Jesus the Baptist
Primary Truth Taught- Jesus is the Lamb of God and the Son of God who baptizes us with the Spirit of God
Last time we looked at John the Baptist’s I am sayings. Remember over and over he denied being anyone that the religious leaders thought he might be. He said I am not the Christ, Elijah, nor the prophet Moses. Finally, after asking and asking John did say that he was just a voice.
Remember we also looked to Isaiah 40:3 to discover that what John the Baptist was doing was actually quoting an OT passage that was about him. His point was this, when you hear the voice crying out in the wilderness and preaching that the great One is coming understand that this one whose sandals I am unworthy to untie, He is the Christ.
Understand then, the appearance of John the Baptist, the Elijah who is to come, the greatest OT prophet, one dressed in strange clothing and eating strange food, declaring a new message, and baptizing others in a way that’s never been seen before…when you see him, in a short time you will see the Messiah, the Son of God.
God is coming and we learned last week from Isaiah 40 that John’s task was to prepare the way for Yahweh, God incarnate.
So far in the prologue John 1:1-18 and in last week’s text as well we have been learning about the Person of Jesus Christ. We’ve been learning about His greatness as God’s only Son. We’ve learned that He is the Creator, the Word, the Light, the Messiah, and God’s one and only Son.
Today John the Baptist will shift from the Person of Christ to The Work of Christ. The reason is that the Person of Christ shows that He is the only possible candidate to be the Messiah. In other words, the qualifications to be the Messiah are only met in Jesus. Now, John is about to show us that the works Jesus will do also point to Him being the Messiah because these are the very things the Messiah is to be doing.
Human Need Met
John 1:29–34 (ESV)
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God
At the end of John’s Gospel he refers to all the books that could have been written that could contain the works and words of Jesus. His conclusion was that the entire earth could not contain the books. So, if there is a world full of things about Jesus then it should get our attention that the very first thing John the Baptist says about Jesus is that He is the Lamb of God. The entire OT is written with this concept in mind.
Many of you, no doubt remember the account of Abraham and the would be sacrifice of Isaac? God had taken Abraham’s past away as He called him to leave his homeland and now to see if Abraham fully trusted Him he was about to take his future as well, Isaac the son of promise, Abraham’s son, his only son.
Genesis 22:6–8 (ESV)
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
I want to offer this suggestion to you and that is that when John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the Lamb of God he answers Isaac’s age old question, where is the Lamb?!! You see for the most part that question had been ringing throughout the OT…where is the Lamb? Where is the Lamb?
Now, we don’t want to gloss over too quickly Abraham’s response to his son’s question… God will provide for himself the lamb.
Now let’s read John’s words…
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God
Literally, in the original Greek the word order is different. It should read, Behold, God’s Lamb. Behold the Lamb that God provides, Himself.
We see the Lamb of sacrifice
We also think back to the Passover in Egypt when God told Moses to have His people kill a lamb and paint its blood of their doorposts and lintels and when the death angel comes he will Passover their house and death will not enter.
Exodus 12:12–13 (ESV)
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
Where is the Lamb, father? I see the wood and the fire but where is the Lamb?
Children we must kill our small lamb in order that its blood would spare us when God comes to destroy the Land of Egypt hurry fetch the lamb! Hurry! Death is coming on all who are not covered by the blood of the Lamb, Hurry children!
Where is the Lamb?
Isaiah the Prophet understood that in order for sin to be removed and not just covered there would have to be a special lamb, One God, himself would provide…
Isaiah 53:3–7 (ESV)
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
Behold the Lamb of God…
Jesus is the Lamb of God, therefore, if sin is to be removed it must be by His sacrifice. There is no one else, no other name given to men by which we must be saved.
Revelation 14:1–3 (ESV)
14 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
We learned in our study of Revelation that the 144,000 is a number that represents all of God’s people. You and I as believers are in that great multitude because the blood of the Lamb has redeemed us.
Never in any Jew’s thinking would the Messiah take away the sins of anyone but Israel. So for John to declare that He is actually going to take other’s sins away was a groundbreaking truth. This is a truth that the Jews didn’t really care much for; after all they were God’s special people not Gentiles.
31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
John tells us that he did not personally know Jesus before he baptized Him. When he baptized Jesus and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon Jesus, then John knew Him and identified Him as the Lamb or God and the Son of God.
It’s in this passage that John explains why he was baptizing everyone. His baptism would be what God would use to reveal Jesus. It was in the context of Jesus being baptized that the Holy Spirit descended and remained on Jesus.
