Week 17 | Section 26, 27
Word of John the Baptist’s ministry reached Jerusalem and concerned enough of the Jews there that they sent the a cadre of priests and scholars to investigate. Was he Elijah? The Prophet? or the Messiah? Why was John baptizing folks? In humility, John replied, I am “a voice” and I my role is to “make straight the way of the Lord”. These were familiar words to such learned Jews that should have resounded as good news, but perhaps it was their self-interest for personal significance that prevented them from responding to the good news. Let those who have ears to hear, hear what the spirit has to say.
19 This is John’s1¯2 testimony, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem3¯4 to ask him, “Who are you?”¯5 20 He declared, and didn’t deny, but he declared, “I am not the Christ.”6 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”7 He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?”8 He answered, “No.” 22 They said therefore to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,9 ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24 The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize in water,10 but among you stands one whom you don’t know.11 27 He is the one12 who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.” 28 These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.13
29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold,the Lamb of God,14¯15 who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’16 31 I didn’t know him,17 but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel.” 32 John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I didn’t recognize him, but he18 who sent me to baptize in water, he said to me, ‘On whomever you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on him is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”19
- What anxieties have upset your life? Were they God-sent or spawn in fear, doubt, and uncertainty?
- What is your vocation in ministry?
- What experiences do you have of receiving foreknowledge?
- How do you discern the will of God, and the activity of God in your life?
- How does one go about testing to know whether what is begin preached is accurate, true, honoring God, and faithful to the Scriptures?
- What are the names of Jesus which offer you most comfort, courage and confidence?
vocation, humility, commitment, disciple, servant-leadership, service, Messiah, prophesy, discernment, spiritual gifts, christian community, God’s perfect timing, responsibility of spiritual leaders