-34 The Lamb of God

:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

:29 the next day – the day after John had been talking with the religious leaders and the Pharisees about who he, John, was (John 1:19-28).

Remember that John isn’t going to take the time to record everything that the other gospels have documented.

At this point in John’s account, Jesus had already spent His forty days being tempted in wilderness, and He has already been baptized by John.

One of Jesus’ prophetic roles is that of a high priest.  It is interesting to note that before priests were ordained for their ministry, they needed to be washed in water (Lev. 8:6).

Jesus has already been baptized by John the Baptist.  Matthew recorded:

(Mat 3:16-17 NKJV)  When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. {17} And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The reason John didn’t point out Jesus the day before to the religious leaders was because Jesus wasn’t with John when these fellows were there.  Now that Jesus passes by, John points Him out to the crowd.

:29 The Lamb of God – The entire Old Testament sets up a system for us to take care of our sins.  The various sacrifices all point to the truth that an animal can pay for your sins.

Lambs are a common animal used in the various sacrifices.

The most important lamb was the one involved in the Passover.

The original Passover was the final plague on the nation of Egypt, designed to make the Egyptians release their Jewish slaves and let them go free.
In the plague, the firstborn of every house would be killed by the Angel of Death, unless that house was marked with lamb’s blood on the doorway of the house.  The people were told about this lamb:
(Exo 12:5 NKJV)  'Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
If the family house had lamb’s blood on the doorposts, the Angel of Death would “pass over” that house.
Every year the Jews celebrate the Passover with a special symbolic meal, reminding them of that night.
It’s sort of like America taking time to remember what happened on 9/11.
For Israel, it was that one night that solidified them as a nation.  It was that one night that brought them out of slavery in Egypt and eventually into their own Promised Land.
It would also leave an indelible picture in the minds of the nation, a prophetic picture that would one day be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Paul wrote,

 (1 Cor 5:7 NKJV)  …For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Jesus was God’s perfect sacrifice.
Jesus died to spill His blood, not on the doorposts of our house, but the doorposts of our hearts.
When we believe in Jesus, God sees the blood of His Son Jesus on our lives, and we too are spared the judgment of God.
It would be no coincidence that Jesus Christ was crucified on the Passover.
Our Christian practice of “communion” is an extension of the Passover meal, meant to remind us of what took place on the cross.
It was during the Jewish Passover meal that Jesus gave us the instructions for communion, turning the Jewish Passover meal into something to remind us of the fulfillment of the Passover, the cross of Christ.
We think of this meal that Jesus had with His disciples as the “Last Supper”, but it was also a Passover meal, as well as the instruction for us about communion.
You can read about this Last Supper in Mat. 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.  Historically, the first person to actually record it in writing was the apostle
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:

(1 Cor 11:23-25 NKJV)  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; {24} and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." {25} In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

Note:  John didn’t say, “Behold the Messiah who is going to beat up the Romans”.

The expectation of many of the Jews in Jesus' day was for the Messiah to be some kind of earthly king who would deliver Israel from the tyranny of Rome.
Jesus didn’t save us from the Romans.  He came to save us from our sins.
Many people today have lots of ideas of what Jesus was all about.
Some feel that Jesus was a good man who taught us a good way to live.

That's only partly true.  He did teach us a lot.  He was good.

I hear the following was hand-written graffiti on a seminary bathroom wall:

“And Jesus spake unto Peter saying ‘Who do men say that I am?’ And Peter answered, ‘Thou art, according to Paul Tillich, the very ground of our being. Thou art Emmanuel Kant’s deontological categorical imperative. Thou art the man of the Eschaton, the ultimately determinative one!’ And Jesus looked at Peter and saith, “What?”

Stephen M. Crotts, Sermons for Sundays after Pentecost, CSS Publishing

It’s really not complicated.  Jesus' main purpose in life was to take away sin.
In the book of Hebrews, we read that all the rituals and sacrifices in the Old Testament, as important as they were, didn’t actually have the ability to take away men’s sins. 

