Mike Gerhardt, 9-20-2020, Series in John, Welcome back to this building! Thankfully, we never stopped worship together whether it was online, at the Drive-In, or around a table, the church has been meeting together!! Ever Feel Left Out, John 3:22-36. Maybe it was a pickup game of baseball, maybe a science project that 3 of your best friends decided to do together without you, maybe there was a block party on your street but somehow, they forgot to tell you. The experience of being left out is sad and difficult. Some have testified to me that they once walked into a church for the first time in years and did not go back because they felt ignored and left out. One thing about God’s Kingdom is that He wants everyone to know that no one should feel left out. We will be reading about John the baptizer. When Jesus began His ministry, I am sure John’s disciples were feeling left out. Verses 22-26 Why do we wash? Microbiology is a relatively new science. It has been about 200 years since someone first theorized tiny little animals swimming around in our saliva. We now have pictures of them, though not worthy of a coffee table picture book. Tiny creatures, we call germs, bacteria, micro-organisms, viruses that make you sick and can cause death. BUT remind yourself that there are GOOD bacteria that we cannot live without!!
I took one college biology course and we took some of our saliva and looked at it under a microscope. You cannot unsee that!! These things can live on your hands, in your hair, in your sweat, in your mucus – and that is why we wash. God told the nation of Israel over 3000 years ago, ahead of all other societies, to wash their hands, before they were to handle their food and sacrifices. God even told them to wash the utensils. Other nations copied their practice but hardly anyone could tell you why they washed except that God told them to do so. Washing clothes Nu 31:24, Lev 6:27; Lev 11:24-28,39-40; Lev 13:58; Lev 14:43-47; Nu 19:21; Bathing Lev 14:8-9 Lev 15:4-13,27; Lev 16:26-28; Lev 17:15; Nu 19:7-8; Dt 23:9-11; 2Ki 5:9-14; Ps 51:7; Sprinkling with the water of purification Nu 19:17-19 Nu 8:5-7; Nu 19:13; Eze 36:24-25 Washing hands and feet Ex 30:17-21 Ex 40:30-32; Dt 21:6-9. God’s people were ahead of science in keeping germs away. John was baptizing about 20 miles north of where Jesus was, just west of the Jordan River, because there was plenty of water. This gives credibility to the argument that immersion was the method of baptism instead of pouring or sprinkling. A certain Jew brought up the dispute whether baptism was a ceremonial washing, meaning isn’t this for the Jewish leaders to do? John’s disciples took offense with the dispute and the fact that Jesus’ disciples were baptizing more than they were. They were thinking OUR JOB is to baptize people, why are Jesus’ disciples taking over? The reality is that all our ministries have time limits. When we were here last Saturday working on the sound room, there were many tasks that were finished because of all the help. I like it when tasks get completed. When it is done, I am ready to move on to the next one. John the Baptizer was completing his task of being the forerunner of the Messiah. His job was ending, his purpose was finishing, he was in transition. It was especially difficult for John’s disciples. They gave up everything to follow John. They didn’t want to quit. John reminded them of their purpose. We need to be reminded of our purpose too. We are here to do the will of God. We serve at His pleasure. The good news is that he has a job for each of you that only you can do. No one is left out, skipped over, not pick, or forgotten. God’s job market has plenty of opportunities. Yet I have noticed that, just like the rest of the world, there are jobs that no one seems to want. AND there are some jobs that we all can do! Read Verses 27-30 Why do we serve the King? Serving God should be different than serving a corporation. Talk about health insurance: God will be with you in sickness and in health. Then there is retirement in heaven, job security while here on earth and in heaven, job fulfillment, the benefits of joy & contentment, and a working community. Understanding your job is important. After Jesus was baptized, He was sent into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and tempted by Satan. The synoptic gospels all seem to have John in prison when Jesus began his public ministry: Mark 1:14, Matthew 4:12, Luke 3:19. The writer John mentioned this period when the two had a parallel ministry. For some, it looked like a competition. But John the baptizer saw it like the best man at the wedding of Jesus and His bride the church. Years ago, I use to cry at weddings. I saw my best friends end their freestyle relationship with me and marry some girl they hardly knew. That meant there would be no more midnight bowling, last minutes ski trips, all-night indoor archery, or shooting pool. I wasn’t gaining anything; I was losing a friend. If I were asked to be part of the wedding party, I would mourn for weeks and bring tissues to the event. It was embarrassing as the best man. John was losing his position to his cousin and friend Jesus. He must become greater; I must become less. The Greek translates, He must grow to the highest position. Jesus is to be exalted. Read 31-36 this section may be the author’s words like verses 16-21. We question if these are John’s words because in Luke 7:19 when John the baptizer was in jail, he sent two disciples to Jesus to ask specifically, Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else? The words here are definitive with no ambiguity.
39 times in John’s gospel Jesus is referred to as being sent from God the Father. This affirms Jesus’ deity as God the Son. He is of heavenly origin. It was God’s sovereignty and love that initiated the Son’s incarnation. For God so loved the world, He sent his one and only son… Jesus comes from God the Father with all the authority of heaven. God the Father did not send His son in anger to destroy humanity. God’s wrath is the settled conclusion for all who sin. It is not a sudden gust of passion or burst of temper as we see in ourselves. The only time God’s wrath appears in John’s gospel or in John’s letters is here! God’s love and offer of salvation take precedence! Trust in the Son of God or Reject the Son. Endless sin and disobedience will result in endless separation. Jesus came from heaven, with the authority and the power of God the Father, and provided salvation in His blood for all who would trust him as their Savior and Lord. John the Baptizer knew that and yielded his ministry and disciples to Jesus.
Alexandra Flynn of Freemont, Nebraska went to her homecoming dance in 2002 but she forgot her school ID. Because of some local threats, there was security at every door. She was refused admission. She went home to get it but could not find her ID. Returning with tickets in hand and her mother who had ID, she was still refused. Alex at the time was the Student Body President, played cello in the orchestra, on the honor roll, the number one cheerleader, decorated the gym for the dance, AND was the homecoming queen, but she was refused admittance. She never did get in. In a similar way, getting into heaven isn’t a matter of our good deeds & accomplishments. Without Jesus as our Savior, we have no ID to get into heaven. Don’t feel left out.