John: the Ultimate Role Player
1. The Question of John’s Role in Relation to the Christ
15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, Luke 3:15 (ESV)
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John 1:19-22 (ESV)
2. The Disposition of John’s Role in Relation to the Christ
16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16 (ESV)
Threefold priority of Jesus: Jesus is stronger than John, he brings a better baptism than John, and he is the Judge.
John knew and understood his role.
27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” John 3:27 (ESV) . . . the key principle
Point: we must content ourselves with the place and provision that the Sovereign God has given us, seeking only to be faithful to Him.
A Joyful Attitude
29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. John 3:29 (ESV)
A Humble resolution
30 He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 (ESV)
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3 (ESV)
3. The Purpose of John’s Role in Relation to the Christ
17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3:17 (ESV)
Water may cleanse what is outside, but fire purifies that which is within, namely the heart.
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53 (ESV)