(Heb 10:4 NKJV)  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Instead, they only were pictures, looking forward to the day that God would once and for all pay for our sins.

(Heb 10:12 NLT)  But our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. …

takes awayairo – to raise up; to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up; to remove

What I found interesting was that this is the word most often used to describe Jesus rising from the dead.  The same word to describe how He took upon Himself our sins and carried them away.

:30 "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'

John refers to his statement back in 1:27 when He talked about Jesus being eternal.

Even though Jesus would be younger than him, would start His ministry after John, and yet Jesus was actually older and more important than John.  This is because Jesus is the Word, God who has always existed.

(John 1:27 NKJV)  "It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose."

:31 "I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."

Jesus and John the Baptist were relatives (Luke 1:36).  Does this mean that John didn’t know his own relative?

It’s possible.  We have a record of their mothers spending time together (Luke 1:41) while they were both pregnant, but we don’t know if they ever spent time together after that.

John the Baptist grew up in the southern region of Judea.  Jesus grew up in the northern region of Galilee.

It’s possible that John simply didn’t know that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.  It wasn’t until the baptism of Jesus that John knew for sure that Jesus was the Christ.

It sounds as if God had spoken to John (John 1:33) that it would be through this ministry of baptizing that it would become evident who the Messiah was.

In other words, John wasn’t just to help turn the nation toward God and get ready for the Messiah, but John’s ministry would also be the one to identify the Messiah and point out to the nation who the Messiah was.  Somehow, this identification was supposed to happen while John was baptizing people.

Again, John the apostle filling in some of the blanks left by the other gospel writers.

:32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

John does not record the actual baptism of Jesus, this was something already well recorded in the other gospels (Mat. 3, Mar. 1, Luke 3).

The actual baptism of Jesus had already taken place by this time in John’s gospel.

There was some kind of manifestation of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus when He was baptized:

(Luke 3:22 NKJV)  And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."

Note:  It doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit actually was a dove, but only that the descending of the Holy Spirit on Jesus was in a way that was dove-like.

In contrast, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came on the believers, it looked kind of like tongues of fire.

Lots of businesses use a “logo” to help remind you of who they are.  Can you identify who these logos represent?  Nike, Pepsi, Angels, Calvary Chapel.

As a church, we like to use the “dove” logo because we hope that we can be a church that is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.

What John the apostle tells us is that this particular event was one that God used to tell John the Baptist who Jesus was.

:33 "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.'

:33 He who sent me – John the Baptist is talking about how God sent him to baptize.

baptizebaptizo – to dip repeatedly, to immerse

It comes from the word bapto, which means “to dip”, but it’s a little different.

The difference between the two is found in an ancient Greek recipe for pickles:

1.  Take your cucumber and “dip” (bapto) it into boiling water.
2.  Make a vinegar solution and “immerse” (baptizo) the cucumbers.  After about eight weeks the cucumbers have been changed to pickles.
The first “dip” only washes.  The second “immersion” changes the cucumber.

Jesus is the one who “baptizes” (baptizo) us in the Holy Spirit.

He wants to immerse us in the Holy Spirit, and in a way that is going to produce a change in our lives.

:33 said to me – Not only had God told John that He would point out the Messiah during the baptisms, but when it happened, God actually spoke up.

(Mat 3:17 NKJV)  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

baptize … water … Holy Spirit – There are several types of baptism

John’s baptism

John called his baptism a baptism of repentance (Mat. 3:11), showing others you were turning from your sins.
(Mat 3:11 NKJV)  "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance…
When John baptized people, it meant that they were choosing to turn from their sins.
John’s baptism was a picture of cleansing, like taking a bath.
He asked people to be baptized to show that they were choosing to turn away from their sins (repentance).
John’s baptism was a public display.
It wasn’t done secretly in a back room, but out in the open in front of the crowds of people.

