Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Subject: John the Baptist
In our last “Searching the Scriptures” we chronicled the Birth of Jesus. We exposed the errors, misconceptions, and veiled truths regarding the blessed “Redeemer” who was to come forth, born of a virgin, born in a stable, as the Lamb of God would undoubtedly be. Then Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem and then back home to Nazareth, where the wise men found him after nearly two years of searching and following the star. A most worthwhile study, indeed, and one which I trust the Lord revealed some special message unto you.
This next study, upon which we are about to embark, shall embrace the role of the “forerunner” of our Lord. The conception and birth of John the Baptist, his ministry, his witness toward the “Lamb of God”, his death, and his very words shall be examined. Rarely has this author seen any writings regarding John the Baptist, yet his ministry is second to none. He was without question the right man, at the right time, as appointed by God, who exclaimed, of the Saviour; “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worth to unloose.” John 1:27 It is my prayer that you may find pause to study and reflect upon the blessed personage of one chosen, from thewomb, to the service of God and the glory of our Lord and Saviour; John the Baptist
I would like to begin this study with the account of the birth of John the Baptist, in the book of Luke, as it reflects back and sheds light upon the birth of our Lord, as presented in our last study, The Birth of Jesus. Those of you who follow this ministry will recall that we established the birth of Jesus as between late April and early May. I pointed out that the Jewish calendar began with the month of Abib or Nisan, which began around the 5th of March. Further, it was pointed out that the angel Gabriel came to Mary, in the sixth month and that her cousin Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy. Additionally, according to the Jewish calendar, the sixth month would be the month of Elul, which is translated to us as between late August and early September. Then allowing for a gestation period of nine months, if we count from September and go the full nine months, we arrive at sometime in late April or early May as the time of the Birth of Jesus. Point being, that we are nowhere near December 25th, which we celebrate as the Birth of Jesus. I went on to explain the role of Constantine the Great in establishing the birth of Jesus as December 25th. And, his idolatrous method of attempting to homogenize his overture toward Christian belief with his consistent worship, of the pagan god Apollo.
To begin our study, we must turn to Luke Chapter 1, however because it is 80 verses long, I shall not burden you the writing of all 80 verses. I would suggest that you take the time to read them for your own spiritual enlightenment. Nevertheless, I will place emphasis on those selected verses necessary, in order to accommodate you readers and establish the point; which is the time frame of the birth of John the Baptist, as it correlates to the birth of Jesus.
Nothing silences the objections of the Pharisees and the unbeliever, than to quote scripture as it compares to scripture. In our last study we established beyond doubt, in my mind, the birth of Jesus as being in late April or early May. In the passages coming before us we shall see the testimony of scripture being compared with scripture, which proves beyond a doubt, our previous conviction.
Luke 1: 5—20 “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zecharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course. According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude, of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the Angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just: to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, whereby, shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife well stricken in years, and the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God: and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”
The important verses: #7; “And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.” #13 “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” #15; “For he shall be great in the sight of the
Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. Vs. 16; And many of the children of Israel shall he
turn to the Lord their God. Vs. 17: And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
One must note that Zacharias and Elizabeth were both “stricken” in years. Andyet the angel said; “thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John” Vs. 13. What a wonderful testimony is this, God hears our prayers! It may not come in the time frame we desire, but He never slights his children. God hears our prayers! We expect God to come down and present us with our petition, now! Our Lord visualizes, in an entirely different realm. Now, may not be the time for the manifestation of our prayer. It was certainly true with Zacharias and Elizabeth. They wanted a child, a son. One might assume they had given up all hope for the fulfillment of their dream; as they were well stricken in age. But nothing is impossible with God. Note the words of Gabriel; vs: 19 & 20: “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.” What a proclamation is this? Zacharias and Elizabeth obviously prayed endlessly for a child, yet it was withheld from them. Now Zacharias is told he is about to receive a son, and because he did not believe the words of the angel, he is struck dumb. One might ask why? I must say I pondered upon this question and the Holy Spirit revealed to me the answer. Zacharias lost sight of “faith”! He was focused upon the things of nature, “well stricken in age”, the external pilgrimage, rather than the spiritual experience, which reverberates; vs; 37, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Vs; 24—47; “And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail, thou that are highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob and of his Kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold,
thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in the those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda: And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
One might ask why the quotation of all the above scriptures? The answer is to merely establish beyond doubt, the approximate date of the birth of our Lord as being between the end of April and the beginning of May. Not December 25th. One must understand that writing scriptural truths are under a constant barrage of enemy fire, not only from non-Christians, but even more so from the Scribes and Pharisees of our day. We are talking about professing Christians, the hierarchy of the Church, and those occupying the pulpit. They do not wish to be challenged. We must therefore establish beyond doubt our finding, as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and proclaim them to those receptive to his teaching.
