"For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him." (Matthew 21:32)
Was John the teacher of Jesus?Many have a problem with this statement. They inaccurately claim that Jesus was God and that Jesus never accepted a teacher. Yet we know that Jesus sat with Rabbis asking them questions when he was younger:
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. (Luke 2:46)We also know that Jesus accepted baptism from John:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. (Matthew 3:13)Baptism is the act of accepting that person as teacher. This is confirmed by others who accepted baptism from John:
Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” (Luke 3:12)This last verse makes it clear that for them, baptism is the act of accepting that person (the baptizer or baptist) as their spiritual guide. They greeted them as "teacher" or "rabbi" and they also asked them for instructions ("what should we do?").
What about baptism today?Today we find a host of different sects conducting baptism in various ways. Some use dunking into a body of water, whole others splash or pour water over the person. For many, baptism is a rite of passage - a ritual to declare one's allegiance to a particular sect or church.
In these secular baptisms, the person giving the ritual can be a reverend or priest, or a church deacon. Often they are administered by officials appointed by the sect.
Yet the person who has been baptized will still come away thinking that they are saved somehow by the purification of the water. this is assumed because Jesus' name was invoked during the ritual.
Yet Jesus himself criticized this ritualistic endeavor, and condemned the use of his name for cleansing rituals:
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:22-23)So while many will feel graced by having been dunked in water while someone else proclaims the name of Jesus, we find from Jesus' own teachings that he was not impressed by rituals and healings done in his name.
Rather, Jesus wanted something else from his students:
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Is Jesus God?Some will claim that John could not be Jesus' teacher because Jesus is God. They also say that John himself said that Jesus should baptize him.
Yes, it is true that John said Jesus should baptize him. But this illustrates the humility of John. It illustrates that Jesus was an advanced spiritual person. Jesus was not your typical follower. He was very advanced in his relationship with the Supreme Being.
This is confirmed by scripture. Jesus prayed to God repeatedly. He also said over and over that he was sent by God:
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34)This means, by Jesus' own admission, that Jesus is not God. Rather, Jesus is God's representative. To be sent by someone else means to be that person's representative or messenger. Jesus is God's messenger.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me." (John 5:36)
"And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen His form," (John 5:37)
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
"And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day." (John 6:39)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44)
"Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me." (John 6:57)
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but He who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from Him and He sent me.” (John 7:28-29)
Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the One who sent me." (John 7:33)
"But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:16
"I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” (John 8:18)
“I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world.” (John 8:26)
"The One who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” (John 8:29)
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me." (John 8:42)
"As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." (John 9:4)
"I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me.” (John 11:42)
Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me." (John 12:44)
"The one who looks at me is seeing the One who sent me." (John 12:45)
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)
"Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the One who sent me.” (John 13:20)
"Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:24)
"They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." (John 15:21)
"but now I am going to Him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’" (John 16:5)
For I gave them the words You gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent me." (John 17:8)
Yes, it is quite easy to confuse the messenger with the sender of the messenger. Especially when the sender cannot be readily seen. But the reason we are not seeing God with the physical eyes is that this is the dimension where God makes Himself visible, in order to give us the freedom to love or not love God - and even the freedom to even not accept His existence.
This is because love requires the freedom to love.