© 2008-2019 by Mark Shutts Ministries.

JOHN THE BAPTIST

 

In John 1: 35-51, we see John moving into the background and Jesus coming to the forefront. John said “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This should be the same goal for you and I. We ought to keep decreasing and Jesus ought to keep on increasing. Our lives should be less of self and more of Christ. Our task and our duty is to present Christ to the world just as John the Baptist did.

 

Of John the Baptist - he preached to great crowds though he never spoke in a church, in a city. or over radio or TV. Entire cities came out to hear him as he gave the message that God had given him - “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” He was a man who absolutely exuded love and admiration for the Lord . He was a man who used everything within him to draw people to Christ and the results of his preaching were striking to say the least. At first, John had great crowds and many converts, but then they left him and followed Jesus. John is the only preacher who ever lost his congregation because they believed what he preached and acted on it. They left him to follow Jesus. Thus is the purpose of all true preaching, that men and women will actively follow Jesus. John is a pattern for Christians everywhere to follow in that it is the duty of every believer, not just preachers, to point others to Jesus Christ. What about you. Does your life point anyone to Jesus? It should........it Must! The world should be able to see a wonderful change in your life once you have welcomed Christ into your heart as Lord and Saviour.

 

Notice in this text that John referred to Christ as “The Lamb Of God” (John 1:36). What mental picture do you think this brought to the minds of his listeners? People today picture a cute little lamb prancing and frolicking in a flowery meadow. In John the Baptist’s day however it brought to mind the picture of a lamb being led to the temple to be slain on the sacrificial altar. And that is precisely what happened to God’s Lamb – Jesus Christ – when He willingly gave his life upon the Cross as payment in full for the penalty of your sins and mine.

 

John the Baptist is then soon arrested and beheaded but the effects of his preaching continue to manifest. There had been two men who had heard him say“Behold the Lamb of God” the day when he saw Jesus coming unto him. Those two were Andrew and John (not John the Baptist). These two had been waiting for the Messiah that John the Baptist had talked about and when they finally met Him they left all that they had, and they followed Jesus. Jesus asked them“What seek ye?” (John 1:38) He was not rebuking them, He was testing their motives. After all, many had followed Jesus just for selfish reasons and many still do the same today. What are you seeking as you follow Him? Are you seeking for a life of ease? Are you seeking for wealth? Jesus tells us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). Our desire should be to daily walk closer with Him and serve Him better. So what did these two men answer when Jesus asked them “What seek ye?” They said “Master, where do you live?” They simply wanted to be with Jesus, to be in His presence and to have His companionship. That’s always the way it is when you truly love someone. You seek constant companionship with them. If you and I truly love Jesus then we, too, will seek constant fellowship and companionship with Him  through prayer – reading His Word – serving Him – and by telling others about Him.

 

From 10:00 in the morning throughout the rest of the day these two men, Andrew and John, were with Jesus. What a day that must have been for them! They came to Jesus, they saw Jesus, they abode with Jesus. When they left Him at the end of the day Andrew was so excited that he was about to burst. He had been waiting and longing in great anticipation for the Messiah and now He was here. He has seen Him, he has heard Him, he has been blessed by Him and he simply could not contain his joy. He had to share it with someone. So he ran all the way home and found his brother Simon and cried out “We have found the Messiah – the Christ.” What a marvelous proof of Andrew’s salvation. When we surrender all that we have and all that we are to Christ and we are saved by His Atoning Blood it makes us want to see others be saved as well. When a person truly has Christ in their heart it is impossible not to want others to know Him too. Andrew ran to his brother Simon and shared Jesus with him and Simon Peter became a great pillar of the Christian Church. You see, when Andrew witnessed to his brother about Jesus, he had no special training for the job. He had never read a book on “personal witnessing.” He simply knew what Jesus had done for him and he wanted his brother to know Him too. Simon Peter had never heard any great sermons nor had he ever seen any mighty miracles. It was the simple testimony of his warm-hearted brother that led him to Christ. Have you ever tried to win anybody to Christ? If you have the love of Christ in your own heart and soul then yours should be a desire to see others have it as well.

 

Yes, all of the great crowds and converts that resulted from John the Baptist’s preaching eventually left him and followed Jesus. We need to lose more congregations in this same manner today. I am no great orator but I can tell you with the utmost confidence the most important truth that I know and it is this - God loves you and wants you to come to Him and be part of His family. I know this because He sent His only Son into the world to give His life for you. The Bible says, “For Christ suffered (died) for our sins, the just for the unjust (the righteous for the unrighteous), to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). I encourage and invite you, by faith, to turn to Christ today, confess your sins, and ask Him to come into your heart.

 

God bless you.
Mark Shutts