John 1:19-34

John - The Art Of Plain Speech

John 1:19-34
John 1:23
‘I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Make straight the way for the Lord.”’
 
John 1:29
‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’
We seem to be in the middle of a pandemic of apologies.  Barely a day goes by without a new demand for an expression of remorse from someone in power for their failings. The trouble is that many of our leaders seem to have perfected the art of “apologising” without acknowledging that they have actually done anything wrong; “It wasn’t that serious…, I misunderstood…, I wasn’t told it was wrong…., I was misled…”.  

It may be more honest if they had confessed; “I was arrogant..., I was deceitful…, I was greedy…”. But we all prefer to present our most shameful actions as understandable mistakes rather than acknowledge them for what they are. The Bible speaks of such things plainly; it calls them “sin”. It makes it clear that they are the root cause of our fractured relationships with the Holy God who created us and the darkness that engulfs the world as a result.

In the first chapter of John’s gospel we meet John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets, who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus, “the true light”, who was coming into the world (John 1:9). John prepared the way by confronting people about their sin and leading them to public repentance by baptising them in water. You can read an example of his preaching in Matthew 3:7-10 and it’s quite shocking!

Such robust language is never popular, in fact it got John killed. But it is only when a condition is seen for what it is that a cure becomes possible. If you don’t believe in sickness, you won’t look for a doctor. And if you don’t believe in sin, you won’t seek a Saviour. It’s against this darkest of backdrops that John’s wonderful declaration about Jesus blazes out, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

So, let’s learn the art of plain speech as the gospel writer John went on to encourage us in a letter that he wrote later – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. 1 John 1:8-9.

Apply

  1. How do you feel about God’s right to define what is right and what is wrong (sin)?

  2. As you ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart, are you aware of any sin that you need to confess to God today? (Psalm 139:23-24) Why not do that right now, plainly and straightforwardly? You might find, adulterous King David’s example of honest confession in Psalm 51 helpful.

  3. Spend time thanking Jesus for taking your sin away and rejoicing that his sacrifice has power to make you righteous in the sight of our Holy God.

Prayer

Jesus Christ,

You are the one person truly in a position to judge my sin, and yet you chose instead to bear its consequences as you died on the cross. With a heart full of gratitude, I place my trust completely in the power of your sacrifice and, without shame, I step boldly into the light of your presence again today.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by David Featherstone who, together with his wife Amanda, leads our Sutton Venue.

David unpacks these themes in more detail in his sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Follow our Everyday Devotions Playlist for some songs to help you worship God in Spirit and truth this week.