Christian baptism

Christian baptism takes up where John’s left off. 
It is a demonstration of repentance (Acts 2:38)
It is a picture of cleansing, your sins being washed away (1Pet. 3:21)
It is a public display of faith (Mat. 10:32-33)
Baptism doesn’t save you.  Believing in Jesus saves you.  We get baptized out of obedience to Jesus.
If you haven’t been baptized as a believer, you have a chance next week.
But there’s a bit more to Christian baptism - It also is connected to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
(Rom 6:4 NKJV)  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Being lowered into the water is a picture of how we too have “died with Christ”.  Being raised out of the water is a picture of how we too have been “raised with Christ”.

Holy Spirit baptism

This would be the event experienced on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) by the early church.  It is referred to in several different ways in the New Testament:  being filled with the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit coming upon you.  Jesus said,
(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
John’s baptism was about being immersed in water.
Jesus’ baptism is about being immersed in the Holy Spirit.
This is something that Jesus wants for all of His followers.
Some confuse this by saying that you have to speak in tongues or act strange.
Jesus said you would receive “power”, not necessarily tongues.  He gives us the power to live for Him.
How do you receive the power of the Holy Spirit?
(John 7:37-39 NKJV)  On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. {38} "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." {39} But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

You must be thirsty.  You must come to Jesus.  You must trust.

How do you receive this?  You can pray at home.  You can ask for others to pray for you.  But you simply must trust Him.

:34 "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."

:34 testifiedmartureo – to be a witness, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something

It's like giving testimony before a judge in court. You tell what you know.

John has already used this word six times (1:7,8,15,19,32,34).  He will use this word (and forms of it) 45 times in the gospel.

For the early church, their “witness” often led to their being put to death.  We get the word “martyr” from this word.  Someone willing to die for what they say is true.

This is a pretty important issue in the gospel of John.


What is your testimony?

What do you tell others concerning Jesus?
What have you seen and heard about Jesus?
Polycarp (69-155), was one of the disciples of the apostle John.  He was put on trial because of his faith in Christ.  When the Roman proconsul told him to deny his faith, Polycarp answered, “For 86 years I have served Him, and He has never wronged me.  How can I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?”
The proconsul then threatened to cast him in with the wild beasts, but Polycarp answered, “Call them!”  He was then warned that he might be burned at the stake.  Even that failed to move him.  He responded, “You threaten me with fire which burns for only a moment, but you are ignorant of the fire of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly.”
These are Polycarp’s final words:  O Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus Christ!  I bless Thee that Thou has counted me worthy of this day, and of this hour, to receive my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ.”   He said this before being burned at the stake.
For some of us, we might say the right words about Jesus, but our lives tend to keep people from hearing what we say.
A pastor writes, “Not long after we moved [into our first house in California], my wife, Janie, and I picked up on the tension between a couple of neighbors. One was a very outspoken churchgoer, while the other was an unbeliever. I knew I was in the hot seat when the unchurched man struck up a conversation with me as we were both working in our yards. “Say, Steve, aren’t you a pastor?” It seems implicit in the public’s understanding that pastors exist to serve as referees in times of conflict, so I reluctantly listened as this troubled man opened up about the neighbor he’d never understood. He unfolded a long history of numerous conflicts over small issues. … Then he looked up and sighed, “But the most recent problem takes the cake. We received a letter from his attorney threatening to sue us if we don’t trim a tree that borders his yard. It seems strange he didn’t just come over and ask me to take care of the tree before he went to his attorney.” … With a little wink this streetwise unchurched man continued, “You know, I was getting ready to trim that tree, but now there’s no way I’m going to do anything until he forces me. I will gladly go to court just so I can have a story to tell about being sued by Christians over an orange tree.” He summarized his thoughts with a haunting observation: “I guess sometimes Christians love us—they just don’t like us.”

Steve Sjogren, Changing the World Through Kindness (Regal, 2005), pp. 103-104

What is your testimony?
What do you say?  What does your life say? John the apostle seems to think the answer is a pretty important one.

(John 20:31 NKJV)  but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

God wants you to believe.  God wants others to believe through you.