Standing guard against undue respect

Posted by admin on 12 December 2021 in Acts, John |

In the past few weeks, we studied John 1:1-18. The true light came to the world (9) and made dwelling among us (14). But, the Baptist John is not the light but a witness to the light (8) and the light is greater than John because He existed from the eternity before the creation (15).

Let us continue to study John 1:19-20 and learn what is important to us as witnesses of Christ.

See John 1:19-20.

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Messiah.’

Priests and Levites sent by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem asked the Baptist John who he was (19). The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah (Luke 3:15). But John did not entertain their thoughts. Without hesitation, he confessed freely, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ (20). He spoke out so as not to leave anyone in doubt [1].

Here we learn that God’s witness should stand their guard against undue respect rather than unjust contempt [2]. By accepting the undue respect, we become denying Christ. The apostles Barnabas and Paul also tore their clothes and stopped the crowd when the crowd treated them as God (Acts 14:14).

The following elaborates on the above conclusion (“not to accept undue respect”).

Quoted from [2]:

“Note, The ministers of Christ must remember that they are not Christ, and therefore must not usurp his powers and prerogatives, nor assume the praises due to him only. They are not Christ, and therefore must not lord it over God’s heritage, nor pretend to a dominion over the faith of Christians. They cannot create grace and peace; they cannot enlighten, convert, quicken, comfort; for they are not Christ. Observe how emphatically this is here expressed concerning John: He confessed, and denied not, but confessed; it denotes his vehemence and constancy in making this protestation. Note, Temptations to pride, and assuming that honour to ourselves which does not belong to us, ought to be resisted with a great deal of vigour and earnestness. When John was taken to be the Messiah, he did not connive at it with a Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur—If the people will be deceived, let them; but openly and solemnly, without any ambiguities, confessed, I am not the Christ; hoti ouk eimi egō ho Christos—I am not the Christ, not I; another is at hand, who is he, but I am not. His disowning himself to be the Christ is called his confessing and not denying Christ. Note, Those that humble and abase themselves thereby confess Christ, and give honour to him; but those that will not deny themselves do in effect deny Christ.”


[1] United Bible Societies Handbook: John

[2] Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible:Complete and Unabridged in One Volume

Part 1_v19-20

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