Sunday, May 10 2020 by Matt Horan
Click here to read today’s passage: John 1:15-28
So John the Apostle (and Gospel writer) has given his preview of who you’re about to meet. Following his preview, John the Baptist gives… another preview.
The Gospels don’t really do justice to the size of John the Baptist’s influence. He had his own movement of disciples around the Middle East that remained loyal to him throughout the first century and perhaps into the second. In fact, in Ephesus, the likely first audience for the Gospel of John, he had an especially loyal following. Perhaps this is why John the author makes a point to spend his opening words telling the story of John the Baptist’s unusual refusal to take on the mantle of Messiah in favor of someone else.
In the first century, it was quite common for leaders who drew large followings to become a possible Messiah” candidate, but when the suggestion was made, he pushed it aside. The Pharisees even came to check him out, and were probably surprised to hear him not want the title in the way so many others had before him.
So the Gospel begins with John, a leader of the Ephesian church, testifying that Jesus is the glorious, graceful, enlightening Son of God. Then John the Baptist, hero of many in Ephesus, testifies that he is not the Messiah, but is there to pave the way for the One who is. The stage is set for Jesus to step out on to it.
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