John 1:29-34 A true revival regenerates hearts towards the virtues and power of Christ
feJohn 1:29-34 A true revival regenerates hearts towards the virtues and power of Christ
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘ After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. ’ 31 I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. ’ 34 I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.
John the baptist is a revival maker tasked with ushering in the greatest revival in human history. John’s dedication in studying the Word and his hunger to encounter God in an intimate way has made him a forerunner of Christ. In today’s passage, we learn about John’s distinctive characteristics and how we too can be revivalists of our time. A true revival regenerates hearts towards the virtues and power of Christ.
Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
When John saw Jesus coming to him, he said things that are considered taboo and blasphemous in Jewish culture and doctrine. “Lamb of God” signifies a lamb to be slaughtered as a sin sacrifice. The purpose is to take away the sin which is the dominion of sin over humanity (note sin is singular as opposed to “sins” which means transgressions). Throughout the history of Israel, no human being is allowed to be used as sin offerings and sacrifices.
Concerning the forgiveness of sins, gentiles were never considered candidates of God’s salvation; they are beyond the scope of God’s grace. To the Jewish people, the notion of having a human as a sin sacrifice: the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is beyond their wildest imagination. It can be said that the teachings of John the Baptist are way ahead of his time. Considering him as unschooled in the de facto standard of Jewish education, his bold proclamations were indeed ground breaking. John made known the purpose of his baptismal ministry which was to reveal the Lamb of God to Israel.
I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
John was told to embark on the task of revealing the Lamb of God to Israel by way of his baptismal ministry. The sign was a dove descending and resting upon the anointed One: I have seen the Spirit (as a dove) descending and remaining upon Him. This is a physical sign by way of a dove which identified the Christ without ambiguity. Through the sign of the dove, the association of the Holy Spirit with the Lamb of God is clearly seen. He is not only the Lamb of God, He is One who alone is entrusted with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As John baptised using water as medium, Christ baptises men in the Holy Spirit. The significance of baptism is sanctification towards righteousness. John uses water as a cleansing agent signifying a moral resolve to repent. Christ, through the Spirit sanctifies believers with His virtues, wisdom and power to serve God.
I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.
John made the third proclamation that runs counter to the grain of Jewish beliefs: I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God. The Jews cannot imagine that God, the Messiah would be incarnated in the flesh while putting on human weaknesses. John’s role was not just to point Israel in the direction of Christ, but to make known the incarnated Christ that was never before understood in Judaism or in other faiths for that matter. John had introduced new revelations concerning the extent that God would go in order to reconcile man to Himself. He has laid a foundation of a new covenant, a new existence for humanity.
To usher in a continual revival, believers must acquire revelations directly from the word
John ushers in a revival when he breaks traditions by revealing Christ as the Lamb of God. The prophet Isaiah says concerning Christ:
- The incarnation of the Son of God: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us. Isaiah 9:6
- Christ would be a light of the nations so that … salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6
- Christ would be sacrificed like a lamb that is led to slaughter. Isaiah 53:7, 10.
God is bringing a revival to Israel through the incarnation of His Son. However, God can never bring it to pass without John’s direct reading and application of Isaiah’s prophecies. 33 years after Jesus’s birth, God brings another wave of revival through the outpouring of the Spirit. The apostle Peter enlightens the people through the words of Joel that speaks of the outpouring, “It will come about after this. That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.“ Joel 2:28
Therefore, believers must spend time in meditation of the word. In so doing, the Spirit enlightens them through the words of scripture causing them to progress in divine wisdom. Many believers spend the bulk of their time running from place to place, evangelising, worshipping and attending seminars without spending adequate time with the Word. Many rest on institutionalised beliefs without confirming for themselves that the teachings are biblical. Some prefer celebrity ministers who spoke about oasis without water, and clouds without rain (see 2 Peter 2:17, Proverbs 25:14). As a consequence, many being led by their worldly desires, will be pierced with much sorrow and poverty.
