Idenity: You Have to Know The Who the Messiah Is In Order to Understand Who You Are

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-nine through fifty-one of the first chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the apostle Hohn shifting gears yet again within the first chapter of this gospel account in order that he might further explain the ministry of John the Baptist. It’s actually quite unique to read the words which the apostle wrote concerning John the Baptist in this first chapter, for it is in strong contrast to that which was written concerning the messiah. In all reality, what you find written and recorded within the first chapter of this gospel is a wonderful and powerful picture of both the Messiah, as well as His messenger—the one who would go before Him and would go before His face. The first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John begins and opens up in eternity before the foundations of the world began, and even before time itself was created. I have mentioned that one of the greatest contrasts hat exists between the gospel which the apostle John wrote and those which were written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the physician Luke is that whereas Matthew and Luke choose to use genealogies to display and manifest Jesus the Christ as the Son of David, descended from the seed of Abraham and the Son of God, the apostle John chooses to begin in and with eternity in order that it might display and demonstrate Jesus the Christ and His eternal and divine nature. The apostle John chooses to begin in eternity in order to display the awesome and incredible reality that Jesus was indeed the Word which took in the form of human flesh, and that this Jesus was in the beginning with God, that He was in the beginning as the Word, and that the Word was God. The apostle John chooses to forego using genealogies to display Jesus as the Son of David, and as descended from the seed of Abraham in order that he might display and demonstrate Jesus as being eternal and divine in nature. Even though Jesus came in the flesh and took on the seed of Abraham, He was still one hundred percent Hod who came in the flesh. Jesus wasn’t simply Jesus the Som of God who came in the flesh, but Jesus was God who choose to come in the flesh. This reality is aptly displayed and revealed even further in the writings of the apostle Paul when writing unto the Philippians and Colossians. This reality is also displayed and manifested in the epistle which was written by the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews. We dare not miss and lose sight of this tremendous point and fact, for both in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, as well as in the first epistle he wrote, the apostle John chooses to begin in the beginning.

As you read the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John you will find that in addition to His setting forth and displaying Jesus as the divine and living Word which was come in the flesh, he also contrasted the Messiah with His messenger which was raised up before Him. The entire first chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote was in all reality a striking contrast between the messenger whom the living God raised up and the Messiah who was long prophesied and foretold by the Law and the prophets. The first chapter of the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written by the apostle John not only ours on display the messiah and the messenger, but it also lays and sets forth a clear distinction between the two. This reality is evidenced when you read of the encounter which took place between John the Baptist and those whom the Jews and the priests sent unto him in order that they might inquire as to whether or not he was indeed the messiah. What I absolutely love about the response of John the Baptist, as well as that which the apostle John wrote concerning him is that he emphatically declared and denied not that he WASN’T the Messiah. The apostle John makes it abundantly and perfectly clear that John the Baptist was not the Messiah and that he at one point during his ministry took credit for, nor did he claim that he was the Messiah. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for when reading concerning John the Baptist we must consider the awesome fact that he was not the Messiah and that he never claimed to be the Messiah. John the Baptist knew and understood his role and his place in the earth, and knew and understood that for which he had been sent by the living God. John the Baptist knew and understood that he had been sent and raised up by the living God in order that he might be the forerunner who would go before the face of the messiah in order that he might make ready a people and prepare the way before the true Messiah. Please don’t miss this tremendous reality, for to miss on this point is to miss that for which John the Baptist had been sent unto the children of Israel by the true and living God.

