Friday, April 24, 2020
This is our final devotional before we meet for drive-in church on Sunday. Each day this week we have dug out some nuggets of truth from the first 18 verses of the Gospel of John in preparation for the Sunday sermon. There’s one more nugget to be examined, and it’s in verse 15.
John 1:15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)
The Apostle John has just revealed to us that the Word became one with humanity. God dwelt among us as one of us. Jesus is God’s glory veiled in human flesh (verse 14).
Then John adds credibility to his revelation of the nature of Jesus. He uses John the Baptist as his primary witness. John the Baptist’s testimony of his firsthand experience with Jesus is this: “I told you who Jesus is. Even though I came before Him, He is greater than I am, because He actually existed before me.”
What an incredible declaration of belief in the deity of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist, conceived in Elizabeth’s womb six months before Jesus, obviously preexisted Jesus from a human perspective. But John sees the eternal perspective, and declares that Jesus preexisted himself. There is only one possible explanation: Jesus is the eternal God.
Many of us would skip right over this verse. After all, it is in parenthesis. What value can it have? Yet here in this one sentence, we see John the Baptist boldly and loudly making a public declaration that Jesus is God.
Matthew adds even more details of what John the Baptist said.
Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize you with water for 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. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Only God is mightier than people. Only God is worthy of worship. Only God is worthy of our service. Only God can grant the presence of the Holy Spirit. Only God can declare eternal judgment on people. Yet every one of these descriptions of God is made about Jesus. At the risk of his own life, John the Baptist declared Jesus to be God in human flesh.
Why is this so important? Because it is the only way to be born again and delivered from sin and death. If God himself did not pay for the judgment of sin, then there could be no forgiveness. May we never minimize the significance of the Apostle John’s opening words, nor the witness of those who knew Jesus. Jesus is God, and He is the only solution to mankind’s sin.
We have two choices of how to respond.
- Reject Jesus – “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
- Receive Jesus – “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
Won’t you be one of those who believes and is saved?