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Our thoughts this week focus John the Baptist's meetings with Jesus. From his statements we learn the following:

      • John considered Jesus so significant that he himself felt unworthy even to untie or to carry his sandals.
      • Although John's baptism was impactive, a water baptism indicating repentance, it was nothing compared with the regenerating baptism with the Holy Spirit which Jesus would execute.
      • John refused to baptise Jesus, recognizing that Jesus had no need to be baptised because he had no sins of which to repent. Jesus, however, knowing that he came to identify as man, and to bear the punishment due to sinful man, insisted on embracing this baptism of repentance as part of his commitment to fulfil all righteousness on our behalf.
      • John testified that Jesus is 'The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.' In this brief statement John encompasses the full and powerful meaning of Christ's death: it is a substitutionary, sin-bearing death so impactive that, for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, it removes the sin-barrier between God and man which had been in place since Genesis 3, and establishes for all time God's eternal offer of grace and permanent forgiveness.
      • John also testified that Jesus is the Son of God, on the basis of the revelation given to him by God. This is the ultimate identity of Jesus Christ, expressing his full deity, his equality with God the Father.

John's testimony provides us with a high view of Christ and of his death. This view is validated by the rest of the New Testament witness. It stands as a challenge to all of us to consider our own answers to the two most important questions we will ever answer:

Question 1: Who do you say that Jesus is?

Question 2: Why did Jesus die?

Our eternal destiny, our relationship with the one true God, depends on our answers.

Scriptures: Matthew 3:11, 3:13-17; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16; John 1:29-34.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004, 2008