Bible study of the Gospel of John (2)

The picture above was taken when typhoon 12 had just landed near our town and strong wind and rain were predicted. But at the same time, this rainbow was seen under the dark cloud.

We remembered God's promise

After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah and all his descendants that never again would the human family be threatened with total annihilation by flood. The sign God gave Noah to assure him of this covenant was the rainbow. “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds I will remember my covenant.”


Bible study of the Gospel of John (2)


In chapter 1, the first famous person who appears is John the Baptist. 

Today, I would like to study about this person named John.

Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were related. 

Jesus’s mother, Mary, and Elizabeth were close relatives. 

John was born six months before Christ was born.


Something happened at John's birth that we cannot imagine with human knowledge. John's father was the priest Zacharias, and his mother was Elizabeth, but they were barren and childless, and both were already old. 

One day, an angel told Zacharias that his wife was going to become pregnant with a baby boy, but Zacharias didn't believe it, so he was rendered speechless. 

A boy was born just as the angel had predicted, and as soon as Zacharias decided to name the boy "John" as the angel had commanded, he was able to speak. 

Because of this story, a rumor started among many Jews that this John might become a prophet in the future.


When John grew up and lived a monastic life of prayer in the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey, his popularity grew to such an extent that not only ordinary Jews but also priests thought he was the Messiah.

He urged people to repent and baptized them in the Jordan River, and Jesus himself was baptized by him before he began his public life.


Baptism in Christianity is a ritual performed by the church when a person becomes a Christian.  In general, Baptism is the testimony of the washing away of sins and the giving of new life as a child of God, by immersing the whole body in water or pouring water on the head.


The origin of baptism is not John the Baptist’s original idea, but it seems to have already originated in Judaism. In other words, when pagans converted to Judaism, they were baptized to cleanse themselves from their past sins. 

Some of John the Baptist's disciples became Jesus' disciples, and Peter and his brother Andrew, who became the 12th disciple, were also disciples of John the Baptist at first.


If baptism is a condition for salvation, then salvation requires "human works”. 

Our salvation is already finished completely through Christ's atonement on the cross. 

The "water" ritual itself does not have the power to wash away our sins. 

Baptism is not a condition for salvation but the act of expressing one's faith in Jesus Christ. 

If people believe in Jesus they are already Christians before receiving baptism.  

When we see someone receive baptism, we have great joy and praise the Lord.


John the Baptist was also a man who died a martyr's death in prison because he refused to bow to the world and insisted on correct morals. (John the Baptist was arrested because he warned King Herod's son, Antipas, that he had disinherited his wife for no reason, and he had taken his brother's wife, Herodias, and married her.)


By the way, I cannot understand a certain passage in the Bible. There is a passage where John the Baptist, while in prison, sends his disciples to Jesus Christ and asks him the following question.

 <Matthew 11:2>


“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”               


<Matthew 11:11> NIV
“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”


Ladies and gentlemen! What do you think this 11:11 means?

John the Baptist was imprisoned and had no idea what tomorrow would bring. In those days, information was not as readily available as it is today. I'm sure they had heard rumors, but he must have wanted to know what Christ was doing. 

I guess that John the Baptist wondered if the teachings of Christ were accepted by the world. 

Did people believe that Christ was the Son of God? 


I'm sure that he believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but I imagine that he wanted to be convinced exactly one last time. 

I also believe that he never doubted that Jesus was the Messiah. 


John's disciples would have reported to him what they had seen Jesus do and say. And I believe that John would have gladly died convinced that Christ was the Savior. I believe that the compassionate Jesus must have been well aware that John the Baptist was a great man and he knew John’s mind, that John believed in Jesus, when he sent his disciples.


But why did Jesus dare to say,

"Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” 


What did Jesus want to say to His disciples?

Some people may have thought more highly of John the Baptist than Jesus, and even the disciples may have been looking at Jesus according to their fleshly thoughts.


John the Baptist made his triumphant return to heaven, having fulfilled his mission, which was to show the world that he had repented of his sins before Christ and had pointed out the way. Jesus acknowledged this to the fullest extent. 


However, I think what Jesus wants us to do is to know Him, trust Him, and live in Him, rather than accomplishing something great.


Next week, I'm going to look at the public life of Jesus in the Gospel of John. This John was the disciple who believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.