by Henry T. Vriesen
John 1 and 3
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” So it is said of John the Baptist. We heard before about his ministry in the wilderness of Judea and on the shores of the river Jordan. Thousands went out to hear the great preacher. Now the spiritual council at Jerusalem—they had the charge of the church—took notice of John the Baptist. One day they sent priests and Levites to John at Bethabara to ask him, “Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he said, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? And he said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias … And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not: he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”
A little later, when John was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, “there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews, about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”For further information on this resource, click here.