Returning to our subject, let us examine the time frame of the birth of John the Baptist with that of the birth of Jesus. The scriptures are quite explicit in stating that Jesus was conceived in the “sixth” month, which according to the Jewish calendar was the month of Elul, which was between late April or early May. We are now confronted with the fact that Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy of John the Baptist when Mary came to visit her cousin. Luke 1: 39—44: And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country, with haste, into a city of Juda: And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb (the womb of Elizabeth): and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost; And she spake out with a loud voice, and said. Blessed art thou (Mary) among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”
Let us return to Luke 1 vs; 24—27; “And after those days his (Zacharias), wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying; “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men”. And, in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary.”
Therefore we see that John the Baptist was conceived and born six month before Jesus. This brings us to the obvious conclusion that John the Baptist was born sometime in November or December in accordance with our secular calendar. How interesting that we unknowingly acknowledge the birth of John the Baptist at the end of our calendar year and subscribe it to the birth of Jesus?? Particularly when we now know that Christ was born in late April or early May. How far has man come from the teachings of God’s Holy Word? Alas! We proclaim with the apostle; “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth”; 2nd Timothy. 3:15.
I wish to take up one other point before moving on to the ministry of John the Baptist. Luke 1: 15: “For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb (That is Elizabeth’s womb). Vs. 44: (We then have Elizabeth speaking); “For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy (Mary’s) salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe (John the Baptist) leaped in my womb for joy. I bring attention to this to illustrate the fact that John the Baptist recognized Jesus “from his mother’s womb”. Both of these babies were in the fetus stage of development, both in their mother’s wombs, yet they recognized one to another. How marvelous to the glory of our Lord and damning to the proponents, of our day, who embrace abortion. Jesus, who had recently been conceived and John who was in his second trimester recognized one another.
Now that we have previewed the conception and birth of John the Baptist, let us now take a look at his ministry. As always necessary, we must begin where the Scriptures take us; first the prophesy: “Isaiah 40: 3: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This in itself, is amazing to me, Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years beforehand, the ministry of John the Baptist. Yet many question the authenticity of the Bible. Who but God, Himself, can articulate the beginning before the end or the end before the beginning?? Matthew 3: 1—4; “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias ( Isaiah) saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Several things must be considered as we look upon this man, John the Baptist. First as stated above, his ministry was predicted over seven hundred years before his birth in Isaiah 40. Secondly, his birth was a direct manifestation of God, as the angel Gabriel announced to Zacharias and Elizabeth, that although in their senior years, they should be blessed with a son. Luke 1:13. And he should be filled with the Holy Ghost from this mother’s womb, Luke 1:15.
Further that he was sent by God: John 1:6—17; “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, (Jesus) that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to him gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him and cried, saying. This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
He (John the Baptist) was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. (Matt. 3:3), “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (Isaiah), saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” Our Lord himself said: Matt; 11:11 “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:” Keeping in mind, that it was John the Baptist who was accorded the high honor of baptizing our Lord Jesus in the river Jordan. Christ, a man who had no sin. Even John himself said, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Matt. 3: 14—15.
