Today’s passage: John 1:19-50.
Last week, we started a new series in John’s gospel, with the aim of getting to know Jesus better and better. John wrote his gospel so that we might continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah – the Son of God. He wanted to introduce – or perhaps re-introduce us to Jesus our Lord and Rescuer.
The synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, have a lot of similarities. They build on each other, and probably share some of the same sources for their information about Jesus. They do, however, each bring their own flavour to their retelling of God’s story. Mark is short and full of action – he’s constantly moving us forward, “and then, and then, and then!” Matthew emphasises Jesus’ fulfilling the Old Testament. Luke deliberately sets out to give us an orderly account of everything that happened.
But when you read John, you get the feeling that this is written by someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about it all, and how it all works together and makes sense. John’s gospel is deep. John is known as the disciple who loved Jesus – and it shows. John wants us to love Jesus. He wants us to think deeply, and to put our trust in Jesus our Lord. By the end of the gospel, John wants us to be saying, “Yes. Yes. Jesus is the Son of God. Yes, He is the One in whom I trust. Yes, I want Jesus. I believe He is the Son of God.”
After John summarises the story of Jesus for us in John 1:1-18, he introduces us to John the Baptist. John the Baptist was famous for calling people to turn away from their sins, and back to God. He baptised people in water – as a symbol of their washing off their old way of life; of having a fresh start. People thought that John the Baptist might be someone important – perhaps even the Rescuer of Israel. But John would have none of that. His job was to get people ready for the coming of God’s Chosen One.
Like John the Apostle, John the Baptist was all about getting people to say “Yes! Jesus is the Christ; Jesus is the Rescuer!”
And so John’s gospel starts with someone saying exactly that. He tells us of John the Baptist testifying for all to hear that Jesus is God’s Chosen One! He tells us of John calling Jesus the Lamb of God, and of how John said that Jesus would baptise with the Spirit.
Why did John say what he said?
What was it that convinced him?
And why does John the gospel writer tell us all of this?
And what would both John the Baptist and John the Apostle have us do with it all?