Tag Archives: Son of God

John the Baptist proclaims the arrival of Jesus John 1 19-34 homily and Bible study on KFUO radio

The following is the text for my homily message on KFUO radio on February 5, The first link is for the discussion on John the Baptist. The second link is my homily on John 1: 19-34

ESV John 1:19 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?”

23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)

25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,

27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’

31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:19 – 34  Sermonette on KFUO for February 5, 2015

I’m from Boston, where politics is as much of a spectator sport as the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots or Bruins. One of the great events is the politician, office holder who gets stopped by the police. Doesn’t matter the offense, the retort is always “do you know who I am?”. That’s almost always a tip off that the person knows they got busted, that they’re in trouble and now they’re trying to use their position to weasel their way out.

Seems we often get too caught up in the person and not the message.

There certainly is a time and a place, a need to know what someone is doing, who it is that’s doing it. Why do we get so caught up, so often needing to know the messenger and not focused on the message? Yes, we get some really messed up messages today and from multiple sources: Television, computers, radios, music recordings. How do we know that they are not of God? Because they don’t communicate the Gospel message. As Christians we should be able to discern what the Gospel message is from the message of the world.

Why do we get so caught up in the “Who are you?” In this day and age, it’s not so much “Who are you?” But “Who are you to tell me?” The message doesn’t seem to matter any more..There is no discernment today, there is simply blind allegiance to whoever it is that is conveying the message. If it’s the right athlete or the right recording artist or the right author, politician yada, yada. The right Bible teacher? Ahhhh, not so much… Unless he’s telling us what we want to hear.

The priests, the Levites, just weren’t that terribly concerned with what John the Baptist preached. Just not really interested, they were interested in who he was. They did that a lot with Jesus too, “where is your authority?”, “What gives you the right?” Not so much like the Bereans, they knew perfectly well who Paul was, good and bad. What did they do, just fall in love with the fact that Paul was talking to them? No! Acts 17:11: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

The priests and Levites didn’t seem to be terribly impressed with John or his message, they wanted him to be Elijah, or someone with a rockstar name for them to fall in love with and listen to. Despite the fact that John was saying all the right things, mostly quoting out of Isaiah and continually steering attention away from himself, something else that made him suspect, at least to the priests and Levites. He was odd, odd clothing, odd food, odd practices, baptizing people, and like Jesus did not fit the mold that they were looking for. They weren’t interested in the validity of the words. They didn’t take down his words and go back to study if John was validly preaching Scripture, God’s revelation, especially as it related to the coming Messiah. No, they wanted the messenger to be Elijah, “the prophet”, who was this guy John?

The take away is this. We are not called to fall in love with the messenger. John the Baptizer was the last of the Old Testament prophets, he was an odd duck, as they all were, none of them were rockstars that you’d fall in love with. But they did convey God’s Word, they did give us God’s revelation? This passage in John’s Gospel quotes John the Baptizer as quoting or alluding to passages in Isaiah, Daniel, Malachi, Genesis and Psalms. The priests and the Levites, the rest of the house of Israel missed the point, getting so caught up in “do you know who I am?”, They missed the message of the Gospel. They stuck with their Laws and rules, relying on them to save them, when they had actual grace and forgiveness in their presence, right before them. They missed salvation in the Gospel. As a pastor, as a minister of Christ I am charged with preaching the truth, I am charged with giving the hope and promise of the Gospel. Not what someone wants to hear, but what God the Father tells us is true salvation in His Son Jesus Christ. I’m definitely not a rock star, but if I am telling you what you need to hear and giving you what you need; Baptism, the Body and Blood of Jesus, the Word, the Father’s Absolution of your sins, you should listen. By all means, be a Berean and take my word back and study it. I love it when someone pushes me on something I said in a sermon or wrote in a blog. But trust that I was placed here as a minister, as a representative of Jesus in order for Jesus to use me to give to you what you need for salvation in Jesus. I’m definitely not going to say “do you know who I am?” Because you wouldn’t. But I can say, as any disciple in Jesus can say, do you know that I am a brother in Christ and that true salvation is in Jesus? It’s not the messenger, it’s whether it’s the message of Jesus Christ in Scripture that is telling you that God the Father has saved you in Jesus. John would have told them: “And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” They just wanted to ask the questions when they could have stopped and listened to the one who prepared the way for the Lord.

