John 1:29-34 - The Third Witness of John the Baptist

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“The Third Witness of John the Baptist”

John 1:29-34

Introduction – The Christmas Story

Greg Laurie – (Everyday with Jesus), p. 17

“Long before their was a planet earth, long before a man named Adam and a woman named Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in a garden named Eden, long before Bethlehem was founded…a decision was made in eternity that Jesus Christ would come to this earth as a man and walk among us, die on the cross, and rise again on the third day.

The stunning truth is, God designed the Christmas story to make provision for our sins and failures even before there was a you & me.”

Revelation 13:8 makes this clear: “The Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world.”

C.S.Lewis explained, “The Son of God became of man that men might become sons of God.”

Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden did not surprise God; even before the creation of the world, God knew that He would have to make provision for our sins. 

The Scriptures say why Jesus came to this sinful, corrupted world, where He would be ridiculed, mocked, beaten, & murdered on a Cross at Calvary, the reason is as Paul stated,

                “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” 1 Tim.1:15

I.                   Christ is the Lamb of God—1:29

The Lamb is a picture of Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us.

For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)

A.      Historically—refers back to the time when God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage (Ex.11:1ff.).

The Tenth Plague: Death Announced to the Firstborn (Exodus 11:1-10).              

                Instructions for the Passover (Exodus 12:1-14)

                The Participation in the Passover (Exodus 12:21-28)

1.       God had pronounced judgment upon Egypt, to take the first born.

2.       Those who believed God were instructed to kill a pure lamb and sprinkle its blood over their doorposts.

3.       The blood of the innocent lamb would serve as a sign that the coming judgment had already taken place.

4.       Seeing the blood, God would pass over that house & those in the house would be saved.

5.       Those who did not believe did not apply the blood to their homes and their firstborn were killed.


In participating in the Passover, Jew’s would think back when God told them to take a lamb, slay it, and put the blood on their doorposts.

Many Jewish homes would take this lamb into the house as a pet.


Can you imagine having to sacrifice your dog?  Or your favorite cat? 

                They intentionally had to do this so that the real affection would develop between the people and the lamb, thus heightening the sense of loss when the animal was finally killed

                They would feel the pain of it and realize the pain God felt when they sinned against Him.

There is an interesting progression in commands about the Passover lamb (see Exodus 12:3-5)

1.       First God said take “a lamb” (v.3)

2.       Then “the lamb” (v.4)

3.       Then “your lamb” (v.5) thus, moving from the impersonal to the personal

This is how we come to know God

1.       We realize there is a God out their – A Lamb

2.       We realize He is “The Lamb of God”


3.       Then I realize He is “my” Lamb – I take Him as my own.

Is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God your God?

B.      Symbolically—the Passover pictured the coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior.

The Lamb without blemish pictured His sinless life (John 1:29 cf. 2 Cor. 5:21)

The blood sprinkled on the door posts pictured His blood shed for the believer.

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.  "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28 NKJV)

1.       This was a sign that the life & the blood of the innocent lamb had been substituted for the firstborn.

2.       The eating of the lamb pictured the spiritual nourishment gained by feeding on Christ, the Bread of life

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life (John 6:48).

We must “let the words of Christ dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16).

3.       The unleavened bread (bread without yeast) pictured the need of putting evil out of one’s life & household.

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

The Point of the Passage

                It was the shedding of the blood, the blood of the lamb that saved the people.

1.       The lamb was a substitute for the people.

2.       The lamb symbolized Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us.

3.       If we believe and apply His blood to our hearts & homes He saves us.

4.       If we do not believe & apply His blood to our hearts & homes, we will be destroyed

5.       It was the lamb of God (Jesus) who was sacrificed for us on our behalf

6.       It is His blood that saves us.

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

The Lamb is a picture of the precious blood of Christ, which redeems us.


We have victory over Satan through the Blood of Christ (Revelation 12:11)

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11 NKJV)

We have been redeemed and purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ!

