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John 1:35-42 by Robert Dean
Due to technical difficulties, the sound is not the best quality.
Series:John (1998)
Duration:49 mins 33 secs

John the Apostle’s Unforgettable Day
John 1:35-42
John Lesson #017
August 30, 1998
www.deanbibleministries.org

This is the third of four days in the life of John the Baptist. The role of John the Baptist is to introduce the Messiah. He is the forerunner, the one who is presenting Jesus Christ to the nation following the model of the Old Testament prophets. That is why all of the Gospels begin with John the Baptist and his ministry. He is the prophet who anoints the King. We refer to Jesus as the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord is the title of His deity; Jesus is the title of His humanity; Christ derives from the Greek christos [Xristoj] which means anointed one. That is a translation of the Hebrew mashiach which we transliterate "Messiah," which means anointed one. In the theocracy of the Old Testament there were three different persons who were anointed: prophets, priests and kings. Anointing is a symbolic act. Oil was dripped over the head of the person signifying that he was being set apart to the service of God. It is interesting in the Old Testament that you did not have to be a believer to be a priest, to be a king, but you did have to be a believer to be a prophet because a prophet was a unique voice of God. So anointing did not necessarily symbolize even the salvation of the person being anointed but that their role, the task, the job, the responsibility that they were assuming meant that they were being set apart for the service of the Lord, regardless of their own spiritual condition. As a result they were referred to as the anointed. Specifically, the king was often referred to as the anointed of the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:10, 35; 12:3, 5; 16:6, 10; Lamentation 4:20; Zechariah 4:14 refer to the anointed of the Lord. In its fullest sense this term mashiach came to refer to the prince who was to come, to God's promised Savior who would come and provide salvation for the human race through His substitutionary death on the cross, Isaiah 11 and John 1:32, 33.

The kingdom was offered by Jesus, not inaugurated by Jesus, and the man who announced it was John the Baptist. In the verses from John 1:19 to the end of the chapter we are looking at the testimony, the witness of John the Baptist of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. John had a unique ministry and a unique personality. He was out in the wilderness, rough around the edges, wearing just a camel skin, ate food found in the wilderness. He was a good half a day's walk from any inhabited area and so people had to take some time and put forth some effort to go and hear the messages of John. That was the point. John didn't want to waste his time with people who were just merely curious, he wanted to spend his time talking to people who were deeply interested and had real positive volition.

The trouble today is that people are afraid to run anybody off from the church. They want numbers, money, a big building and to look like they have built a tremendous ministry. Big ministries can be built in the power of the flesh just as they can be built in the power of the Holy Spirit. We always have to remember what the psalmist said: Psalm 127:1 NASB "Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it…" In many churches today there is a fear to really teach the Bible because it might offend someone. So they teach everything at a very basic level, they don't get too detailed, and they don't step on anybody's toes because that might offend somebody and run somebody off. That is the wrong orientation. John the Baptist was out in the wilderness, he didn't do anything to attract people. In fact, his personality was unattractive and would probably run a lot of people off. But many of the people who came out came for the wrong reasons as well. Some were positive but others came out because they wanted to see this eccentric man prophesying out in the wilderness. The same thing is true today. People go to churches for all the wrong reasons. They are interested in the personality of the pastor, in other personalities who attend the church, and so they turn the church into a country club. But the issue is never the personality of the pastor or the personality of the people. The gift of pastor-teacher is not confined to any single personality. God the Holy Spirit works in and through every kind of personality in communicating doctrine.

John 1:35 NASB "Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples." The Greek gives us some clue as to what is taking place here. The verb is histemi [i(sthmi], pluperfect active indicative, and in the pluperfect it has the idea of just standing still; it emphasizes the results. John was probably thinking. A lot had happened recently. About six weeks earlier he was doing his daily routine, teaching and baptizing in the Jordan, and a man came out from the crowd; a man he did not recognize, even though He was a cousin he had not seen Him probably since childhood. But as this man came forward and entered into the water there was a voice that came from heaven: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Then a dove descended from heaven and settled on the head of this man, and John knew from what God the Father had revealed to him that when he saw this sign that this was the man he was announcing, the man who would be the Messiah, the Savior of the world. That took place about six weeks earlier. Then He returns and is once again in the vicinity of the Jordan river, and on the day before John saw Him walking and announced to those around him: John 1:36 NASB "and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!'"