Upon reading the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that while he sought to write concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, he also sought to write concerning the messenger who was sent by God and raised up to go before His face. The apostle John begins and opens up this gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus by starting and beginning—not only in the beginning, but also before time began. The apostle John chose you begin this gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ in eternity, and touching the reality of Jesus not only being the Word which was in the beginning, but also being with God in the beginning, and being God. Furthermore, the apostle John emphatically wrote concerning Jesus the Christ that He was indeed the light which became the life of men, and that light which shone in the darkness. Furthermore, the apostle John would write and declare that grace and truth came through and was found in the person of Jesus the Christ, whole judgment was found in the Law of Moses. The apostle John writes concerning the Messiah that He came unto His own and that His own received Him not. Unto those who did receive Him, however, He gave unto them the right He and power to become sons of the living God. In all reality, I would dare say that in order to understand the life and ministry of the divine messenger which Scripture reveals as John the Baptist, it’s necessary that we have a true and proper understanding of the Messiah. Despite the fact that the lives of these two servants of the living God were both sent by the living God and are intrinsically linked and connected, we must consider the life of the Messiah as the backdrop for the life and ministry of the messenger who was sent before the face of the Messiah after a period of four hundred years of silence. The divine messenger which was sent by God and raised up at some a time as this was ordained and appointed by the living God to be His holy messenger who would make ready and prepare a people—not only to encounter the kingdom of God among them upon the earth, but to also encounter and receive Jesus the Christ. Perhaps the single greatest reality concerning the life and ministry of John the Baptist was that he was sent by the living God in order that he might make ready and prepare a people that they might receive Jesus the Christ who would come as the Lamb of God and the suffering Servant of the living God and Father in heaven. The entire purpose, role and function of the ministry of John the Baptist was to make ready a people to receive the message and ministry of the Word which came down from heaven and took on the form of human flesh. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss this incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on that which both the messenger and the Messiah were sent by the living God in the earth. In fact, I feel it necessary to consider that which was written concerning the Messiah within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John, as well as that which was written concerning the divine messenger, for by doing so we not only understand how they are intrinsically linked, but also how the two were divinely ordained and appointed by the living God to bring about a tremendous plan of redemption within the earth. Consider if you will that which was written concerning Jesus Christ was the Word which was in the beginning with God and was God who took on flesh:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-5).

“That was the true Light, which ligtheth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:9-14).

“And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John 1:16-18).

“I baptize with water: but there standeth one am one you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (John 1:26-27).

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto Him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

“Again the next day afterJohn stood, and two of His disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36).

The words which we find written and recorded in each of these sections of the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that Jesus was indeed the Word which was in the beginning, which was in the beginning with God, and was God. The apostle John wrote within the first chapter of his gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ that the same Word was in the beginning with God, and that all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. Furthermore, the apostle John would go on to write that in the divine Word was life, and the life was the light of men. This light which was produced by the life within the Messiah shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. As you continue reading the first chapter of this gospel you will John writing that the Light which John the Baptist came bearing witness of was the true Light, which lights every man which comes into the world. This Light sent from heaven was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. What’s more, is that this Light came unto His own, and His own received Him not. Despite the fact that His own received Him not, and despite the fact that the world knew Him not, this Life which was the Light of men gave power unto those who received them—power to become the sons of God, even to those which believed on His name. These who believed on His name and these who were given the right to become the sons of God were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. If you continue reading you will find the apostle John declaring concerning the Word that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we became His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, which was full of grace and truth. What’s more, is that you find the apostle John emphatically writing and declaring that of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace, for the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No. Man has seen God at any time, but the only begotten Son, which is in the Boston of the Father hath declared and made Him known unto us. These words help shine a tremendous light on to the reality of the Word which was in the beginning, the Word which was in the beginning with God, and the Word which was God. The words which we find within this passage are incredibly powerful when considering that which was written concerning Jesus the Christ, for they help bring us face to face with the awesome reality concerning Jesus—Jesus who was the eternal Son of God who existed with God in the beginning, and took on the form of human flesh in order that He might dwell among us.

As you continue to progress within the first chapter of this New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote concerning Jesus the Christ, you will find that while there is a great deal that was written concerning Jesus the Christ who was the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us, there is also a great deal that was written concerning John the Baptist who was the divine messenger which was sent by the living God in order that He might go before His face, thus making ready and preparing a people to receive Him when He appeared. When you come to the portion of this first chapter which was written by the apostle John concerning Jesus the Christ you will find the apostle also setting the divine messenger against the backdrop which was the Messiah in order that the reader might recognize and understand that before the Messiah ever appeared and before the Messiah was ever manifested within the earth, the messenger which was sent by God needed to appear first. In all reality, you cannot understand the appearance of the Messiah without first understanding the appearance and manifestation of the messenger, for it was the messenger who would pave the way, make ready and prepare a people to receive that One which would come after Him—that one which was the Light of the world and the Lamb of God. Consider if you will that which was written within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John concerning John the Baptist who was the divinely ordained and appointed messenger of the living God who was sent before the face of the Messiah:

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-7).

