JOHN - Chapter 1: 15-51 - GRACE FOR GRACE Print E-mail

JOHN – Chapter 1: 15-51


Tuesday Morning Bible Study

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


In the first fourteen verses, John announced his main theme, which is the glory of Jesus Christ shown by all which He both said and did.  The fourth Evangelist began the story in eternity; and it is from that beginning He continues to reveal Jesus Christ as the Messiah.


We begin today with verse 15 as the Evangelist cites the testimony of John the Baptist.  John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.


The word cried shows that John did not witness timidly or in a corner, but proclaimed Christ boldly.  John witnessed to Christ before he had ever seen Him.  He that comes after me---Who was born after me---is preferred before me, for He is more glorious and highly honored than I.  He was before me---in His divinity.  He was before me according to His begetting from the Father before the ages, even though He came after me according to His advent in the flesh.


16. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.  We have received the grace of the New Testament in place of the grace of the Old Testament.  All prophets receive of Christ’s fullness; for there is no greater grace than that which filled these Spirit-bearing men.  As the source of every good thing, of all wisdom and prophecy, God the Word pours out these things on everyone who receive His Holy Spirit while He Himself ever remains full.


The Jews were also adopted by grace and accepted as sons.  For it is written, Not because you are numerous, but for the sake of your fathers I have chosen you (Duet. 7:7-8).  The ancient Jews were accepted by grace, and we by grace most assuredly have been saved.


17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.


The Apostle John explains how we have received the greatest grace in place of a small measure of grace, saying that the law was given by Moses, who God used as a human mediator.  But the New Testament which came by Jesus Christ, he calls both grace and truth.


Through Jesus, God graciously bestowed on us not only forgiveness of sins but adoption as sons.  The New Testament, grace and truth, had no mere man as mediator, but the Son of God.


The Old Testament was given by Moses, as a minister and servant of God.  The New Testament came by the Lord Jesus Christ revealing Him as Master and the authority.


18. No man has seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.  We know from the Old Testament that certain prophets saw the Lord.  Isaiah said, I saw the Lord.  What the prophet saw was a likeness of God in a vision of as much of God has he had the capacity to receive and perceive.   


Prophet Darrell McManus wrote a book about the Throne of God where He describes Isaiah’s vision from above the throne.  John in the Book of Revelation saw  around the throne and Ezekiel under the throne.


 There are many who have actually seen God bodily:

    1. Adam and Even saw God.
    2. Cain saw God in visible form.
    3. God appeared on earth at the time of the tower of Babel, “the Lord came down to see the city and the tower.”
    4. Abraham was blessed with several appearances of God.
    5. God appeared to Isaac and confirmed the covenant with him.
    6. God appeared to Jacob and confirmed the Abrahamic Covenant with him.  God wrestled with Jacob bodily.  I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.”   Gen. 35:9:  God appeared unto Jacob again.
    7. The Lord appeared to Moses as the Angel of the Lord in the burning bush.
    8. The Lord came down from Mt. Sinai to give the 10 commandments in the sight of all the people.
    9. The leaders of Israel (74) including Moses and Aaron saw God and ate with Him on Sinai.
    10. The Lord spoke to Moses face to face.  Moses asked to see God’s glory.  He was not allowed to see his glory in his face, but God showed him his back parts.  The Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with Moses there.  God appeared to Moses and all Israel as recorded in Lev. 9: 23-24.  The Lord appeared to Moses at his death (Dt. 34: 5-7).
    11. God came to Balaam at night to instruct him and warn him.
    12. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way and in the vineyard.  Then Balaam saw the angel of the Lord.
    13. Joshua saw God in a visible body.
    14. God appeared to Israel, to Gideon, to Manoah’s wife;  to Manoah and his wife together.  He appeared to Samuel.  He appeared to Elijah.  Zechariah, Ezekiel, Enoch, Noah walked with Him, and received specific instructions from him.
    15. David saw the Lord.  Job saw the Lord.  Amos saw the Lord.  Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.
    16. John saw both God and the glorified Christ.


However, none of them in their various visions, nor all of them together were able to comprehend the essence of God.  Not even the angels who behold the face of God see the essence of God.  Only the Son sees the Father; only the Son declares and reveals Him to all men. 