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?   For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV)

Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV)

A.      Historically - two lambs were sacrificed “day by day continually…the one…in the morning; and the other…at eve”

Exodus 29:38-39

1.       Symbolically, the sins of the people were placed upon the two animals.

2.       Symbolically, they bore the judgment of the peoples sin, which was death, the shedding of blood.

3.       They were sacrificed for sin, & by their death, they symbolically set the people free from their sins.

Note the Critical Point.

It was not the deed that caused God to remove the sin, but the faith of the person in God’s Word that He would remove the sins.

B.      This is a picture of Christ…Jesus Christ is…

–         The perfect Lamb of God, without sin (blemish or spot).

–         The One upon whom the sins of the people were placed.

–         The One who bore the judgment for sin, which was death.

–         The One who was sacrificed for sin

–         The One whose death sets people free by redeeming them.

–         The One whose blood is counted precious both by God and believers

It must be noted:

1.       Jesus Christ willingly offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb, as our substitute & sin bearer.

2.       God willingly accepted the offering & sacrifice of His Son on our behalf.

3.       God is satisfied with the payment for sin that Christ made on our behalf.

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.   "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." (John 10:17-18 NKJV)


My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.   And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)

The “Lamb of God” is not of men, but of God (tou Theou).


                The idea is that the Lamb belonged to God

                God gave, supplied, & provided the Lamb for sacrifice


Genesis 22:8 God provided the Lamb for Abraham as a substitute for Isaac

God unbelievably loves man (John 3:16)

Jesus Christ humbled Himself even to the point of death (Phil. 2:6-8)

The free gift of salvation & the forgiveness of sins comes from God & God alone (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 2:4-7).


The Lamb of God “who takes away the sin of the world.”

Takes away – means to lift away, to carry off.  To bear in behalf of one, as one’s substitute.

Christ Himself was the sacrificial Lamb of God, who bore our sin, He lifted our sins off of us & carried them away.


Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness----by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)

So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28 NKJV)


The sin (harmartian) – is singular, no plural


But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NKJV)


Of the world

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.   And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)

II.                Christ is the Preeminent One-The Messiah, whom the Spirit of God remained—1:30-33

A.      John said that Christ “was before me” that is, Jesus Christ existed before John – (v.30)

Literally ranks higher than I

1.       Jesus Christ is the Eternal God

Verse 31-33

B.      John said that he did not know who the Messiah would be – (v.31-33)

1.       Only that the Messiah should be revealed to Israel (v.31)

2.       John did not know who the Messiah would be. 

3.       God’s sign to him was the Holy Spirit coming upon the Messiah in the form of a dove (v.33)

4.       John bore witness saying he saw the Spirit decend from heaven like a dove, & remained upon Jesus (v.32)

5.       Christ is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit

John’s Baptism – Luke 3:3-14

A.      John’s baptism was a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3)

John was gathering together people who believed his preaching & were anticipating the coming of the Messiah.

The Messiah would both provide them with:

1.       The forgiveness of sin

2.       And institute a kingdom of peace and righteousness in which they would enjoy the benefits of His reign.

John’s ministry gained an immediate following

The Crowd was divided into 2 Parts.

The Pharisees & Sadducees, Religious leaders – Outcasts.

Group #1 – Pharisees & Sadducees

1.       They were self-righteous & considered themselves acceptable to God.

2.       They denied having any sin that needed to be confessed (1 John 1:8)

3.       They denied having any unrighteousness that needed to be forgiven (1 John 1:10)

4.       Birth: they saw themselves as Abraham’s children, acceptable to God, already members of God’s Kingdom.

John recognized the Pharisees rejection of his message and called them a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 3:7)

1.       According to the law, a viper was unclean and unacceptable to God, defiling anything it touched.

2.       John was saying they were unclean and would spread defilement to everyone they touched.

John demanded repentance of the religious leaders


1.       “Bears fruits worthy of repentance” (v.8)

2.       “judgment was at hand (v.9)

"And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Luke 3:9 NKJV)

3.       John exhorted the religious leaders to escape this coming judgment through exhibiting lives that resulted from a true repentance.

