Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lessons from the Gospel of John (1)

April 4, 2012

Currently we are reading/studying through the Gospel of John in our Tuesday night Transit home group. This week we focused on John 1:19-34…the portion of scripture where John introduces Jesus to the people he has been ministering to. One of the questions that we discussed as a group is what the purpose of this particular section is for the rest of the book. 
While I had never thought about this before, I sort of realized something new as we were talking (which is one of the MANY reasons that I LOVE our Transit home group discussions) 
Here it is…
John the Baptist NEEDED to be the person that gave this introduction. God chose him specifically. He in essence is giving Jesus and his ministry credibility with the people. They followed him and trusted him and his teaching as if he were a prophet, and if he put his stamp of approval on “this guy named Jesus” well then people were going to pay attention and listen. In fact later on in this book, the Pharisees are talking amongst themselves while they are trying to trap Jesus but they get stuck because they don’t want to be too much for him or against him since John the Baptist was for him and they knew that the people thought highly of him. 
I think of it this way…let’s substitute Billy Gram for John the Baptist (just bringing this a little closer to home) He is a pretty respected man by the general public. Even people who don’t claim to be religious would probably respect things that he had to say….so let’s say that one of these crazies out here decides to name the date of the end of the world again…if Billy Gram put his stamp of approval on it, people would probably buy into the claim a lot more. See where I am going with this?
But this is the even crazier part…Jesus is Jesus…God…he didn’t NEED an introduction or any credibility…especially from a desert dweller guy! BUT heCHOSE, as he always does, to use John and in quite a significant way…to introduce the Son of God, the Savior of the world. 
Though he didn’t need to, God has chosen to write humanity into his redemptive story! I’m sure it would have been  a lot simpler to do without the difficulties and frustrations and complications of dealing with humans and their sinfulness and stubbornness in attempting to quite literally save the world. But that’s not the way he wanted it…he wanted us to be a part of the whole thing and in huge ways!
Adam and Eve, his first creations were responsible for naming and ordering ALL of his creations…Abraham single handedly fathered God’s entire Nation (well you know what I’m saying ;), Moses led those same people out of captivity and into God’s promise, and fast forward thousands of years to Mary a 15 year old tween whom God entrusted to bring his Son into the world. 
w o w
And this was even more interesting to me…we read a line of this passage that says 
“I myself did not know him…”
This is interesting considering that John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins and their mothers had been staying together when they were pregnant. Mary had told her cousin Elizabeth all that had happened with the angel. So, it seems that John would have or at least should have had some idea who this man was that he was now introducing…
but then I thought about it this way. 
Mary and John the Baptist…Abraham..all of them were people-humans just like me. If God were to reveal to me today the rest of my life…I would be too overwhelmed to keep living! I would be wondering what to do and how to get there and how to make it all work and fit together…that’s exactly why he doesn’t show me all of it because I would simply get in the way. He shows me what I can handle and simply asks me to follow and trust that he has the rest planned. He wants to use me in big ways, he just knows that my understanding can only take on so much at once. 
So it must have been quite the same for these people. If he would have told Mary that she would give birth to his Son miraculously by the Holy Sprit, that he would grow up heal a lot of people and then die and be raised from the dead and bring an end to Jewish law as she knew it all in one dream…I’m not sure Mary would have said yes…and had John the Baptist known all along exactly who this man-his cousin was, perhaps he could not have introduced him so eloquently. 
Anyways…I was just so humbled and honored once again that God has chosen to use me…AND you! By no means does he NEED us for anything that he has planned to be accomplished, but it is his pleasure and delight to let us be a part of this beautiful story of redemption. Don’t miss out on your part!

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