Now it is the next day, day four, and John is thinking about these things. He probably was just wondering if this was really the man, what He was going to do, how was this going to take place. He was a student of Isaiah's prophecies and so he is thinking things through: "How is this man going to save us? He is going to be a sacrifice but how is that going to be accomplished?" He is thinking about these things, trying to fit things together, and he is with two of his disciples standing there by the side of the road. It is the Sabbath day and only two are with him. He is not out preaching for that would be a violation of the Pharisaical code, but two of his disciples are with him. What does that tell us about these disciples? It tells us that these men truly have positive volition.

What is positive volition? Volition implies personal responsibility, that we have to take personal responsibility for all of pour actions, that whatever decisions we make we will be held accountable for them. Volition can be positive or negative toward God. Someone who is positive toward God is more than simply curious. Too often we confuse the fact that somebody darkens the door of the church on a regular basis with positive volition. They may simply be curious. Someone who is positive toward God has a desire to know God, a hunger, a thirst. He desires to seek God and learn all he can. Positive volition is not simply curiosity or a desire to accumulate academic knowledge. There are a lot of people like that who come to church on a regular basis and all they are accumulating is a lot of gnosis doctrine. They are not transferring it by faith into the right lobe of the soul as epignosis [e)pignwsij] doctrine, which is full knowledge, knowledge that is available for application and which as spiritual value. Anybody can accumulate gnosis and be under the control of the sin nature. So positive volition is not exemplified simply by continuous presence in church.

So John has these two disciples with him and they are willing to give up their day off because they want to know what God has to say. As John looks up he sees Jesus walking and says, "Look, the Lamb of God." And here we see another picture of John's humility. He knows now that his days are over with and there is a transfer to the one who is coming after him. He is not afraid of that; he is not afraid to point to Jesus and to let his disciples shift their authority from him to Jesus: "…he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!'" The word "looked" is the Greek word blepo which means to look intently.

The title "Lamb of God" brings with it all of the Old Testament images, from Isaiah who talks about the Lamb who would go to the cross and die for the sins of the world to the Old Testament sacrifices. The concept of sacrifice speaks of judgment and salvation, that salvation comes as a result of judgment for sin.

The doctrine of judgment salvation

1)  After Adam's fall animals had to give their lives (skins) to clothe Adam and Eve. A second example of judgment salvation in the Old Testament is the flood at the time of Noah.

2)  When we talk about salvation we need to picture is the payment of a price. The flood paints a dramatic picture. In order for Noah and his family to be saved the whole world had to be judged.

3)  The Exodus is another picture of judgment salvation. Before Israel could be saved from their bondage in Egypt the Egyptians had to be crushed economically, politically and militarily. This took place through the ten plagues that came upon the nation Egypt to break their stranglehold over the Jews. Finally, after the tenth plague they were released and so the bondage of slavery in Egypt, which represents mankind's bondage to sin was broken by judgment.

4)  The same theme of judgment underlies all of the Levitical offerings. The Levitical offerings portray judgment salvation. The blood sacrifice of a bull, a goat, a lamb as one of the sin or guilt offerings illustrates the necessity of death as the payment for sin. This is the picture that underlies 1 Peter 1:18, 19 NASB "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, {the blood} of Christ." The Levitical offerings portray the death of Christ on the cross.

5)  The principle of judgment salvation comes from the integrity of God. Remember, what the righteousness of God rejects the justice of God condemns. But the love of God always provides a solution for salvation through the grace of God. So the principle of judgment salvation is designed to satisfy the righteous demands of God and to satisfy His justice.

