Matthew 3

John 1-4

From Darkness into the Light

 In Chapter 3 we read of the ministry of John the Baptist. John was chosen by God to identify God’s Messenger to the world as we read in Malachi 3:1. When Jesus was baptized by John he saw the heavens open and the Spirit of God descending on Jesus as a dove. In Matthew 3:17 John tells us, “And behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” NASB

In John 1, John the Baptist tells us the story of the Baptism of Jesus.  Since John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance does that mean Jesus needed to repent? The answer is no, not at all. John tells us that he was to identify the messenger spoken of in Malachi 3 to the world. Jesus, John said is the, “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29b NASB

John did not know who God’s chosen Messenger was until he saw the heavens open and the Spirit of God rest on Jesus.  The religious rulers sent priests and Levites to John to ask who he was and why he was baptizing. His testimony will be a witness for Jesus in John 5.

When John identified Jesus to his disciples some of them started to follow Jesus. They also will be witnesses. Jesus has not yet begun His public ministry but in Chapter 2 of John we read that Jesus suddenly appears in the Temple and drives out those who are exchanging money and selling sheep and oxen. This also fulfills Malachi 3:1. We are told that while He was in Jerusalem He was doing signs and many people believed in Him. That brings us to Chapter 3 of the book of John.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He came to Jesus at night to see who Jesus was. Jesus told him that he must be born again and the discussion continues to John 3:16 the most familiar verse in the Bible. However, it is the verses that follow that will determine if one really makes the decision to be “Born Again.”

Nicodemus knew Jesus was from God because of the signs Jesus was doing. When he came to Jesus at night this action is descriptive of Nicodemus being in the dark. The deeds of darkness, (verse 19), that the religious rulers were doing was a judgmental legalism. They taught that salvation was based on works. In John 8:12 Jesus says He is the light of the world. The context of John 8:1-11 perfectly illustrates the difference between the religious rulers walking in darkness contrasted with the heart of God represented by the light of Christ.  The actions the religious rulers were taking were based on a false understanding of God and the Law. Hence their actions were evil. Jesus, the exact representation of God’s nature, (Hebrews 1:3) was showing the true heart of God in the actions He took. He was shining the light.

If we are to be born again we need to put away the old thinking and actions and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus put it this way in Luke 9:23, “…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” NASB

There is a tendency for people to try to make Jesus conform to their actions and beliefs. To do this is to remain in the darkness. This is the worst kind of deception because it is self-deception. At the very least it limits how far one can go in their relationship with Jesus.

Denying self and taking up the cross is clearly illustrated in John 4 when the woman at the well encounters Jesus and her life is radically changed as a result. She is an example of what being born again looks like.

We will leave it there for now but let me ask this. Are you born again? Are you hiding in the ways of the world or have you come out into the light? I encourage you to prayerfully read John 3:17-21.  Also John 8:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, and 1 John 1:1-10.

Walk in the Light!

Pastor Dave