John the Baptist is almost the invisible man in the story of Jesus. John the apostle sought to put him in his rightful place. He was one of the greats, but some gave him a higher adulation than should have been and clearly it wasn't something he encouraged. However, John the Baptist was a prophet and Israel had not seen or heard one of those for over 400 years! He came as a New Testament Elijah to prepare the way. He was closely related to Jesus and always viewed himself as having the role of the signpost, pointing the way to Christ. So what made Jesus Christ completely superior to this great prophet? In these verses we can read the word 'witness' or 'testimony'. The fourth Gospel presents us with EIGHT witnesses who will TESTIFY that Jesus is God: 1. The witness of the Father God. Remember at Jesus' baptism the voice which came from heaven: ''This is my beloved son''? 2. The witness of Jesus Himself. He claimed repeatedly that He was the Son of God, so making our decision, as C S Lewis wrote: 'You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse'. 3. There is the testimony of His works. Not only did Jesus perform astonishing miracles, He lived His whole life in service to others and to His Father. 4. There is the witness of Scripture. When we read prophecies such as Isaiah 53, written 600 years before Jesus was born, we can only take it as speaking of Him. 5. There is the testimony of the man here, John the Baptist, the last of the prophets. He testified that He saw the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus. 6. There is the witness of those with whom He came in contact with. The woman of Samaria, the man born blind, the lepers, the demon-possessed. There is a legend which tells that when Jesus was hauled before the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, witnesses were sought to testify against Him. However, repeatedly people they approached, told of the great things He had done for them, setting them free in body, mind and spirit. 7. The testimony of the disciples including this man writing the Gospel. 8. The witness of the Holy Spirit. To Jews the Spirit had two functions: He brought God's truth to people and He enabled them to recognize the truth when they saw it. When we think this Christmas-tide of the baby laying in the manger, remind yourself that this babe was the mind of God FULLY REVEALED for all people!!
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