19-20. This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you?  And he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ.


(From verse 19-24- six days pass).


The News sent to John those whom they considered their best and wisest, and from Jerusalem, no less.  This is the committee who came to approve or disprove John’s ministry.

(This morning while praying for the U.S. Senate, the thought came to me, the senate is a power and principality controlled by demonic power. We the people have not approved of their governing for many years. Donald J. Trump with the support of a majority of the people defeated the Republican establishment. With the support of We the people, he defeated the Democratic party and the media to win the election. The Senate's power and principality is similar to the Sanhedrin (set up by the government of God, but corrupted by the greed for power by men.) We the people must pray for the Lord to overturn the corrupt usurping of power by the Senate and return our government to a government under God ---One nation under the government of God.

As we progress through John, we will see the corruption of the Sanhedrin along with their perversion of justice which was under their authority established by God and corrupted by man.) 

John the Baptist was the child of a high priest and whose way of life was above reproach.  The miraculous visitation of an angel to Elizabeth and Zechariah announcing his birth;  and the miracle healing of Zechariah would have been known by the Sanhedrin.    They sent these devious men to lure John into confessing that he was the Christ.  They do not ask him outright, “Are you the Christ?” John perceived the cunning purpose of their question.  Instead of saying who he is, he answers, I am not the Christ.  John refused to exalt himself and instead bore witness to Christ.


21-23.They asked him, What then, Are you Elijah?  He said, I am not.  Are you the prophet?  He answered, No.  Then said they unto him, Who are you? That we may give an answer to them that sent us.  What do you have to say of yourself?  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet, Isaiah.


Isa. 40:3: The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.


John was indeed a prophet, but the Pharisees were expecting “the prophet” of whom Moses prophesied: The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Dt. 18:15).  Therefore, John did not deny that he was a prophet; he denied that he was the prophet the Jews were expecting.


Again they press John, Tell us the, who are you?  He tells them he is the voice prophesied by Isaiah.  He knows he is that prophesied figure of Scripture.  He leaves the investigating committee baffled. 


24-25. They which were sent were of the Pharisees.  And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, neither the prophet?   Unable to win John by flattery, they now threaten him with harsh, menacing words trying to provoke him to say he is the Christ.  They ask that age old question, Who gave you such authority?  We didn’t ordain you or send you (my words).  If people question your authority that is a spirit of envy; because by the question they realize you have authority.  Truly they are a brood of vipers whether then or now.


26-27. John answered them saying, I baptize in water; but in your midst there stands One, whom you do not know.  He is the One coming after, who is preferred before me, the thong of Whose sandal I am not worthy to unloose.


In meekness, John did not repay the Jews’ insolence with harshness.  He is saying My baptism is lowly, a mere external washing.  It does not remit sins, but prepares the recipient for spiritual Baptism which cleanses the soul.  The Lord was even then hidden in the crowd.  The metaphor of the sandal would have been clear to the Pharisees.  The sandal made of leather represents the flesh of sinners, subject to corruption, the thong represents the bond of sins.  The people came to John, bound to their sins.  When they confessed, John loosed that thong.  Bringing them to repentance, he enabled them to cast away the thong (bondage) as well as the sandal (sinful flesh). 


Because no bond of sin clung to Christ, there was nothing for John to unloose, For He did no sin, nor was there found any guile in His mouth (Is. 53:9; 1 Pet. 2:22).  


28-29. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.  The next day John sees Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.


Bethbara was also known as Bethany, but not to be confused with Bethany near the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem.


John is declaring Behold the Lamb long awaited as prophesied by Isaiah 53: 7-8---here He is.  This is the true Lamb, prefigured by Moses and foretold by Isaiah.  Christ is called the Lamb of God because it is God who accepted Christ’s death for our salvation, and also because it is God who delivered Christ to death for our sake. 


We say “this is the offering of so and so”, or “so and so brought this offering.”  This is the offering of Father God.  When John said He takes away the sin of the world.   He takes away sin every day through repentance and baptism.


The sin of the world means universal disobedience in the kosmos.  He removes from us the corruption and bondage of the kosmos.