To detract from John the Baptist for just a moment, please remember the goal and quest of Christ Jesus was to fulfill the law and the scriptures. Even from the cross, and through His sufferings, His mind and thoughts went through all the prophets and prophesies and He remembered one last thing. Psalm 69: 16—21: “Hear me, O Lord: for thy lovingkindness is good; turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. And hide not thy face from thy servant: for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. Thou has known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat: and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Christ always sought to fulfill the scriptures. Thus with John at the river Jordan, Christ said: “suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” And thus it was upon the cross, as all the scriptures must needs be fulfilled, Christ remembered one last thing, the prophesy of Psalm 21: and He stated; “I Thirst” and they gave Him vinegar to drink…Praise our Lord, that He fulfilled, so that we may be filled-full of all His wonderful blessings
Matthew 3: 13; “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias saying; The voice of one crying in the wilderness…” Why would John be preaching “in the wilderness”? The answer is once again so simple that we miss it. He was preaching in the wilderness because the wilderness symbolized the spiritual barrenness of the Jewish nation. The city was corrupt both politically and religiously. John was outside the religious systems of that day. He had not been trained in the schools of the Rabbis, he had held no position of honor in the temple ministrations, and he was not identified with the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees or the rulers of Parliament. From whence then had he received his authority? Who had commissioned him to go forth bidding men to “repent.” (A.W. Pink) Of course they challenged him asking “Who art thou?” John 1: 19—23 “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then” Art thou Elias” And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet” And he answered, No. Then said they unto him; Who art thou” that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
When John referred to himself as “the voice”, he employed the very term which the Holy Spirit had used of him seven hundred years earlier, when speaking through Isaiah the prophet—“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isa. 40:3). A.W. Pink describes it well: “We cannot but believe this appellation was selected with Divine discrimination. When commenting upon the titles of the Lord Jesus, found in John 1:7—“The Light”—we called attention to the fact that Christ referred to His forerunner (in evident contrast from Himself as “the light”) as “the lamp that burneth and shineth” (John 5:35, R.V.). And so here, we are satisfied that another contrast is pointed. Christ is “the Word;” John was but “the voice.”
The object of his mission and the purpose of his ministry was to bear witness to the “Word.” Again, the voice is simply heard but not seen. John was not seeking to display himself. His work was to get men to listen to his God-given message in order that they might “behold the Lamb.” May the Lord today make more of His servants John-like; just “voices,” heard but not seen! Finally, we may add, that the word endures after the voice is silent. The voice of John has long since been stilled by death, but “the Word” abideth forever. Appropriately, then, was the one who introduced the Messiah to Israel, termed the “voice.” What wonderful depths there are in the Scriptures! How much is contained in a single word! And how this calls for prolonged mediation and humble prayer!
We therefore find that John the Baptist denied that he was a great prophet. He was not some outstanding oratory. He was a man sent from God to do a specific job. And he performed it well. His display of humbleness, however, sends a lesson to each of us as Christians. John 1: 24—27. “And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him. Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, not Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worth to unloose.” What a tremendous testimony! John did not boast about his ministry, his enlightened spirituality or denounce them for their spiritual ignorance and blindness. He proclaimed; “He it is, who coming after me is peferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worth to unloose.” Lo, if we could only find this type of humbleness in our churches today.
John 1: 29,30, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.” The next day, after what? The day after the representatives of the Pharisees had questioned John as to who he was. John says; “Behold, the lamb of God”. This is most interesting because the Pharisees were looking for a “prophet”. “Art thou that prophet?” vs.21, or a King/Christ/Messiah, vs. 25 to free them from the oppression of the Romans. They were not seeking a Saviour-priest, which is the one thing they most sorely needed. THE LAMB expresses the Spirit of God presenting the Lord Jesus to Israel, in the very office and character in which they stood in deepest need of Him. They would welcome Him on the throne, but first they must accept Him, on the alter. The same is true today. He will be tolerated as a social reformer, a great prophet, a teacher of ethics. But what the world needs first and foremost is the Christ of the Cross, where the Lamb of God offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin.
