John shares John the Baptist testimony with us today. Jesus and John’s ministry overlapped in time and territory for a little while. John the Baptist was so awed by the fulfilment of personal prophecy that he had to point Jesus out whenever the Spirit allowed him to. Today was one of those days that John would get to share his testimony of Jesus’ baptism.
I have to back up a little bit and change something I said in yesterday’s post. When John the Baptist was being questioned about who he was, he made reference to Jesus being in the crowd. He didn’t name Him or point Him out at the time. I was under the assumption, and stated so in my post, that John didn’t identify Him because it wasn’t time yet for Jesus to begin His ministry. But in the first verse of today’s story, John says that the events we are looking at happened the very next day. And the events John the Baptist speaks of put Jesus’ baptism in the past. In fact, Jesus has already returned from His wilderness experience by the time yesterday’s events took place. So why didn’t John the Baptist point Jesus out to the group questioning him? Did the Spirit prompt him to keep Him hidden? The people were not ready yet for the full truth, especially the religious leaders. They might have sped up their timetable. God was still in charge of the timing of His plan.
Let’s go on with today’s story now. As we just stated, Jesus has returned from His 40 days in the wilderness. The day after being covertly referred to by John the Baptist to the inquisitive group; Jesus comes walking along where John the Baptist is proclaiming the Kingdom of God. This time John doesn’t hesitate to identify Jesus to the group he is with. John even goes into great detail as to how he KNOWS that Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (verse 29).
John the Baptist tells those in attendance today of the events that took place during Jesus’ baptism. From before his birth John was commissioned to be the one to prepare Israel for their coming Messiah. John was also told by God how to identify the Messiah himself. I’m assuming he was shown this in a dream, a vision or an audible voice while still in the wilderness. He was absolutely certain about this sign and probably waited for it every day.
John said he didn’t know who the Messiah was before the sign was given. I’m wondering if he is referring to knowing with absolute certainty. We know that Jesus and John were cousins and that they must have been together on several occasions while growing up. Matthew tells us that when Jesus came to John to be baptized that John recognized Jesus’ position above him. John said he needed the baptism Jesus offered and recognized it as superior to his baptism. So we know that John recognized Jesus as his Lord already but the actual events of that day would put the exclamation point on John’s knowing.
I wonder if John expected the heavens to open up at Jesus’ baptism. Did God tell him specifically that the Spirit would descend onto the Messiah during His baptism? How was he expecting the fulfilment of the prophecy he received? How had he envisioned it happening?
God did exactly as He had told John He would. And in doing so, He gave John a certainty that would carry him through some very rough places. John had entertained some doubts in the end of his life because of his circumstances. But John would always have that moment to think back on and remember the promise of God.
I wish I could point to a prophecy and its fulfilment that brought me a deep knowing like this one did for John the Baptist. I’ve had multiple experiences that prove to me how much God loves me but none of them were a foreknowledge experience. I once had a dream that came true the next day, but I don’t know if it was from God. My actions in the dream then in real life kept my parents together, so maybe it was God preparing me for what was to come and my part in it.
Father God, thank You for the big and little proof every day as to Who You are. Thank You for pointing out to me the timeline of today’s story. I hadn’t seen that before. Thank You for opening Your word to me daily. Thank You for hindsight as well as foresight. So many things I have walked through help me to KNOW that You are in control. Thank You for never letting go of me. Show me the signposts along the way too.