Group #2 -- Outcasts

The Proof of Repentance Luke 3:10-14

                This group did not resist God’s message as did the religious leaders.

                Rather, they asked, “What should we do them?” Luke 3:10

Using Isaiah 58:6-7 as an example of evidences of a true repentance, John made demands from this crowd.

1.       According to Luke 3:11, a concern for the needy was an evidence of genuine repentance.

2.       The tax collectors were not to collect more in taxes that the Romans required (v.12-13).

3.       Roman soldiers were not to misuse their authority (v. 14), being violent, accusing falsely, & to be content with their wages.

4.       Repentance, therefore, was the requirement for acceptance into the Messiah’s Kingdom.

Luke 3:15-18

The Baptizing Work of the Messiah when He comes.

                John was widely recognized because of his baptism, but this sign was external [outer].

                Israel also had signs to be identified with.

1.       Circumcision was the external sign that one was rightly related to Abraham & to his covenant.

2.       Sabbath observance was the sign that one was rightly related to Moses & his law.

3.       Now the sign that was related to John & his message was submission to the external rite of water baptism.

#1 – The Promise of God—The Gift of the Holy Spirit.

When the Messiah comes He will have a new sign by which to identify God’s people.

John promised that when the Messiah came, He would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

1.       Joel 2:28; Ezekiel 36:25-27

2.       The Messiah’s baptism would not be external but internal

#2 – “He will baptize you…with fire” (Luke 3:16)


fire was associated with judgment as the winnowing fork in Matthew 3:12

The Messiah will remove all that is worthless, useless, and lifeless

He will accept into His Kingdom only what has life—the life which men have received from Him!

At Jesus’ Baptism - Matthew 3:13-17

A.      The specific purpose of Jesus coming to John:

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.”(Matthew 3:13 NKJV)

Jesus was “about thirty years old” (Luke 3:23)

1.       John tried to deter Him (v.14)

2.       John recognized the sinlessness of the One who presented Himself for baptism.

3.       Remember, John from his birth was filled, or controlled by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15).

4.       Because of the Spirits ministry John recognized the person who was presenting Himself for baptism and knew that Jesus was not a candidate for his “baptism of repentance”.

B.      The Baptism of Jesus was very significant for several reasons: (Matt. 3:15; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21)

1.       His baptism was different from others because He had not sinned and did not need to repent.

2.       By it He became publicly identified with the group whom John recognized as morally prepared for the kingdom.

3.       It is recognized by other New Testament sources as the formal beginning of Christ’ public ministry

(Acts 1:21-22; 10:37-38)

Why was Jesus baptized by John?

                Scripture offers several reasons

1.       “to fulfill all righteousness” Luke 3:15

a.       Jesus was born under the Law

b.       Jesus in His infancy was circumcised

c.        At the age of 12, He became a son of the Law.

d.       He later paid the Temple tax, though as the Son of God He did not need to.

e.        Jesus said He did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill (Matt. 5:17).

f.        Throughout His life He fulfilled the Law to redeem those under the Law (Gal. 4:4-5).

2.       "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'   "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." (John 1:33-34 NKJV)

3.       To identify Himself with the believing remnant in Israel.

4.       To identify Himself with sinners.

a.       To become their substitute (2 Cor. 5:21)

5.       At His baptism He was anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the functions of the messianic office Acts10:38

What happened at His Baptism?

Jesus was praying at the time of His baptism - Luke 3:21

The Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove - Luke 3:22

1.       The dove was a sacred bird to the Jews.

2.       Symbol of peace & gentleness, of purity & innocence.

3.       Identified with the Spirit of God

In the Old Testament the Spirit of God came upon men only on special occasions

He never came and remained upon them.

In addition there was a voice from heaven, which said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

                                God vocally confirmed John’s introduction of Jesus.

C.      John had “seen and testified that this is the Son of God (John 1:34)

Let’s go back and read John 1:29-34 and get tie all this in.

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