Believers must spend at least 30 minutes a day reading the Word. Ministers must spend at least 3 hours a day meditating on the Word for their own growth apart from their ministry teachings. If a minister cannot progress in divine wisdom, virtues and supernatural authority, he cannot lead his flock from revival to revival, and from glory to glory. Believers and ministers must seek the face of God to know Him more intimately through the Word. In doing so, the Spirit reveals to us the path and the foundations towards the next revival for His people. Revivals are ushered in by divine wisdom, by manifestations of the Spirit towards perfection. The apostle Paul prayed for believers to receive greater revelations,
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Ephesians 1:17-19
Divine revelations of God give believers greater understanding (eyes of your heart may be enlightened) of their positions as sons (the hope of His calling), the authority they possess while looking to their inheritance in heaven.
A true revival regenerates hearts towards the virtues and power of Christ.
A true revival brings forth change towards Christ-likeness as opposed to more manifestations of Spiritual gifts. A revival brings enduring peace, righteousness and prosperity to the nations. It is saddening that some church circles even equate revival with the outpouring of miracles, material wealth and blessings. Unless believers unite their hearts to pursue godliness and to do His will, there will be no fresh revelations from the Spirit. The Psalmist wrote,
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant. Psalm 25:14
The secret of Lord refers to the spirit’s enlightenment that brings revival (He will make them know His covenant). Many churchgoers desiring to emerge from their lukewarmness and stagnation pursue revival by claiming the promises and by prayer and fasting. They have an appearance of godliness, but their hearts secretly longing for worldly things. There are also those who study the Word with an academic spirit, dissecting and discussing the Word not to inform the heart, but the mind. However, unless they come to recognize that revival begins with humility and repentance, there will be no fresh enlightenment from God. John’s baptismal ministry was a ministry of repentance: all revivals must first be preceded by believers’ united repentance and commitment to the call of godliness.
A fresh enlightenment must bring people towards a more intimate communion with Christ. Thus, believers must develop a hunger for a consistent, intimate and unambiguous fellowship with God. Revival makers of the bible encounter God in intimate and unambiguous ways.
Ezekiel’s encounter with the God who called him to the role of a prophet was both vivid and lucid: Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 3:1-3).
Jeremiah’s own experience in his own call was likewise intimate and lucid: Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me… (Jeremiah 1:9).
John the baptist has a clear and unambiguous encounter with God concerning the Messiah: He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. ’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.
Early believers in the upper room are bathed with an tangible manifestation of the Spirit after many days of fasting: And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. Acts 2:2-3.
When believers humble themselves and forsake their fleshly ways, they will encounter God in a refreshing way and usher in a revival!
Are you going through a dry spell where the words of the bible seem to appeal only to the mind and not to your heart? Perhaps your heart is continually occupied with unbelief and the cares of life. If you desire to grow in divine wisdom, you need to put aside your institutional beliefs while trusting in God to give understanding. The apostle John said concerning the unfailing anointing within believers to know the truth as the Spirit enlightens (1 John 2:20).
Discipline yourself in reading the Word daily. You may not understand them now, but as you continue to read, the Spirit will speak in increasing clarity to your heart. When you are able to receive a measure of enlightenment and strength through the Word by yourself. You can work towards more profound understanding through fasting. You may start with one day, then progressing to three days. By drinking non-acidic liquids, you keep your body sustained with minerals while depriving yourself of carbohydrates and fibres. During fasting, refrain from normal work and spend time in solitude. Focus on reading the Word and in listening to the Spirit. Approach your pastor for his guidance during this process.
Dear Lord, I entrust my life into your hands believing that you will lead and guide me into greater revelations. In so doing, I may grow in the virtues, wisdom and power of Christ. As I lay down my burdens and unbelief, touch my heart with your Spirit and renew it with peace and hope. Unblock my ears and eyes of my heart and cause me to see and hear you clearly. As I commit myself to a life of faith and godliness, bring a revival into my life and use me as a seed for the revival of my nation. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.