15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
*When was the last time we were so excited about Jesus that we shouted to the crowd or even quietly witnessed to a friend?
*Would Jesus be able to redeem us if he was just man? Because existed always, He is God and not just man. Our salvation rests not in a man like us but in a God who became like us in order to redeem us from our sins.
*Anybody remember what Jesus said about John the Baptist?
"I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!
*What made John the Baptist so great? His humility
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
*What does Jesus have in abundance? love
*Here is a quote: Love is the way I walk in gratitude – relate this quote to verse 16
17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.
*Consider the law, do you see love in the law? Love for God, love for others
*But better than the law is Jesus, explain why Jesus is a reflection of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness?
18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
*Consider Jesus and his ministry, how does Jesus reveal God to us?
*What makes Jesus so unique?
19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?”
20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” “No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.”
*Why did they ask if John the Baptist was Elijah?
Read Malachi 4:5-6
5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
*How is John the Baptist like Elijah? Elijah came before Elisha, Elisha exceeded Elijah’s ministry. Elijah lived simple like John the Baptist. Elijah called people to repent like John the Baptist. Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah, Herod’s wife wanted to kill John the Baptist.
Read John 1:22-23
22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the LORD ’s coming!’”
*Do you think the Pharisees knew this prophecy?
Read John 1:24-25
24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
*What right did he have to baptize? God told him to
*Did Jews practice baptism? In the book of Leviticus, God instructs Jews to cleanse themselves from ritual impurities, contracted through such acts as touching a corpse or a leper. Washing primarily fulfilled the legal requirements of ritual purity so that Jews could sacrifice at the Temple. Later, as "God-fearers" or "righteous" Gentiles expressed their desire to convert to Judaism, priests broadened the rite’s meaning, and along with circumcision, performed baptism as a sign of the covenant given to Abraham.
*How is the Jewish practice of ritual washing similar to John the Baptist baptism? Sin makes us dirty, we need to be clean and repent to come to our Lord to worship him.
26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”
28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.
*Did John answer their question?
John’s answer shows his humility, he pointed it all back to Christ.
*How would you like to be called to a ministry like John the Baptist’s? Are we all called to this ministry?
*Are you amazed at the Pharisee’s response? They knew the prophecy, they should have been first in line to repent and accept Jesus.
*Are Christians sometimes like the Pharisee’s? Do we sometimes not repent? Do we sometimes ignore seeing God in people?