August 8, 2020
John 1:28-34 (NIV)
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Unless Jesus is revealed to us, we stand no chance of recognizing him. Sure, we can read about him from the pages of Scripture. Others can preach, teach, and otherwise tell us about him until they are blue in the face and we can be confident we have understood them perfectly. In fact, we can give our mental, intellectual, and even willful assent to all of the truth and truths concerning him. Still, unless Jesus is revealed to us, we stand no chance of recognizing him. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal Jesus to us.
Now, to be sure, the Holy Spirit can reveal Jesus to us through reading Scripture or through the witness of others or by teaching and preaching and so forth. It is important that we realize that just because these things are happening and just because their essential content is accurate does not mean Jesus is being revealed by the Holy Spirit.
And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
The Holy Spirit revealed the truth about Jesus to John—and to everyone who has ever truly known him since. Note how it worked. The Spirit revealed and John recognized. We will see this pattern unfold many times with particular people before this Gospel is done.
Since the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit has been laboring to reveal Jesus to the whole world. The big question is: Who will recognize him? And among those who recognize him, who will receive him? Yes, these are the questions.
Many among us have accepted the truth about Jesus, but their faith has never gone anywhere beyond that. Perhaps you thought that was the end of it—accept Jesus and go to heaven when you die. There is so much more. Does the Bible even ask us to accept Jesus? The gospel is just the opposite, isn’t it? After all that has happened, that God accepts us is the miracle. The biblical invitation, as we will see, is to receive Jesus; to welcome him into the deepest place in our lives and cede him control. It is a journey of responding to revelation.
Abba Father, thank you for your Son, Jesus, the one who is both the revealer and the revelation. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I might more deeply perceive the depths of who he is. It is in his name I pray, amen.
- What keeps people from recognizing Jesus?
- Is your faith in Jesus grounded more in an intellectual assent to the truths about Jesus or has Jesus been revealed to you as the Truth? See the difference?
- If it is the Spirit who reveals Jesus and people who recognize him, what is our part in the process, if any?
For the Awakening,