Be Prepared to Give an Answer (John 1:19-28)
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This week we are going to study John 1:19-28, this passage is about John the Baptist. So, let’s read the passage, “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally, they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” John 1:19-28
John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, the Pharisees sent priests and Levites to ask John who he was. The Pharisees were the religious elites, who thought the Old Testament was about Laws and rules and focused on that instead of Who the Old Testament was about. The messengers went to Bethany, at the side of the Jordan to question John. They wanted to know if he was the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet, John told them he was not any of these and was completely honest, and gave answers freely without resentment. They then asked him who he was, instead of giving him options of who they thought he might claim to be. Because they had to tell the Pharisees who sent them his answer. John answered them I am, “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” When John said this, he was quoting from Isaiah 40:3.
This perplexed them, because they did not understand why he was baptizing, if he was neither Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet. John said he was baptizing with water, but there was one you do not know who stands among you, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. See John was telling them that he was coming to prepare the way for Christ. Who was greater than him, he was just a witness for Jesus’ coming. John’s baptizing was a sign of repentance, it was a public profession that you were changing your mind and waiting on the coming Messiah (Acts 19:4). Most of us reading this will probably know that Jesus came a little over two thousand years ago and died on a cross for our sins and rose from the grave breaking the chains of sin and death for all who believe in Him. If you do not believe in Jesus and are not sure where you would go if you were to die today, you can be sure today, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.
The last thing Jesus tells us to do is to go unto all the world and share the gospel. John was told to say that the Messiah was coming. But we are commanded to tell everyone that Jesus came to die for them. You, just like John have a calling and that is to point people to Jesus, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, if you have accepted Him, this is your calling. We do not have to leave our jobs to share the gospel, God may call us to do that, but he may also call us to live in such a way that it points our coworkers to Christ. See, John lived his life where he did not depend on anyone but God, he ate locusts and honey in the wilderness and wore camel hides for clothes. He was homeless on earth, just like Christ was, which put him in a place where he could spend all his time pointing people to Christ.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” This is what John was doing in the passage, he was giving the religious leaders an answer for who he was and what he was doing. But, these messengers were not wanting to know who he was, they were just wanting to find fault in John, so they could stop people from following the message of the Messiah. He explained that he was sent to point people to Christ. We should know what to say when someone asks who you are, why you have hope, and why you live the way you do. So, think about what you will say when you are asked, if you have not thought about your answer, you may not be able to answer in a way that you can effectively share the gospel. Always remember that when you are giving a defense or answering a question about how you live and the hope that is within you, you should do it with gentleness and respect. Also, we need to examine our lives and make sure that we are living lives that look different from the world, so we can be a light to the world around us.
So this week, know that every Christians’ calling is to share the gospel and like John, we should be the voice crying out in our workplaces, schools, everywhere we live and hang out. Remember to think about how and what you will tell people when they ask you why you have joy, or why you live the way you do. Please read the first chapter of John with us and join the conversation in the comments.
Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John