Pastor's Sunday School Blog
Sunday School Lesson
“Jesus and John the Baptist”
May 7, 2017
John is one of the four Gospels.
Written by John, one of the disciples/Apostles of Christ. John also authored 1,2,3 John and Revelation.
The date for writing is commonly accepted as 90 AD
The purpose of the book … “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).
Each of the Four Gospels focus on certain aspects of Christ:
Luke - “the Son of man”
Mark – "the suffering servant"
*John – the “Son of God”
Matthew – "Jesus, the King"
John wrote to present Jesus as God manifested in the flesh refuting those who believed Jesus, if God, could not be a man … and if a man, could not be God.
John was the only disciple to die of natural causes.
Today’s lesson explores the questions, “Who are we (identity) and why do we exist (purpose)?”
To experience real joy in our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must be willing to sacrifice selfish ambitions for the glory of Christ and the advancement of His kingdom.
John’s mission was to point forward to the Messiah (John 3:22-28).
Note the transition between the ministry of John and Jesus … John not only understood the transition, but embraced the change in focus from him onto Christ.
Question – Is what you are doing for you or for the Savior? Are you, or is Christ receiving the recognition from what you are doing?
Two problems confronting John’s disciples – (1) a dispute over ceremonial cleansing (the traditions of religion). (2) John’s waning popularity. In a church setting these problems may have sounded like: (1) That’s not the way we’ve always done it. (2) What about me; what I want … questions of personal preference, power and popularity.
John’s Response to the disciples concern – This was my Divine assignment from God. John recognized his primary purpose in life and ministry was to point people to Jesus rather than himself.
WHATEVER GOD HAS CALLED US TO DO WE NEED TO DO IT TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY (BY GOD’S GRACE) ABSENT THE KIND OF PRIDE THAT SEEKS PERSONAL RECOGNITION (PRIDE).
The ultimate purpose of the believer; the ultimate purpose of the church is to bring glory to Christ.
John’s manner was humble and joyful toward the Messiah (John 3:29-30).
John illustrated his heart and humility toward the Messiah and His ministry … “friend of the groom” (today the “best man”).
The role of the best man in the Judean culture was to prepare and preside over the wedding festivities. His joy was to know he had done everything possible for the groom’s wedding celebration. It was not about the “best man,” it was about the “groom.” The “best man’s” joy resulted from the approval of the “groom.”
Question – What would Jesus say about your service to Him? Would he approve? Is it about you or Him?
To effectively move the focus from you onto the Savior “you must decrease (not about you) and He must increase (make it all about Him).
SEE – Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 & 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
Our purpose, passion and practice should focus on the glory of the Lord
John’s message was one of warning and witness (John 3:31-36).
John presented Jesus as superior to him in three ways: (1) The origin of Jesus (from heaven). (2) The witness/words of Jesus (“speaks God’s words). (3) The relationship with the Father (“the Father loves the Son”).
Jesus was from heaven … John was from the earth.
Jesus spoke what He had heard from God …. John spoke what he had been told and taught about God
Jesus was the Son of God …. John was the servant of God
Question – Who are you in comparison to the Lord? Maybe not as much as you think. Try acting like who you really are!
Faith in Christ leads to eternal life. Rejection of Christ results in the wrath of God.
The word “believes” is a present participle which means a continuing activity … the one who is believing (exemplified by one’s obedience to God) has eternal life … the one who is denying/rejecting does not have eternal life and if subject to the wrath of God.
Theological Theme: Humility is finding joy in Christ’s significance, not our own.
Christological/Christ Connection: John the Baptist was not the Messiah but was sent to bear witness of the Messiah (See John 1:6-8). Faith in the Messiah, Jesus will result in eternal life.
Missional Application: Point others to Jesus, acknowledging Him, rather than ourselves.