Saturday, January 15, 2011

John the Baptist: Sanhedrin's Real Question

John the Baptist gave the Sanhedrin delegation the best credentials anyone could have, God’s word,
John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, "I am only someone shouting in the desert, `Get the road ready for the Lord!' "
He told them that all he was, was a voice. They shouldn’t be trying to figure him out, they should be looking to where he was pointing.

John looked like a prophet, he lived like a prophet and acted like a prophet. But the most important thing about John was that he was willing to say what a prophet says. A complete witness is not just how you and I live our lives. Yes, that’s important. But a complete witness has to have a voice, and courage to use it. Courage to say the hard things at the right time. How often do you and I have the courage to actually talk about Jesus?

Now we find out what’s really been bothering the Sanhedrin, and especially the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a very elite group of Jews who were sticklers for not just God’s Law but also the Mishnah, the Jewish laws added to God’s law. They saw themselves as being in the inner circle with God, as the experts and keepers of the law. If John the Baptist was a nobody, then ~

5) What’s going on with this unauthorized baptizing? John’s reply must have created quite a buzz. He was not a bit intimidated by all these officials. He was totally unconcerned with his lack of credentials, or the unorthodox use of baptism.
John told them, "I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don't know. Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals."
Someone I am too unworthy to even be the slave of is standing right here in the crowd.

Here was the Baptist going toe-to-toe with an official delegation from the Sanhedrin. Thousands of people, including his own disciples, were standing on their tip-toes taking it all in. And then John announces this. Can you picture chills going up and down thousands of people’s spines? Can you imagine thousands of people craning their necks and asking, Who is it, Who is it??

Did you wonder why none of that delegation asked John to point the Messiah out?

This more than anything reveals their real motives. They had not come with the attitude that maybe God was at work, but rather with a sense of being offended that John was disrupting their religious practices and interfering with their authority. For this scruffy desert preacher to imply that they, the Bible and religion experts, didn’t know about the Messiah being right there was just a little too much for their pride and sense of dignity.

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