30. This is He of Whom I said, After me comes a man who is preferred before me; for He was before me.   Now John points to Christ revealing Him to those who do not know who He is.  The Lord existed pre-eternally, and thus existed before John was born.  The Lord is called a man because He was fully thirty years old when He was baptized, and also because He is the man, that is the Spouse of every soul, and the Bridegroom of the Church.


For I have espoused you to one husband (2 Cor. 11:2).  The forerunner is saying, I arrange the marriage and escort the bride.  Behind me comes the Bridegroom.  I lead souls to faith in Christ, but he is the Spouse of souls.


31-34. And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel; therefore am I come baptizing in water.  John bare witness, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him.  And I knew Him not; but He that sent me to baptize in water, the same said unto me, Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He that baptizes in the Holy Spirit.  I saw, and bare witness, that this is the Son of God.


John renders unimpeachable his testimony concerning Jesus.  I knew him not, but the Father revealed Christ to me at His baptism.  John had been told in advance how he would officially recognize Messiah.  The Trinity certified it to him.  His hands held Jesus.  His eyes saw the Spirit manifest.  His ears heard the voice of God.

The Greek word for “saw” in this passage requires both inward and outward vision.  It was a sign.  Signs are outward. 


John’s ministry has climaxed.  He has just fulfilled his call.  From this moment on, John’s glory must subside.  Men will turn from following him to the One he has just introduced to the world.


35-37.The next day John again stood, and two of his disciples.  They were looking upon Jesus as He walked.  He said, Behold the Lamb of God!  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.


For 1400 years, the Levitical system had slain millions of lambs to dramatize the coming Sin-bearer.  It was the biggest fact in Judaism…and here He was!  Had John said, this is our King, the crowds would have seized Jesus and lifted Him over their heads.


Christianity begins here, with two men following Jesus.  John’s crowd was huge.  All Israel was tingling from his preaching.  Yet only two (not priests) caught his “Lamb” message.  Their hearts were ready to be drawn to the Lamb. 


39-39.Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said unto them, What seek you?  They said unto Him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, master,) where do you dwell?  He replied, Come and see.  they came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day; for it was about the tenth hour.


If their desire to know Christ had been merely lukewarm, they would not have followed Him to His house.  Those who follow the Lord will follow Him by action.  If we do not, we will come short of the vision of divine knowledge.  Unless a man has cleansed himself and followed Christ by leading a pure life, how can he be enlightened with knowledge.


Timothy said of the Lord 2 Tim. 6:16: We only have immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, whom no man has seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting.


40-42. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother, Simon and said unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is being interpreted, the Christ.  He brought him to Jesus.  When Jesus beheld him, He said, You are Simon the son of Jonah, you shall be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a rock.


The Evangelist gives us the name of one of the two disciples, Andrew, but not the other.  Most scholars believe the other disciple was John.  This gospel was written 70-years afterwards.  Thus Andrew is labeled the brother of Simon Peter because of the later distinction of Peter.


43-49.The next day as Jesus was intending to set out for Galilee, He found Philip. He said to him, “follow Me.”  As in the case of Andrew and Peter, Philip was from Bethsaida.  Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One of Whom Moses wrote in the Law and the Prophets too!  It is Jesus the Son of Joseph, from Nazareth!”  “From Nazareth,” exclaimed Nathanael, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  “Come and see”, said Philip.  When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said, here comes a true Israelite, a man without guile.  “How come you know me?” Said Nathanael.  Before Philip Called you, answered Jesus, when you were there under the fig tree, I saw you.  Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God, the King of Israel.”


Philip without the prompting of another obeyed as soon as Jesus said to him, follow me.  As Cleophas and the other disciple to Emmaus said: Did not our heart burn with us, while He talked with us by the way – (Lk 24-18-32)


Jesus commends Nathanael for being a true Israelite, who says nothing either to curry favor or to incite ill-feeling.  Nathanael’s response stemmed not from disbelief, but from a discerning mind well-versed in the law.


51. Jesus answered Nathanael, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, you believed? You shall see greater things than these.  He said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.


If we persevere, He will count us worthy to behold even greater things---angels ascending to the height of divine knowledge of Him, and descending because His essence is incomprehensible.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

www.eastgateministriies. I entered into the labors of Blessed Theophylact, The Holy Gospel According to John.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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