John the Baptist: The Spirit Points to Jesus
Lighting the Candles—explain this!
He became what we are that He might make us what He is.
Central Idea: THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS IN US TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON JESUS.
Event: John’s kicking in Elizabeth’s womb—that was just the first indication that the HS was active in a new way in JB; then, HS stimulated, guided, empowered, etc.
“the greatest prophet?”
How would Elizabeth know that the baby in her womb was responding to Jesus in Mary’s womb?
Timing? Repetition? Violence of the kicking?
Did the two mothers-to-be do a little dance to test this kicking in the womb—the closer they came, the more John kicked??
1. The Holy Spirit engaged with John the Baptist while in the womb of Elizabeth.
a. Others before John were anticipated, prayed for, dedicated.
i. Abraham: Isaac
ii. Manoah & wife: Samson
iii. Hannah: Samuel
b. Others before John were dedicated to God.
i. Samson—no wine, no razor
ii. Samuel—dropped off to serve at Tabernacle after weaning
c. No greater person than John, says Jesus!
d. Luke 1:41—
i. Mary greeted Elizabeth
ii. John jumped in Elizabeth’s womb
iii. Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit
iv. Elizabeth prophesied.
2. The HS evidently led JohnB in his ministry.
a. A baptism of repentance.
b. A message of the arrival of Messiah.
c. Behold the Lamb of God!
3. Jesus called John B the greatest person.
Grace: John questioned Jesus’ identity when He did nothing while JB was in prison.
Matthew 11:11 ““Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKED IN JOHN THE BAPTIST,
a. Through the announcement of his birth
i. Luke 1:5-25
b. Through his conception
i. It was late in life.
ii. After conception…
Luke 1:39–45 NASB)
“Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.””
Luke 1:41, 46 NASB
“And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
iii. The Holy Spirit invaded John in utero, and then Elizabeth was also filled with the HS.
c. Through his life choices (food, clothes, wilderness-dwelling)
Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
d. Through his ministry (preaching repentance, baptizing Jews)
…But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
“Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
“And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
John 1:29…Behold the Lamb of God!
e. Through his doubt
i. Luke 7:19–20
And summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?”
f. Through his death at the hands of a hamstrung tetrarch.
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKs IN and THROUGH us,
a. Through the intent of our birth
i. We may be confused about how life is working out for us, but God has intended the best for us, as He named us as His own, before time.
b. Through placement in just the right family as to His plans
i. We may have been greatly wounded by our biological family, and it’s easy now to think that we would have had a better life if we had been born to younger parents, as John the Baptist may have thought…
1. But the truth is that our Father has carefully placed us in the birth family that He thought best for us.
ii. We may have been greatly discouraged by a marriage that began with great fanfare and moved backward from that point.
1. But the truth is that our Father has set aside our unwise choices and continues on the course He has set for us, insisting that this painful relationship draws us to Him now, before all human connections.
c. Through our life choices (food, clothes, wilderness-dwelling)
i. Our manner of life does matter: Paul describes a content, low-expectation life in 1 Timothy 6.
ii. We need not be ascetics; we need not live in a wilderness as monastics, but any competition to have the latest and best available in the marketplace does nothing to commend our faith to our neighbours.
d. Through our work (preaching repentance, baptizing Jews)
i. There is a sense in which our work is NOT OUR WORK, in that the “good works” we do are designed, implemented, and accomplished by God Himself…
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
ii. Thus, we can Magnify our Redeemer/Creator when we do those tasks that He has designed, implemented and accomplished THROUGH US.
Matthew 5:16 ““Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
e. Through our doubt (questioning whether Jesus was truly the One, as John had previously known and proclaimed)
i. We entertain both faith and doubt simultaneously.
ii. We are double-minded, as James warns.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
iii. The doubt expressed by John the Baptist provided Jesus an opportunity to clarify faith and the promises of God.
1. When John sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “
“And summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” And when the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’””
“At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He granted sight to many who were blind. And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the Blind Receive Sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the Poor Have The Gospel Preached To Them. “And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.””
2. Similarly, our doubt, our double-mindedness, is an opportunity for Jesus to intervene, to show His power.
f. Through our suffering and even death at the hands of the powerful.
i. As John suffered and died in the grip of Herod Antipas, so we can expect to suffer at the hands of the powerful.
ii. As John’s faith was vindicated in Jesus’ resurrection, so our faith in Jesus will be vindicated.
1. With faith that leads to life,
2. With faith that leads to obedience
1. HS WORKS IN US
2. HS works in us to point others to Jesus
a. To Him for faith that leads to life.
b. Doubt finds its place.
b. Everyone has doubt; that doesn’t end faith