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John’s Gospel Post 11: He’s here!

August 14, 2013

John 1: 19 – 28

Now it’s time to get into the action. John the Gospel blogger has set the scene, and the detail that we have had to go into underlines the importance of the background information. Maybe now we will be able to move a little more quickly?

For the moment we stay with the other John – John the Messenger. He had obviously made an impression on the religious leaders of the day. John’s gospel gives little away as to what he was up to, but he was evidently creating waves. The question the priests and Levites had for this man was “Who are you?”

Firstly John tells them who he is not:

1. He is not the Messiah

2. He is not Elijah ( a prophet come back from the dead)

3. He is not “the Prophet”

It was like a game of 20 questions and every answer was “no”. They had failed to guess from the available clues, or even it seems from John’s message itself.

So it is almost a case of “We give up. Tell us who you are”.

John doesn’t exactly give a straight answer. “I am the voice of one calling in the desert. “Make straight paths for the Lord””. No – our narrator tells us that John was quoting words from Isaiah the Prophet. He was claiming to be the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy. Something big was about to happen.

John was like a support act at a gig. The main attraction was coming on stage next. There are some roadworks needed. The paths need straightening out – because the Lord is coming!

We then learn something more of what John was doing. As well as shouting out, he was baptising. Yes this is the man we generally know as John the Baptist. John didn’t expect people just to listen to his message and go away unchanged. He wanted a response from his listeners. Baptism was an outward sign responding to his message.

Again John the Baptist is questioned. “Why do you baptise?” What made him think he should be doing this? Again his answer is not what they expect. “I am baptising with water” (“yes we can see that!”), but then the tantalising statement. “There is someone standing in this crowd. I am not worthy to tie up his shoe laces. He is the one who I said comes after me. The one I have promised – IS HERE”.

“Look around you – he’s in your midst”.

Are you looking?

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