John 1:35-40 ” Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.”
True to his calling John is standing on the Jordan River bank preaching and baptizing. The previous day had been very eventful for him. John preached one of the greatest messages on repentance to Israel ever spoken. He spoke to them in perfect truth, assuring them their birthright was no longer to be claimed for justification. John speaks of one coming who would be greater than him. In his sermon John discloses how unworthy he feels in comparison,” Mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.” John was baptizing with water symbolizing repentance and a life change. John’s sermon speaks of one who will baptize with the Holy Ghost. Teaching them of a baptism not only having life changing power but spiritual as well, a greater baptism. John points to the power of one coming that will not only separate the husk from wheat but shall destroy it.
John preached faithfully of the one who could come, then the one steps forward for baptism. John refuses to baptize Jesus; his concern was expressed in his need to be baptized by him. John then shows some puzzlement and speaks, ” I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Imagine if you can, John’s bewilderment at this moment. Before him is standing the hopes, the dreams and the subject of his preaching. John knew all to well God’s calling in his own life. There was no doubt in John’s mind; he was the forerunner of the messiah. He stood and preached everyday on the subject of God’s greatest promise given to man, the messiah. His sermons called to Israel, ” Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John began his preaching in the wilderness of Judea, clothed in camel’s hair and a leather belt tied about his waist. He was not secluded to this area alone, later on to Jerusalem, all of Judea and the area around Jordan. The preaching of John was bold and charismatic; many came and were baptized unto repentance. Now he looks into the eyes of the one who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and he is consumed with total unworthiness.
Each and everyone John baptized came forward with hearts of repentance. All those who came were sinful men and women openly confessing their sins before God and man. When they heard John’s preaching, conviction came upon them and baptism was part of their testimony of a life changing experience. Into this preaching Jesus walks for baptism, there is no conviction on his life for a sinful nature, for he has none. There was no sin Jesus was guilty of committing, he was free of sin. The baptism of John, a sign of repentance was not needed in the life of Jesus. When Jesus asked John for baptism, his world stood still. The mass of people gathered at the Jordan River disappeared; all John could see was the face of God. At this moment in time no one existed in the mind of John but Jesus and him. In the mass of all the people surrounding the shore of Jordan, John stood before Jesus alone. As he looked into the face of God, John’s sin flooded his mind, his shortcomings, fleshly desires became more apparent. John felt inadequacy such as he never knew before. Standing on the riverbank in Jesus’ presence, John knew this was his Lord and his God.
God’s hand was on John while he was in his mother’s womb. His life was dedicated to his calling and he was faithful. John stood and preached to an unrepentant nation with all boldness and conviction. He was the voice of God crying from the wilderness, repent. Sin, insecurities and desires of the flesh should have no bearing on this man of God. Feelings such as these should not challenge him. His whole being was given to God unselfishly, yet when Jesus came for baptism, John felt unworthy. Where would these feelings of unworthiness come from?
In order to answer this question, we must understand the man John more completely. This conviction came upon him because he was standing in the presence of Jesus as a sinful man. John not only preached repentance, he had a repentant heart. Before John stepped from the wilderness to preach his first sermon of repentance, he repented. The repentant heart of John brought about this feeling of unworthiness in the presence of Jesus. His desire to have nothing between him and his God made his heart soft and pliable. This was the life John lived; it would be understandable for him to see his need in Jesus. When Jesus stepped on the riverbank, John knew him. John knew him from time spent in prayer; he had felt his presence and touch many times. This time John is literally standing in the presence of the one he repented to, his Lord and God. Of all the things John would gladly do for the asking, Jesus desired baptism; it was understandable why he felt so unworthy. Jesus speaks to his preacher and assures him, this baptism would be in accordance with the will of God.
Matthew 3: 15 “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”
The scriptures teach us John baptized Jesus that day.
Matthew 3:16-17 ” And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And, lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Imagine if you will the scene unfolding at the river this day. John takes Jesus by the hand and leads him into the water. All the baptisms John performed paled in comparison to this one. The joy flooding John at this moment must have been all he could bear. Jesus submits himself into the hands of John and is lowered into the water. All the while these two men never let go of one another, clinging to one another in the Jordan River. (Always cling to Jesus, never let go.) John lifts him from the water “suffering” Jesus, “fulfilling all righteousness” as Jesus commanded him. As Jesus comes up from the water, the heavens open and John sees the Spirit of God descend like a dove. The spirit lands on Jesus, then God speaks from heaven, ” This is my Son, I am very pleased with what he has done.” John the Baptist would be transfixed with all he is witnessing, standing in the water next to Jesus. I can see John with his arms still around the Lord, clinging.
John continued his clinging to Jesus by continuing to preach and point everyone to Jesus. As he stood preaching the message of repentance, Jesus walks by. John sees the Lord and shouts, ” Behold the lamb of God.” John had disciples who followed him and loved him very much, yet when they heard this proclamation followed Jesus. John 3:30 ” He must increase, but I must decrease.” Jesus sees the men following and asks them,” What seek ye?” their reply, ” Rabbi, where dwellest thou?” This question is the one Jesus longs to hear from all of us. His heart’s desire is for us to be with him. Jesus answers the men, “Come and see.” Jesus still speaks to our hearts today, come and see all I have to offer you. Come and see my eyes, they weep for you and watch over you. Come and see my lips, they call out to you everyday. Come and see my nailed scarred hands; I reach out to you and long for your touch. Come and see my nail scarred feet; they bore me up Calvary’s hill for you. Come and see where the spear pierced my side, I was wounded for you. Come and see my blood, I shed it for you. Come and see my cross, upon it I was crucified for you. Come and see my tomb, I would not let it hold me for you. Come and see my love, I have done all of this, just for you.
John was familiar with the same invitation. When Mary told Elisabeth she carried the Christ child, John leaped in his mother’s womb. It was the same invitation that drove him into the wilderness for preparation to preach the way called straight. It was the same invitation, which brought him from the wilderness preaching and baptizing with spirit and truth. John had indeed heard Jesus say, “Come and see.” John came and saw such as man had never seen. He came and he saw a man, who in spite of all his good qualities fell short. John came and he saw a man who needed Jesus. When John came and he saw, it planted the need for repentance in his life. John came and he saw the wonderful love God has for mankind. John had one burning desire after his experience, he wanted everyone to” come and see.”
Where does Jesus dwell? Jesus answers this question himself, “Come and see.”
Brother Joe Davis,