“John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the Boston of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John 1:15-18).

“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptized you with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” John 1:19-27).

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

“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” (John 1:35-36).

Within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John—not only do we encounter and come across that which was written concerning the Messiah, but we also come across and encounter that which was written concerning the divine messenger which was sent before the face of the Messiah in order that He might make ready and prepare a people to receive Him when He appeared and was manifested within the earth. What I happen to find so incredibly unique and powerful within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote was that in addition to that which was written about John, we also find present within this chapter the emphatic and bold declarations which John the Baptist made concerning Jesus the Christ at that time. The apostle John begins writing about John the Baptist by declaring that there was a man sent from God, whose name was John, and how this same came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. The apostle John would go on to write and declare that this John the Baptist was not that true Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. Verses six through eight are essentially a description concerning John the Baptist and concerning the ministry for which he was sent and appointed by the living God to fulfill and accomplish in the earth, however, the words and verses which we find thereafter concerning John the Baptist weren’t simply words written about John the Baptist, but presented us with the claims and declarations which John the Baptist made. While it is true we first encounter the reality that John the Baptist was a man sent from God, and who came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe, it is also true that John made it perfectly and abundantly clear when asked concerning his identity who he was and who he was not. This is in all reality an incredible thought to think about and consider, for John the Baptist not only knew who he was and the purpose for which he was sent, but he also recognized and understood who he was not. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible truth and reality, for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that not only must we know who we are, but we must also recognize and understand who we are not. What we find within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John is essentially a wonderful mini treatise concerning identity, for the apostle John brings us face to face with John the Baptist’s understanding concerning who he was, and the purpose for which he was sent. It was true that he was a man who was sent by God, yet despite the fact that he was a man sent from God, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the declarations John made concerning himself—namely, the purpose for which he had been sent, and who he was in relation to the Messiah.

KNOWING WHO YOU ARE IN RELATION TO THE MESSIAH! UNDERSTANDING YOUR IDENTITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE MESSIAH! If there is one thing I absolutely love when reading the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John, it’s that the entire Idenity of John the Baptist was intrinsically linked and connected to the Idenity and person of the Messiah. John the Baptist knew who He was, and knew who He was in direct proportion and relation to the Messiah who was preferred before Him, and who existed before him. The most incredible reality concerning John the Baptist and the declarations which he made concerning himself was that he was not the Messiah, and that He came as a witness to bear witness to the Messiah. The entire identity and person of John the Baptist as written and recorded in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote was wrapped up and bound in who the Messiah was. John the Baptist could not understand who he was without understanding and recognizing who the Messiah was, and he would not dare make any declaration or proclamation that did not point men and women to the reality concerning who the Messiah was, and concerning who the true Light of the world was. What we find and what we read concerning John the Baptist in this passage of Scripture is a wonderful study in identity—and not just identity, but identity as it is wrapped up and bound in the person of the Messiah who was the Lamb of God sent into the world to take away the sins of the world. There is not a doubt in my mind that the words which we find, and the words which we read in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John is not only a wonderful and powerful declaration concerning the Messiah, but it was also a powerful declaration and statement of Idenity, as the apostle seeks to set forth the awesome and wonderful reality concerning the identity of John the Baptist, and how his identity was wrapped up and bound in the idea of who the Messiah was. In fact, I would dare say that in order for John to know and understand who he was, he needed to first understand who the Messiah was. As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be gripped with and by the fact that we cannot truly understand who we are without and apart from understanding who the Messiah is, for it is only to the degree and measure of our understanding who the Messiah is that we can truly understand who we are. There are countless men and women who would seek to understand who they are without and apart from understanding who the Messiah is, and to do so would be to utterly and completely fail. I would propose and present unto you that any attempt to understand your identity without and apart from knowing and understanding who the Messiah is will fail, and will not only cast doubt on your identity, but will also create a tremendous amount of confusion within your heart and mind.

Reading the first chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written by the apostle John is in all reality a study in Idenity—not only in our Idenity as the sons of God, but also in the Idenity of John the Baptist who understood his Idenity in direct connection and relation to the person of Jesus the Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that John the Baptist could not truly understand who he was as the divine messenger of the Messiah without first understanding who the Messiah is, and who the Messiah was. Consider the fact that the apostle John writes and records John the Baptist as emphatically declaring, “This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me” (John 1:15). Consider the fact that when John asked who he was in order that the Pharisees and Sadducees might give an answer to those that sent them, he boldly proclaimed and declared, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias” (John 1:23). Furthermore, you will find the John the Baptist declaring, “I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (John 1:26-27). The apostle John goes on to write concerning John the Baptist how when He saw and beheld the Son of God walking in Judaea, he made the following declaration concerning the Messiah before those who were present with him by the river Jordan: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water…I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew Him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34). The apostle John would go on to record one more occasion in which John the Baptist would emphatically proclaim and declare concerning Jesus the Christ that He was indeed and was in fact the Lamb of God. Oh dear reader, please don’t miss the awesome and incredible reality concerning John the Baptist, for that which we find written concerning John the Baptist is in all reality a wonderful and powerful picture concerning one who truly understood and recognized who he was in direct relation and connection to the Messiah.

There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find in the New Testament gospel of John—and specifically in the first chapter—is a wonderful and powerful declaration of identity, as John the Baptist knew who the Messiah was, and because of his knowledge of who the Messiah was, he knew and understood who he as the divine messenger was. As we read the words which are written and recorded within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John, we must come face to face with the awesome truth and reality that our identity is not only intrinsically wrapped up in who the Messiah is, but also in our understanding who the Messiah is. John the Baptist knew who the Messiah was, and because he knew who the Messiah was, he was not only able to speak concerning the Messiah, but he was also able to speak freely concerning himself and who he was. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this incredible reality, for I am convinced that if we don’t know and if we don’t understand who the Messiah is, we cannot and will not understand who we are. Furthermore, I would dare state that any attempt to understand our identity without and apart from first understanding who the Messiah can and will utterly and completely fail, for our identity has never and will never be bound and wrapped up in and of ourselves. There are countless men and women who would make an attempt to understand who they are based on their lineage, based on their heritage, and based on other familial factors, and yet the truth of the matter is that we cannot truly understand who we are apart from understanding who the Messiah is in direct relation to our lives. The concept and reality of Idenity which was displayed before us in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John is absolutely and incredibly wonderful and powerful, for not only could John speak freely concerning the Messiah, but he was also able to speak freely concerning who he was. Oh beloved, please recognize and come face to face with the striking reality that until and unless we understand who the Messiah truly is, we cannot and will not be able to speak freely concerning Him, nor can we understand who we are and speak freely concerning our identity. John the Baptist was able to speak freely concerning who he was and who he was not because he understood who the Messiah was. It was this knowledge concerning who the Messiah was that allowed John the Baptist to be able to speak freely concerning himself, and not only understand who he was, but also that purpose for which he was sent into and upon the earth. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves when sitting here reading these words right now is whether or not we understand the Messiah and who the Messiah is, and whether or not we are able to understand our own identity in direct relation and connection to the Messiah. Make no mistake about it—if you do not know who the Messiah is, and if you cannot speak with conviction in your heart concerning the Messiah and His identity, you cannot understand your own Idenity and speak freely concerning that Idenity. It is only to the degree and measure that we understand the Idenity of the Messiah—the Lamb of God who is the eternal Son of God—that we are able to truly understand our own Idenity, and are able to speak concerning who we are and the purpose for which we were sent.

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