Black Baptism, painted by Charles Carol Coleman
English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
This is our Scripture passage for today. It sort of stumped me at first. So going back to look at the John's 3rd Gospel Chapter I read:
22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).
25 Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.And upon reading it in context - I realized we are very fortunate today to have the opportunity to read John the Baptist's thoughts on humanity, the Holy Spirit and the affects and effects of holiness on us. All this insight given to us at the end of years - John the Baptist's contemplations.
I feel I understand John the Baptist so much more when we look at him with the details God gives us about John.
John leaped with joy as a baby in his mother's womb at Jesus' mother's greeting. Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God as His messenger tells us about John the Baptist:
"you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
So what pattern are we seeing develop here:
John understands the Way, the Truth and the Life are not the vast highways humans travel in their day-to-day existence. John has spent some considerable time in what Jesus called "lonely places" to pray. God has given John the Baptist the ability to understand, communicate and draw people into their own wilderness seeking. John draws people away from the grandeur of the Temple, into getting dusty, waiting in line (upon the Lord), and anticipation of redemption. Redemption drawing a crowd? This must be Elijah!!!
What does John's insight tell us - deliberate choice. John says it is the choices we make that help us discover if God is true. In John the Baptist's famous quotes saying twice he didn't know Jesus, John the Baptist is telling us a). he wasn't born with insight he knew of and was aware of. b). this is not a nepotism job where John the Baptist accepted Jesus as Savior without years of personal growth.
Our Redemption Baptizer is also telling us - God puts people in our lives preparing us and others to know God. God says through John the Baptist - God's efforts will largely go unheard and unheeded. We are not waiting upon the pat on the back for our lives and service for the LORD.
God does not give up on mankind. Why should we? 1. Deliberate choice to find out if God is real. Not the opinions of culture or others. 2. Time spent in quietness to think and pray. 3. Reading the Scripture for yourself. And thinking. 4. An attitude of gratitude to notice..... 5. Seeing the things of God unfold as true. God speaking to you of your life and your choices. Leaning on Him in love. Learning every part of Scripture has meaning for you, each day.
46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
John 1:10-16 10
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 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.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (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.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Come to His Banquet. You are invited.