6)  God is always gracious before judgment. Grace always precedes judgment. In the case of the Noahic flood there were 120 years where Noah announced the coming flood before it actually came. God gave mankind 120 years to respond to the message before judgment came, but they all, with the exception of those eight, rejected the message. The same was true with Moses. He announced the plagues and they went through a series of warnings before the plagues came, yet they rejected the message. John the Baptist also provided a message of warning and that, too, was rejected. The same is true of the church age, the period of grace preceding the judgment of the Tribulation.

7)  In every case of judgment salvation there are always two groups and there is and there is a perfect line of discrimination between those two groups. There are those who benefit and those who do not; those who are saved and those who are not. There are two classes of people therefore: the saved and the unsaved. The issue is not one's sins or how bad some sin was that has been committed, the issue is what you think about Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ paid for your sins on the cross, you either accept it or not.

8)  There is only one way to God. In the flood there was only one ark, one solution to salvation. In the Exodus there was only the blood of a lamb without spot or blemish applied to the doorposts. Today there is only one way of salvation. Jesus said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John the apostle rejects all alternate ways of salvation.

9)  Salvation is always by faith alone in Christ alone. In the Old Testament it was by faith alone in Christ alone, but it was the promised Messiah, looking forward to the future. The Law was not the basis of salvation in the Old Testament.

10)  God does not judge only mankind; God judges all of nature. In the future all of nature will be judged at the baptism of fire.

John sees Jesus the Lamb of God. His disciples understand all of this, they had been well taught in the Old Testament and they know that this is significant.  John 1:37 NASB "The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus." They knew it was time to shift their allegiance for John had led them as far as he could lead them; it was now time for them to leave John and follow Jesus. They know who he is, they know this is the man who will have the answers.

John 1:38 NASB "And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, 'What do you seek?' They said to Him, 'Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?'" This indicates the degree of their positive volition. Jesus doesn't want to know who they are seeking but what they are seeking. And that is a question we need to be asking ourselves. Are we seeking to know God, to know all of the answers to everything God has for us in the Scriptures? Are we willing to tap the deepest levels of Scripture so that we can learn everything that God has revealed to us in the Bible? Or have we become self-absorbed, distracted by all of the issues in our life so that the questions that perhaps drove us at an earlier stage in our spiritual life no longer drives us? Jesus is asking here: "What are you seeking? What are your intellectual questions? What do you want to find out? Why are you coming after me? And that is the point. What do we want to learn from Jesus?

John 1:39 NASB "He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour." "Stayed" is the Greek word meno [menw] and it is the first use in the Gospel here, and it is a very important word theologically for the apostle John. It means to abide, to stay, it is often a word used for fellowship. The implication here is that we must have a rapport with Jesus and have a relationship with Him in terms of spiritual life if we are going to learn and have the answers to our questions. We have that relationship with Him after we are saved by means of 1 John 1:9 NASB "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The tenth hour was four o'clock in the afternoon, according to the Jewish system which started at 6am. The Roman system started at midnight which would make the tenth hour 10 o'clock in the morning. That makes sense here because there are several things that are going to happen during the day.

John 1:40 NASB "One of the two who heard John {speak} and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother." We don't know a lot about Andrew but we do know a lot about his brother Peter. What is the first thing Andrew does? John 1:41 NASB "He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ).'" We see the evangelistic orientation of Andrew at this point, and that is revealed in a couple of other passages in the Scriptures which talk about him. [42] "He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas' (which is translated Peter)."

Cephas is the Aramaic for the Greek petros which means rock. Here is a prophecy. When Jesus sees Peter, he is Simon. He knows who he is. When Peter comes to Jesus he meets a man who knows him through and through, and what we learn from this is that this man Simon is only Simon now but he is eventually going to be a rock. His faith is going to be the example for the Christian church. The cornerstone of the church is Christ and Jesus points out in that famous conversation in Matthew: "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." Faith is the issue. Simon is just Simon now but he will be somebody completely different. He is transformed into a different person because of  what Jesus will teach him. That is the difference. When we come to meet Jesus for the first time we will see Him in the Scriptures, and the Scriptures will disclose to us everything that we are. The issue is whether we are going to have the intellectual honesty to come face to face with Scripture, to have revealed to us everything that we are, or will we be like many people and say we just don't want to know?