August 18 – John 1:19-34
This week we return to our study of the Gospel of John. Check out the Series Intro for an overview of the next 14 weeks. Since we’ll be hanging out in John for so long, I’d encourage you to dive into the book of John and access some of the resources on the Series Intro. Take a few minutes sometime this week to watch the Gospel Project videos there, they’ll provide you with a solid overview of the book. Even if you’ve seen them before, it’s a great refresher.
Our section for discussion this week comes right after John 1:1-18, which is known as the Prologue or the Hymn of the Word, which we discussed earlier this year. In 1:19 John kicks off the actual narrative of his Gospel, beginning with the testimony of John the Baptist. Instigated by a probing inquiry from the Pharisees, John explains who he is and who he is not, while clueing us in on who Jesus is. It’s pretty remarkable how much John talks about Jesus as he explains himself. In summary he responds, “I’m here to send everyone to Jesus. I’m only here because he’s here.”
There are a bunch of takeaways from this passage. Foremost are the statements John makes about Jesus: he’s mightily important (v.27), the lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world (v.29), both sealed with the Spirit (v.32) and the giver of the Spirit (v.33), the very Son of God himself (v.34). This passage gives us an incredibly high view of Jesus, and as John communicates it we get a sense of awe and worship from him. He confesses multiple times that Jesus is over and before him, communicating what he will declare later in chapter 3, “Jesus must increase, but I must decrease.” If ever a man knew his true place in the Kingdom of God, it was John the Baptist. He got the singular privilege of making way for Jesus, and yet he wanted no attention for himself. We all have something to learn from him on this subject.
For further study, check out Isaiah 40:3-11 to get a real picture for what John is referencing when he says he is a “voice crying in the wilderness.”
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read John 1:19-34 for us?
• What stood out to you from this section?
• What are some significant points in what John confesses here?
• How does John explain his own purpose on earth?
• The Pharisees ask John about himself, but he keeps talking about Jesus. Why do you think he does that?
• What does this section teach us about Jesus?
• How can this section help us understand ourselves and our purpose on earth?