- This is John the Baptist
- This witness was appointed, not for the sake of Christ, but “for our sake” (Calvin)
- The authority of his teaching is noted as coming from God.
1:7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
- Here’s the mission statement of John the Baptist.
- His role is subordinate to that of Christ.
1:8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
- Clarification about the nature and role of exactly who John was.
1:9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
- John will quickly go from talking in the future tense, to talking in the past tense.
1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
- The same “word” from verse one, is the equivalent as the “light” from the past few verses.
1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
- In the near east, and especially in Palestine and among the Jewish people, hospitality was a virtue. It was a hallmark of their holy community. But, as we well know, the horrific truth was even worse than a mere lack of hospitality.
- God is not a Universalist, for we know that not all men come to salvation; not all men are saved. But rather that He does not discriminate. In Acts 10:34-35 Peter explains that, “truly I understand that God shows no partiality.”
- This isn’t “replacement theology” it was His plan all along to expand His kingdom to all men. (Is. 42:6; 49:6, Jer. 31:31-34, to name a few).
- God is not reacting to what men did; salvation of the Gentiles is not “plan b.” For God says of all men (not just Israelites) who believe in Him that He had predestined them from the foundation of the world (1Peter 1:20, Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:5,11 to name a few).
1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
- Despite what we learn about in verse 11, He still offered up this promise of salvation.
- He didn’t just come and offer salvation, He did much more by extending the ultimate when He says, ‘if you believe in me, and receive me, then I will ADOPT you into my family.’
- You see, we all think we want justice, but what we really need is mercy. Why? Because we are all guilty of the nails and thorns that pierced Christ. We are all murderers, adulterers, slanderers, thieves, and idolaters etc. Yet God, in His rich mercy, has saved us from His Justice and wrath – the wrath we deserve.
1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
- “How in the world am I going to be adopted by God?” In John 3:6 Jesus was having with Nicodemus and explained, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
- When someone is “born again” it is the Spirit of God who is doing the work.
- In the adoption process, who initiates the process? The parents.
- When we realize our sin and our offense against God, and then see that He is offering us a place in His family, the Spirit helps us realize how wonderful this is, and enables us to make that choice to come with our new adopted Father.
- Can we have confidence in His love and His care for us? YES! I personally love to imagine the heart of God and His mind saying, “Despite your sin PJ, I’m going to save you. And PJ, I want you to be a part of my family too and to live with me forever in my kingdom!” The promises and consequences of this reality are significant, and will continue to be unraveled in the chapters to follow.
- I think one of the great verses that reminds us of God’s initiative in salvation, as well as his great love for us is 1 John 4:19 which says, “we love because He first loved us.”
How do we teach this to our children?
EXAMPLE: Today we learned about how John the Baptist came before Jesus and was telling everyone who would listen to him about Jesus and how He was coming soon. He told people to repent of their sins and prepare to listen to what Jesus had to say. But not everyone wanted to listen or confess their sin. We also learned about how everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God and receives Him into their lives gets to become children of God forever. We learned that we become God’s children when God softens our hearts to believe in Jesus and repent of our sins, and that we can’t do those things unless God works in our heart first to prepare us to receive Him – just as John the Baptist prepared the people of Israel for what Jesus had to say. Some people listened to John, and others didn’t. We are also supposed to listen to what Jesus says in His Word, the Bible. Unfortunately just as people did not want to listen to John the Baptist, people today still don’t want to listen to what God has to say in the Bible about His Son Jesus. Why do you think people do this? (People do this because they love to sin more than they love God.) What happens to people who don’t listen and obey what God has to say about His Son Jesus? (The punishment for sin is death, and being separated from God forever after we die.) We need to listen to what God has said in the Bible, confess to God that we sin and are sinners, believe that Jesus came to die for our sins and has forgiven them. Jesus is the only way to heaven and is the Son of God. Doing these things makes our hearts right, pleases God, and gives us the right to be with Him forever in heaven.