Marjorie on John 1:19-34

John the Baptist’s witness

I love verse 23 — the voice crying out in the wilderness… Who has not been this? Can you hear the anguish and loneliness and pain? Can we just shout back “I am here, with you”?

John the Baptist is exhorting them to ‘make straight the way of the Lord.’ In one discussion, I learned how John was expecting fire and brimstone and judgment from Jesus, he was so surprised by what he got he had to send messengers from prison to inquire whether Jesus was the one to come or whether there would be another (Luke 7:18-20; Matthew 11:2-3). We cry out, we try to prepare ourselves and others but we have no idea what to expect. When we think we know what to expect, we’re often wrong. Even those of us sent by God with a specific task (v.33 the one who sent me).

I suppose it makes sense that this passage follows the questions of the Pharisee’s as to the identity of John the Baptist. Everyone is looking for God but no one has any idea what he will look like.

I find it interesting that John’s clue as to the Messiah will be the one on whom the Spirit descends and remains. What does this mean? We may have moments of feeling the Spirit, but they are fleeting? That certainly resonates with me as I struggle along, trying to hold onto the gift of the Spirit for longer and longer each time and feeling like a failure each time it departs.

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3 responses

  1. Thanks for catching the bit about the spirit remaining. I had missed that.

  2. I’m very off-the-cuff with this study. As you can probably tell, I don’t spend that much time thinking about the passages and researching them, but I think this enables me to notice things I might not have otherwise. I also think that we’ve got a great mix of contributors that approach the scripture in different ways and we all grow as a result.As to the spirit remaining, perhaps a more scholarly approach would reveal that the original Greek (or was it Aramaic) actually meant something else and maybe I’m noticing irrelevent or non-existent things. Who knows, but its fun to follow these hunches.I’m going to start reviewing my notes from my fundy study of John, just to see the sorts of things I wrote. I glanced at it yesterday and found my jottings a bit distasteful.

  3. Stay “off the cuff”, Marjorie. You bring a rare spontaneity to Bible study (and everything else!). That is a gift of the Spirit.Re: holding on to the Spirit. We couldn’t breathe without the Spirit. It’s a matter of measure. “There’s that of God in everyone” means that God give us all breath, among other things.Then the give various additional measures of Spirit which we try to hold on to. I keep harping about the Pentecostals. They believe they’ve been “baptized in the Spirit” by the “baptizer”, Jesus Christ. They think it moves them up to a higher plane– and I’m sure they’re right.But the Spirit takes possession of each of us as long as we allow it. I for one have so many bad habits that habitually intrude and “quench the Spirit”.May the Spirit come among us and remain with us forever.

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