John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1:15, NKJV)
Jesus bore witness to the truth that He is the light of the world, and His testimony of Himself was true (John 8:12-13). Even so, additional testimony was given to convince people that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten of the Father (John 5:31-35). The testimony of John corroborated the incarnation and glory of Jesus as the only begotten of the Father, whose Light brought life, grace and truth to the world (John 1:6-9, 14). John ranks Jesus higher than himself (he is “preferred before me”) because He (the Word, the only begotten Son of God) existed before John and created John (John 1:1-3). The Lord’s forerunner bore testimony that Jesus is eternal God who became flesh. As it is testified, “He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). To think of Jesus as merely a good moral teacher misses the mark. His claim, as well as John’s testimony, was that He is God. If He is not, then He is not good, and He is not moral. If He is God, then He is the source of grace and truth who must be honored above all. The evidence is overwhelming – Jesus is Immanuel (“God with us”).
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:6–9, NKJV)
John the baptizer was the Messiah’s predicted messenger, the forerunner who testified Jesus to be the Lamb of God and the Son of God (John 1:29-34; Malachi 3:1; Mark 1:1-4). John’s work prepared the people to believe in Jesus as the Christ (Luke 3:3-6). John testified that he had been sent before the Christ, the One who came from heaven and who is “above all” (John 3:28, 31). John further testified that Jesus spoke the words of God that bring life to all who believe in Him (John 3:34-36). As John called sinners to repent and to believe on the One who came after Him—Jesus, he drew attention to the Light that the Word brought into the world. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16). Allow the Light that Jesus brought into the world to shine in your heart and life. Believe in Him and let His light of truth guide your feet in the way of peace (Luke 1:79).
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11–12, NKJV)
John explained the Messiah’s work as he prepared the way before Him (Matthew 3:3). In a scathing condemnation of the self-righteous hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, John warned them that Christ would execute judgment against sinners. They needed true repentance to flee the approaching wrath, not reliance on their physical heritage (Matthew 3:7-10). The Christ would bring a baptism of fire upon sinners. This fire burns the “trees” that bear evil fruit (Matthew 3:10). It is the “unquenchable fire” of Matthew 3:12, that overwhelms the wicked. Jesus promised, and baptized His apostles with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, 8. 2:1-4). He has promised an overwhelming, eternal destruction upon the wicked (Mark 9:43-48). Judgment Day is real, and eternity is forever. Therefore, “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28; Hebrews 9:27). You do not want to experience the Lord’s baptism of fire!
The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16, NKJV)
A dramatic shift occurred when John, the forerunner of Messiah, came on the scene. “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mk. 1:4). John proclaimed the good news of an approaching kingdom, and souls began pressing into it as they listened, learned, and “were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mk. 1:5). When Jesus began His work on earth, He preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1:14-15). Jesus looked beyond the Law of Moses to the redemptive gospel of God. It is incredible to witness deceived preachers deceiving Christians into thinking that Jesus came teaching the law of Moses to the Jewish people. In today’s passage, Jesus affirms that He was not teaching Moses; He was teaching people to believe in the kingdom of God that He and His gospel brought and opened up to the whole world (Matt. 16:19, 28). Any doctrine that demands viewing Jesus as a rabbi who taught the Law of Moses instead of the gospel of the Messiah’s kingdom is false, and must be refused as the error it is.
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11–12, NKJV)
John, a witness of the light who came into the world, identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jno. 1:6-8, 29). In the heavenly vision of another John, the Lamb who was slain is alive and executing the redemption purposes of God (Rev. 5:4-10). For His extraordinary service, the Son of God is extolled by the heavenly host as worthy to receive every divine blessing, power and recognition of praise and honor. This glorious scene of worship and adoration of the Son calls our attention to the reverent worship we give Him. Worship must be focused on God, not on ourselves. In true worship we join these heavenly voices to adore the Lamb and He who sits on the throne (Rev. 5:13-14).
67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people,69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David” (Luke 1:67–69, NKJV)
This inspired proclamation by the father of John the baptizer aptly depicts the prophetic concepts of the Messiah which God “spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets” (Lk. 1:70). First, Messiah would visit mankind doing God’s work (v. 68). The work accomplished by Christ Jesus is the work of God Himself (Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:16-21). Second, the coming Messiah was prophetically associated with salvation (v. 69; Isa. 53:11-12). Christ Jesus is the Savior who brings mercy and the remission of sins (v. 71, 72, 77). Third, the coming Messiah would be regal, a king of the house of David (v. 69; Psa. 2:6; Lk. 1:32-33). Christ Jesus is King, and possesses all authority. He subdues His enemies and He is served by His people with reverence, holiness and righteousness (Lk. 1:74-75; Heb. 1:8-9). God’s prophets foretold of the coming Messiah. John announced His arrival (Lk. 1:76; 3:1-6). Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. He is Immanuel (God with us), who saves and who reigns today. He is our Hope and our Salvation: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-22)
What are you willing to leave to follow Jesus? Fishermen Peter and Andrew left their nets and immediately followed Jesus when He called them. James and John immediately left their work, their boat and their father to follow Jesus when He called them. In another place it says these four men “forsook all and followed Him” (Lk. 5:11). Following Jesus requires immediate, complete sacrifice. Will you sacrifice anything to follow the One who sacrificed everything for you?