“Behold the lamb of God.” Before John stood the One whom all the sacrifices of the Old Testament had foreshadowed. Observe the progressive order followed by God in the teaching of Scripture concerning “the lamb.” First, in Gen. 4, we have the Lamb typified in the firstlings of the flock slain by Abel in sacrifice. Second, we have the Lamb prophesied in Gen. 22:8 where Abraham said to his son Isaac, “God will provide himself a lamb.” Third, in Ex. 12, we have the Lamb slain and its blood applied. Fourth, in Isa. 53:7, we have the Lamb personified: here for the first time we learn that the Lamb would be a Man. Fifth, in John 1:29, we have the Lamb identified, learning who He was. Sixth, in Rev. 5, we have the Lamb magnified by the hosts of heaven, Seventh, in the last chapter of the Bible we have the Lamb glorified, seated upon the eternal throne of God, Rev. 22:1 Further, mark the orderly development in the scope of the sacrifices. In Gen. 4 sacrifice is offered for the individual; Abel. In Ex. 12 the sacrifice avails for the whole household. In Lev. 16, on the annual Day of Atonement, the sacrifice was efficacious for the entire nation. But here in John 1:29 it is “Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”; Gentiles are embraced as well as Jews!
“Behold the Lamb of God.” What are the thoughts suggested by this title? It points to His moral perfections, His sinlessness, for He was the “lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:19). It tells of His gentleness, His voluntary offering Himself to God on our behalf – He was “led” (not driven) as “a lamb to the slaughter” (Acts 8:2, R.V.). But, more especially, and particularly, this title of our Lord speaks of His sacrifice – He was “the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” and this could only be through death, for “without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22). There was only one way by which sin could be taken away, and that was by death. “Sin” here signifies guilt (condemnation) as in Heb. 9:26.
John 1: 29—34; “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said; After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I know him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me; upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
Here the witness of John the Baptist to the person of Christ ends. It is to be noted that the forerunner bore a seven-fold witness to the excellency of the One he heralded. First, he testified to His pre-existence; “He was before me,” v. 30. Second, He testified to His Lordship, v. 23 & 34. Third, he testified to His immeasurable superiority; “I am not worthy to unloose” His “shoe’s latchet,” v. 27. Fourth, he testified to His sacrificial work; “Behold the lamb,” v. 29. Fifth, he testified to His moral perfections; “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him,: v. 32. Sixth, he testified to His Divine right to baptize with the Holy spirit, v. 33. Seventh, he testified to His Divine Sonship, v. 34.
We must ascribe much of the above several paragraphs to the pen of A.W. Pink and his god-given ministry, a work indeed, well done. May, he rest in peace.
A noteworthy event took place while John was in prison, just prior to his death. Matthew 11: 2—3, “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples; and said unto him. Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” You will recall,the Baptist himself stated, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” John 1: 32. Further; “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” Vs.33. “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” Vs.34. This is the man who was the forerunner of Christ, the man whose mission was to prepare a way, whose witness was to testify of Jesus. Yet, we see in Matt. 11: 3, he asked, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another.”
John questioned! He knew in his heart that this was Jesus the Christ, this was his mission, his witness, his testimony, he “bore record”. Yet there remained an element of doubt. The human nature of man inevitably raises its ugly head. Just as each of us has at one time or another doubted, or questioned our faith, here we see the human side of John the Baptist. Even he paused to wonder.
The reply of Jesus was equally remarkable. Matt. 11: 4—5, “Jesus answered and said unto them (John’s disciples) Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
One must ask; what kind of answer is this? Why not a simple yes or no? What is the significance? Jesus taught in parables. What is a parable?: An earthly saying with a heavenly meaning. Christ was speaking a parable to John, which only he (John) could understand. Just as the Disciples of Christ did not understand His sayings until He either explained them to them, or when the Holy Ghost gave unto them spiritual discernment and understanding. Let us go back again seven hundred years to the writings of Isaiah and prophesy regarding Jesus. Isa. 35: 4—6, “He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart (male deer) and the tongue of the dumb sing:”
Jesus was proclaiming to John His credentials as the Holy One. What were those credentials; His “works”. John 5: 36, “But I have greater witness than that of John (the Baptist): for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” Ch. 10: 25 “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”
Note that Jesus did not rebuke John for doubting. He answered him in a way only John could understand, by testifying to His works. Just as only true Christians, by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and prayerful petitions, can discern portions of the “Word”. None of us can discern all of the Scripture, only the Triune God Head; that is, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit can do so. 1st Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
It is my prayer that you have gleaned more knowledge and understanding of God’s Holy Word as a result of the Study of John the Baptist. May God bless you in your quest to learn more and grow in grace and knowledge of Our Lord. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2nd Timothy 3:16.