24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?” 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. 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”—John 1:24-31 (NLT)
While Elizabeth was pregnant with John and Mary was pregnant with Jesus, Mary visited Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth’s baby leaped within her womb. Even before John was born, He already knew his purpose and recognized his Lord. John stayed faithful to that mission. He is a great example of humility and faithfulness for us. We should be aware that God had a plan for us before we were born. It is our responsibility to determine that plan and follow it faithfully and humbly. We should never presume to do anything for God that He has not called us to do. God does not see success as the world sees success. What God wants from us is obedience and faithfulness. 22 But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams—1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
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.” 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!’”—John 1:19-23 (NLT)
John the Baptist stayed faithful to His calling. He was sent to prepare the people to receive the Messiah. Because of the message he was preaching, people would ask, “Who are you?”, his answer was “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, clear the way for the Lord’s coming.” John’s boldness in standing for the truth eventually got him beheaded. The same thing is happening, on a daily basis, to our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. If we were confronted with the choice: “Deny or die!”, what would our answer be? Would it be: “I am a follower of Christ, I have come to tell you about the Lord’s return”? Or would we hang our head in shame? 32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.—Matt.10:32-34 (NLT)
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.’” 16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 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.—- John 1:15-18 (NLT)
John fully understood his mission as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. According to Isaiah, John’s purpose was to “prepare the way of the Lord”. John understood that as Jesus began His ministry that his own ministry would start to diminish. He was looking forward to that day. Jesus came to fulfill the law and redeem us from the curse of the law. He redeemed us from the curse of the law, but not from the blessings of the law. He came to make those blessings more abundant. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.—John 10:10 (NKJV)
Because His death on the cross finished (fulfilled) the law, we “have all received one gracious blessing after another”. Those that have seen Jesus have seen the Father. 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?–-John 14:9 (NLT)
Those that were alive at that time saw Him physically and we have seen Him spiritually as He is revealed to us though the Holy Spirit abiding in us.
Jesus is the ONE! He is THE ONE AND ONLY ONE that can save us from sin!!!!
It is our mission to spread the Word to a lost and dying world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.—John 1:10-14 (NLT)
All through the Old Testament God sent prophet after prophet to warn His chosen people of the disasters that were coming if they did not repent and stay obedient to His precepts and laws.Instead they rejected and killed the prophets and returned to their unfaithful ways, worshiping idols instead of the living God. 30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.” 31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started.33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?–Matt. 23:30-33 (NLT)
Now, God has implemented His plan to redeem the fallen world. He sends John the Baptist to prepare the way for His Son, Jesus. He came to this world to save the creatures that He had created. Jesus was Love and Light and completely obedient to His Father. There was no sin in Him. But His own chosen people rejected Him and sent Him to a cross. To those that did believe and receive Him, He has given the right to be called the children of God. If we remain faithful and carry out our mission, we will see Him in His full glory restored and reigning as King of Kings. Wherever we go, we are witnesses and our actions should reflect the honesty and truthfulness of our words.
1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. 6 There was a man named John who was sent by God. 7 He came to tell people the truth about the Light so that through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.8 John was not the Light, but he came to tell people the truth about the Light. 9 The true Light that gives light to all was coming into the world!—John 1:1-9 (NCV)
Before God created the world and divided time into night and day, They existed. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there as One and yet separately. Jesus was the Word and was there with God. He participated in the creation of all things and all things were made for Him. He is Life and He is Light. He came into the world as the Word made Flesh. John was sent to announce His coming and John was faithful in carrying out that mission. John was the prophet foretelling the birth of Jesus. John was looking forward to that day even though John knew that when Jesus comes, “I must decrease and He must increase”. Now, we are the prophets looking back and looking forward, we tell of the future return of Jesus. We should pray that we will be as faithful as John was in carrying out our part of the mission. It is up to each of us to carry out the plan and the purpose that God planned for each of us to do. This was decided before the beginning of the world. 10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.—Eph. 2:10 (TLB)
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
–Jude 24,25 (NKJV)
Our prayers should always contain adoration and praise for our Creator. He alone is worthy of our praise. Just as any parent wants to hear their children say “I love you”, so does our Father want to hear us say it. Take the time to sit in His presence and commune with Him. He has something to say to you, so don’t talk “to” God, talk “with” God, Speak to Him and then wait on Him to respond. Most of all, remember, not every prayer has to be a request, sometimes He wants to hear from us just because we love Him. Consider the possibility that if God answered each of our prayers immediately, He knows that He wouldn’t hear from us again until another need arose. He is our Creator, but He is also our Father. Once we have acknowledged Him as our Lord and Savior, He also wants to be our closest Friend. So, as we pour out what is in our hearts to Him, we also need to praise Him and just love on Him. He is waiting to hear from each of us.
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. 20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.—Jude 17-23 (NLT)
We live in the times Jude is describing in these verses. Everyday, we read more and more articles and hear more comments about people who either disrespect Christianity or refuse to believe in God. They are becoming much more militant in their actions each day, demanding more and more rights but at the same time wanting to limit the rights of others. They use all manner of deception and false claims that others are mistreating them. We must stand firm in our beliefs and refuse to compromise the truth that is laid out in the Scriptures. God has not changed His mind about what He knows to be sin. After all, does the Creator not know what actions will harm the creatures He so lovingly created? Which of us can say to the Creator, “hey, you made a mistake”? After all God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. We must encourage new believers to stand firm and grow in the faith. We do this with love and mercy, just as God has shown love and mercy to us. We “snatch others from the flames of judgment” by witnessing to them about Jesus. We must do this also with great love and mercy, not judging them for their sins, but showing them a different way of life. We must love the sinner and hate the sin just as God does. As we do this, we must be sure not to allow the sins to contaminate our lives.
****Bob Dylan circa 1964