Here we have God giving Jesus the Holy Spirit and making Him visible for all to see, especially John. Now we understand that the Holy Spirit is normally not visible as He was in this section. The other purpose for this unusual scene was that this was God anointing Jesus with His Spirit and He remains with Jesus for the duration of His earthly ministry.
The concept of anointing is misapplied most of the time, especially today. Today people say that the pastor preached an anointed message or that so and so is anointed.
33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
There are two great works of Jesus summed up in our text today. Both of these works are consistent with each other and I will say take place at the same time. The -First, John tells us that Jesus, as the Lamb of God would take away the sins of the world. Now, we must understand that when John uses the word world here, it comes from the Greek cosmou from cosmos. We get our word cosmic from it. John has in mind that there are people from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds, all societal categories, placed all over the world who will be save by Jesus Christ. He does not mean that everyone in the world will be saved…universalism.
Salvation to the elect chosen through the entire world comes to us as a result of Jesus being the Lamb of God and fulfilling His sacrificial work towards us.
Mark 10:45 (ESV)
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
-Second, Jesus is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Notice that John declares very clearly that at Jesus’ baptism, God sent the Holy Spirit, which descended from heaven, sent by God, to anoint Jesus, marking Him as the Messiah and giving Him the Holy Spirit. He is given the Holy Spirit, in part, to give the Spirit. It’s repeated over and over that John baptizes with water but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
So, the second work of Jesus is that He baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
Both works, taking away sin and being baptized with the Holy Spirit take place when a sinner is brought faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Some theologians call this conversion. All true Christians have had their sins forgiven and have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.
There are a few key issues to remember. First is that Jesus as the Messiah is also the Son of God and He clearly declares that there is salvation in no One else. So, if you are going to stand before God in a right relationship then that only happens through the anointed Son of God. Secondly, Jesus alone gives people the Holy Spirit. When He is given to someone that person is born again. That only happens through Jesus. Thirdly, and this is based on other passages in John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit as given by Jesus gives the recipient eternal life. The Spirit of God gives life.
John 6:63 (ESV)
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
John 3:3–6 (ESV)
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Jesus receives the Holy Spirit and He gives the Holy Spirit to those He saves. The Bible calls this baptism of the Spirit. Unless the Spirit baptizes you you are not a Christian.
Why do we need the Spirit?
The Spirit brings us to life and makes us children of God. The Spirit convicts us along with our conscience of sin. The Spirit guides us into truth. The Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ.
John 16:13–15 (ESV)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
It’s important that we understand what we’re seeing in this passage. John the Baptist is physically baptizing others by the authority of God, the One who sent him. What the people saw was John taking a repenter and laying them back or forward, the Bible doesn’t say, and immersing them, literally the Greek word is baptize and we transliterate not translate that word and we get baptize. It means totally immersed in whatever or whoever is being referred to in the context. John totally dunked the subject into the water H2O right. They came up all wet and soaked. Now Jesus in much the same way floods the believer with the Holy Spirit at conversion and they we are saturated with the Spirit of God and we are different than we were.
34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Now we come to the pinnacle of John’s witness. After these words, John begins to decrease. These words blasted forth from John and the world was never the same. From this declaration disciples left John and began following King Jesus.
Jesus is the Son of God begotten of the Father full of grace and truth God of very God.
Scripture affirms that Jesus is both “the Son of Man” (Mt 12:8) and “the Son of God” (Mt 8:29). As the Son of God, Jesus had no beginning; in fact, we’ve learned that He was in the beginning with God and that all things were created through Him. However, the human person known as Jesus of Nazareth did have a beginning being born some 2000 years ago.
Once this truth about Jesus was revealed there was a rift in sinners. Some learned this truth and loved Jesus all the more others learned it and wanted Him dead.
Matthew 16:15–17 (ESV)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Now those who were not saved…
Matthew 26:63–65 (ESV)
63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.
John the Baptist is God’s faithful witness to the person and work of Jesus. John declares that Jesus is the Lamb of God who receives the Spirit of God and who also is the Son of God.
John’s disciples heard these truths and turned away from John and followed Jesus for the rest of their lives.
These truths must be believed and act on. It’s not just enough to say I believe but have you turned and follow Jesus?
The Nicene Creed, one of the most important documents in the ancient church captures these truths…
Constantine declared Christianity as the national faith
The disciples who began to follow Jesus understood Him to be the Messiah. From what we’ve read so far in John’s Gospel what things have pointed to the fact that Jesus in, in fact, the Messiah?
Declaration of Grace
In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen