God as Man, in the Spirit, before me. JOHN 1: 30-32

30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. JOHN 1:30-32 ESV 30

οὗτός ἐστιν ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον· Ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεται ἀνὴρ ὃς ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν· 31 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τῷ Ἰσραὴλ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον ἐγ ἐν ὕδατι βαπτίζων. 32 καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης λέγων ὅτι Τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον ὡς περιστερὰν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐπʼ αὐτόν· JOHN 1: 30-32 SBLGNT

As we continue with the previous narrative, within the second day, after The Baptist had spoken with the Jewish delegation from Jerusalem, we see how he now reveals, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ Linking the earlier narrative in verse 27, which retrospectively accomplished his proclamation. This proclamation is unique to this Gospel in vv 15,17 and 30, never in its retrospective setting, and we can only conjecture what that setting may have been. In verse 15, he testifies that Jesus “was before me,” something none of the hearers in “Bethany, beyond the Jordan” would have understood, but something the readers of the Gospel would have because of the opening verses in 1-5.

After presenting Jesus as “Lamb of God.”He now further identifies him as “a man.” Hence, this is the Truth that is part of John witnessing as he calls Jesus as the Messiah, the promised and fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies, that testimony and witness are further compounded by the reality of the Messiah in human form.

God in human form. Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary, writes

“John 1:30 is a restatement of John 1:15, emphasizing again John the Baptist’s claim of the priority of Christ. John admitted that he did not know his own cousin was the Messiah until Jesus’ baptism in the desert.”

The baptism of Jesus in the Gospel of Matt. 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–22, took place before this announcement of John 1: 32. The purpose of his baptism, according to Jesus himself, was to fulfil all righteousness—to demonstrate his consecration to the heavenly Father and approval by him. God had given John a direct revelation, telling him that when he saw the dove come down during the baptism, he would know the Son of God.

Marcus Dods, in his book, “The Gospel of Saint John,” treats the union of the Son and Spirit in the charming language of an earlier day:

Why was the Spirit needed in a personality of which the Word, who had been with God and known God, was the basis? Because the humanity of Christ was a true humanity. Being human, he must be indebted to the Spirit for all impartation to His human nature of what is Divine. The knowledge of God which the Word possesses by experience must be humanly apprehended before it can be communicated to men; and this human apprehension can only be arrived at in the case of Christ by the enlightenment of the Spirit … By the Spirit He was enlightened to speak of things divine; and this Spirit, interposed, as it were, between the Word and the human nature of Jesus, was as little cumbrous in its operation or perceptible in consciousness as our breath interposed between the thinking mind and the words we speak to declare our mind.”

These verses not only provide a sublimation to the earlier verse, offering the Truth in the evidence revealed. As The Baptist spoke “as a voice calling in the wilderness,” bore witness to the Jews and revelation as he saw Jesus approaching from afar.

Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary, provides an eloquent summary,

“John, the Gospel writer, continues chapter 1 in high drama. The first people who saw Jesus as the Messiah observed him not in monarchial splendour but as a Lamb. John the Baptist tells us this Lamb came to take away the sin of the world, that he first revealed himself to Israel, and that he is the Son of God. It would have been easy to speak in lofty theological language of Old Testament themes. Nevertheless, John wanted no misunderstanding among his hearers, either disciples or religious leaders, so he affirmed what he knew: I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

Therefore, Christians today live in a period where all that has been prophesied has been fulfilled. The consistency of the narrative recorded prior to the moment John the Baptist bore witness has been consistent and logical, without any divergence or excuse, from the narrative. Jesus has come, and all that had been foretold has been relevant and truthful. God has kept his promise.

Many people have sought to disprove the historical proof of the existence of Christ and find comfort in finding inconsequential and irrelevant inconsistencies of the Old Testament. However, they forget that many attempts have been made, and Scripture has stood the test of time and every attempt to disprove it. Even within this particular timeframe of John the Baptist and his ministry, preparing the way of the Christ, many did not believe in realizing the events being foretold and proclaimed by The Baptist were unfolding.

Has humanity changed from the time of The Baptist? I fear not, as many today consistently seek their prognosis of the Truth. However, this approach cannot be argued if the seeker is willing to set aside his presuppositions and allow the Truth to be revealed. We do it all the time when we are learning something new. Example: when you buy the latest, new hi-tech artificial intelligent computer, which requires a specific manner to operate. How many of us expect to be able to use it if we have no idea what the ‘truth’ is revealed in its operation. Are we willing to simply apply whatever we presuppose from our expertise of using an old computer? Obviously not, and we would try eagerly to find all needed to know how to operate this latest gadgetry.

If we seek the Truth of the greatest question in our purpose, existence, and destiny, why do we presuppose the answer before seeking the Truth? Unfortunately, that is the weakest attribute of every person today. We all want something, and whatever we seek must fit ‘our’ mould.

We will never find the ‘truth’ until we have set aside our ‘selves’ and empty ourselves of our needs and desires. Only then, when we have ‘cleansed’ our house, can the Spirit of the Lord indwell and reveal the Truth to you.

Seek the Truth by Setting aside our subjective desires for what the Truth is; only then will the Truth be revealed and indwelled within your very essence.


Categories: christianity, english, Gospel of John

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