The Gospel of John Made Easy
Joyce Webb 2011
Verse 15 -28
John (the Baptist) was a witness of Jesus. He spoke in a loud voice:
"This is the one I have been talking about. He will come after me. But he is better than me, he is chosen before me. He was before me."
In the human life on earth, John lived before Jesus did. John and Jesus were cousins. John’s mother was Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Mary were cousins. John’s story is told in Luke 1: 5 -80.
Elizabeth was older, too old to have a baby. She did not have any children. In those days, a woman who did not have children felt a great shame.
But God gave Elizabeth and her husband a baby in her old age. God told them to call him John. He was a regular baby, but God was going to give the Holy Spirit to live in him from the time he was born.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come upon men (and some women) for a short time to do a special thing. But the Holy Spirit did not live in them day after day. The Holy Spirit did not come to live in people until after Jesus rose from the dead and went back to heaven. Then the Holy Spirit came to live in believers here on earth.
John (the Baptist) was special in that way----that the Holy Spirit was to be in him from the time he was born.
John was to live a holy life. He lived alone out in the wilderness (out in the fields of grasses and caves) . He preached to many people. He told them that a special person was coming who would save them from their sins.
When the angel came to Mary to tell her that she would get pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Mary went to stay with her cousin Elizabeth. When Mary arrived at the door of Elizabeth’s house, Elizabeth went to see who was there. When she saw Mary, the baby growing in Elizabeth jumped and moved. The Holy Spirit came on Elizabeth and she said to Mary, "You are greatly blessed above all women." She called Mary, "the mother of my Lord".
Mary had not yet told Elizabeth what had happened to her. The Holy Spirit spoke through Elizabeth. This was news for Elizabeth and it was confirmation ( proof) for Mary about this special thing about to happen to her.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about 3 months, then she went home. Elizabeth had her baby and named him John.
Jesus was born to Mary about 6 months later. We do not know if Jesus and John ever saw each other when they were growing up. If they did see each other, John did not know that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
verse 16 - 18
John said, "We have received the fullness of him. Paul said in Colossians 1: 19 "For it pleased the Father that in him (Jesus) should all fullness live and be."
Jesus was fully God. He was also fully man. We can not understand how this could be. It is like trying to understand the Trinity.
Jesus came to earth in all his fullness of God.
Then John said, " We have received grace and more grace from him."
The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus.
The law was a list of rules. The reason for the rules was to show the people how holy God expected them to live. God’s way of thinking and doing was holy and good. Man found it to be very hard to live in a way that could please God.
The rules were hard to keep. Man with his sinful nature knew is was much easier to sin and do wrong than to live good and holy. Man was not able to keep the laws and rules, he kept failing and doing wrong.
Jesus came and brought grace. Grace gives mercy and forgiveness. Grace gives help to the weak.
Truth was in Jesus. The words Jesus said were life to men.
No man has ever seen God.
In Exodus 33: 20 God said these words to Moses "You can not see my face. No man can see my face and live."
Moses was up in the mountain. God told him that he would put Moses in an opening in the rock, then he would cover Moses with his hand, then he would pass by. After God passed by, God would take away his hand and Moses would see God’s back.
God’s glory is so great and awesome that if man would see it ----it would be so powerful it would kill a man. Moses was given this special time to have a little look.
Man has not seen God, but Jesus has seen God. Jesus is the one who will tell us about God. Jesus knows all about God. He and God the Father are one.
verses 19 -28
John (the Baptist) tells that the Jewish leaders came from Jerusalem to ask him who he was. People were talking about John. He was a powerful speaker. He was telling about this person who was to come soon.
John told them, "I am not the Christ (Messiah---the Promised Anointed One)."
All through the Old Testament the prophets told that God would send a Savior. The Jewish people interpreted this to mean someone who would be their king or leader here on earth and save them from the nations who ruled over them.
God had a much bigger plan. The Savior would save their soul or spirit from their sin. This Savior would make it possible for them to have life forever. He would take away the death punishment that was over them because of their sin. This savior was not just for the Jewish people, it would be for everyone in the world.
Most of the Jewish people never believed that Jesus was God.
They were not looking for someone to save them from their sins. They were looking for an earthly king to save them from the Romans.
These Jewish leaders, asked John if he was Elijah. Elijah never died. Elijah was caught up into heaven in a chariot of fire. II Kings 2: 11
The Jewish leaders thought maybe Elijah came back to earth.
In the Jewish Passover, at a certain part of the meal, a child is sent to open the door of the house and look out to see if Elijah has come. Jewish people are still looking for Elijah to come.
John told them, "No, I am not Elijah."
So they said, "Who are you?" John said, " I am just a voice---out here in the wilderness---telling people to make themselves right with God. To make a straight path (way) for the Lord who is coming. This one is the same one the prophets in the Old Testament talked about."
These men asked John, "Why do you baptize the people if you are not the Messiah (Christ), and you are not Elijah?"
John said, I baptize with water, but there is a person who is living among you and you do not know him. He will come after me. But he is chosen before me. He is better than me. I am not worthy to untie his shoes.
This happened in Bethany, a town east of the Jordan river.