The Gates of Hell

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit. And all those who say “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” said … AMEN.
Jesus and His disciples are in the district of Caesarea Philippi. which is north of Capernaum, in the north of Israel, near the Syrian/Lebanon borders. Look at the cover of your bulletin, this is a temple of Zeus and Bacchus that was built by Philip the Tetrarch of this district. Philip was the son of Herod the Great, one of the few surviving sons. Since both he and his father owed heir titles to the Romans, they were careful to flatter the Romans to keep them happy and Philip built this temple to Roman Gods. Philip wasn’t exactly Jewish, he used his quasi Jewish status when it suited him and likewise switched to Roman “gods” when it suited his purpose. Philip married Salome, you might remember that Salome was the daughter of Herod and Herodias and after she danced for Herod asked for John the Baptist’s head. Yea, these people were more than a little messed up. Philip had enlarged the city and named it after Caesar and himself, which seems a little presumptuous. You can imagine, the Jews in this area hated Philip for his various offenses and saw this temple as a blasphemy, a sacrilege against their Jewish religion and they referred to this temple as the “Gates of Hell”. According to legend, this is where Jesus and the twelve disciples were camping when today’s reading took place. You can kind of picture them sitting around the campfire. Things are starting to come to a head, in the very next chapter the same Peter, with John and James are going to climb a mountain with Jesus and see Him transfigured and God the Father declaring Jesus to be His Son. For those who like to deny that Jesus is God the Son, seems pretty hard to dispute Peter’s confession, Jesus’ confirmation and then the Father confirming His Son. If Jesus isn’t God the Son, seems a big fuss is being made.
There are a few things going on in this passage and they might seem a little random.
Peter has his failures, and they’re pretty huge and he also has his high points, no question this is a high point. No doubt Peter is sure that this Jesus is someone pretty special. But when Jesus says “…who do you say I am”, Peter didn’t seem to hesitate. ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s saying a few things here and this temple is the effective backdrop of this exchange. You are the promised one. Christ isn’t a name, it’s a title. The Hebrew word Mesi,an is the equivalent word of Christ or cristo,j which means anointed one. According to John MacArthur Mesian in the Hebrew: “refers in the Old Testament to prophets (1 Kings 19:16), priests (Lev 4:5, 16) and kings (1 Sam 24: 6, 10). In the sense that all of them were anointed with oil. This anointing symbolized a consecration for ministry by God. Jesus Christ, as the Anointed One, would be the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King (Is 61:1, John 3:34) … Peter declares his faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah.”1
Peter really stepped up and Jesus proclaims, “Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus is saying that you are special Peter, God has chosen you to proclaim this, you know who I AM to the depths of your soul. Not because you had some great insight but because the Father chose you to declare that I AM the promised Messiah, the one who is the promised Savior of mankind.
Jesus builds on this, since you know this, I can also declare that I will build my church on your proclamation and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against My church. Church in the Greek refers to those who are called out, the Christian community of saints. Not just this building, or the Lutheran Church, all the saints, all those who are hagios, holy, separated people of Jesus, you.
If you look at this picture again, you might be able to tell that this temple has been carved out of stone, this whole thing is one big rock. So when Jesus says on this rock, on top of this pagan temple is where my church, my people will be. When I was there, hearing the tradition, I could almost see Jesus pointing over His shoulder. You see that big rock, that people here call the gates of Hell, my church is going to be built on this temple to false “god’s” and it will never prevail against My church, My church will always be on top.
I also took from this, that Jesus is making a direct reference to the idea that all false “gods” are of Satan. That all false “gods” are actually demons, evil spirits who have corrupted people to believe that they are “gods”. Jesus is saying that these false “gods” and we know that Satan is referred to as the “god of this world” John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11 will never overcome the Kingdom of Heaven.
In four more chapters Jesus will make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem to establish His victory over the world. He will be sacrificed then, He will die as payment for all of our sins and then will rise again in triumphant victory over sin and death. Sin and death are the very essence of Satan and His demons. They may rule the world now, but Jesus’ promise to His disciples and we are His … disciples, that in the end when it really matters He will defeat Satan and reestablish the world the way that God had created it.
In establishing His church, Jesus begins to empower His church. His church will possess the keys to heaven on earth. This means He has given His church the authority to declare what is sin and bind that sin. No other institution has that authority, only the church of Jesus, which the Lutheran Church certainly is. Our authority is based on Scripture and we bind or loose based on God’s Word. Because of God’s Word, we know what God has already bound, who He has locked heaven against. We are simply declaring what has been bound, and in a sense, enforcing that binding from what God has declared.
The world may try to deny the authority and even the legitimacy of the church, but Jesus has certainly declared the church’s authority in this passage. The church, made up of those who are separated, declared holy, will be those who have not just authority, but also responsibility to be the instrument of God’s will.
To those who ignore the church, deny the church has any real meaning, Jesus is clearly establishing His church. The disciples, represented by Peter, have recognized who Jesus is and that He is the promised One of God. He is the anointed One, anointed Prophet, Priest and King and now Jesus has established His church and declared that His disciples make up that church and they have the authority to represent Jesus. As His apostles, His sent ones they, and us, will do the things that the church is responsible to do, to declare the will of Jesus in the world. For those who think that “worship” is on the golf course or the beach, Jesus is saying these people are my church, they will lead in worship, do the work of the church. Anything else will only be personal preference and idolatry.
Take some time this week to think about how that looks, what does that mean to the world? Certainly it is proclaiming the Gospel, He who died to pay for our sins and who rose to give us the only way to eternal life. It is also going to those who are living a life that rejects Jesus and chooses to only be concerned with their own desires. The church is the institution that Jesus empowered to baptize, to be His instrument to bring people into the Kingdom of heaven. His church has been given the responsibility to offer the life saving Blood and Body of Christ. His church is responsible for preaching His proclaimed Word so that all will be able to hear the Good News of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus. Take some time to think of how that should look to the world as we exercise that authority here at First St Johns.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.