John 1 Part 2: Who Is Yeshua?

Yeshua is the Most Important Man Who Ever Lived. The Most Important Man brought the world the Most Important Message, a message that must be believed for human beings, who are alienated from God and headed to Hell, not Heaven, to death, not life, to be reconciled to their Creator and live forever.

He is also the risen Messiah, who is alive now, victorious, the Lord of Heaven and Earth. We want to be aware of Him, close to Him, connected to Him, rooted and grounded in Him, learning from Him, directed by Him. We want to know everything we can about Him so we can line up our thoughts, our lives, our purposes with Him. The divinely inspired book of John helps us do that.

John the Baptist was one of the very greatest human beings who ever lived. He was filled by the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. He was a very holy man. And he was a priest. And he was related to Messiah. And he was a prophet. And he was the first prophet sent by God to Israel in 400 years. And He was the very special forerunner of the first coming of the Messiah, sent by God to prepare the Chosen People for the arrival of the Messiah and to identify the Messiah when He arrived. This very special man made a tremendous impact on the Jewish people of his day. But our divinely inspired author, John, wants us to know that John the Baptist was not the Messiah.

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. John was the son of a priest and would have been comfortable with this delegation of priests and Levites. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” “Testimony” and “confess” are terms used to attest to the truth. John is making an official statement to this delegation sent by the leadership of Israel that he was not the Messiah.

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” – the great prophet who never died and the one whom God will send as the forerunner for the Messiah? He said, “I am not.” John was not Elijah, who will be the forerunner for Messiah’s return. “Are you the Prophet?” – referring to the great prophet like Moses who was to come, mentioned in Deuteronomy 18, who is also the Messiah. He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet (not Second Isaiah as the higher critical heretics teach, but the same Isaiah who wrote the entire book of Isaiah), “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John told these religious leaders, using Isaiah’s prophecy, that he was the Lord’s forerunner. He was that voice calling in the wilderness, a literal wilderness. And, I think he was also telling the Jewish people that they were like a wilderness – barren, spiritually unproductive, that they needed to get ready for the arrival of Adonai, the Lord, who was soon to arrive in the person of the Messiah.

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” The delegation didn’t understand what John said about himself and his mission. They wanted to know, if he wasn’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, why was he was exercising unusual spiritual authority by calling the nation to repent and immersing people.

John used their question to direct them to the Messiah, who John knew had already arrived. “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

Who is Yeshua according to this great prophet? The Lord, who had already come to Israel but was still unknown by the Jewish leaders. He will begin His ministry after John, the forerunner. And He is vastly superior to John. While a slave is allowed to untie the straps of the sandals of his master, the Messiah is so much greater than John, that John was not worthy to even touch His sandals. Who is so superior to this great prophet, that he is not worthy to touch His sandals? The Son of God.

This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing – some 20 miles or more from Jerusalem – at least a day’s journey from the capital.

The very next day God directed Yeshua to John, so that their paths crossed, and God enabled John to identify Yeshua as the long awaited Messiah. The next day John saw Yeshua coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Who is Yeshua according to the great prophet John? God’s Lamb. The One who will make the ultimate sacrifice which provides the ultimate atonement – for all the sins of Israel and all the sins of the nations. You want to be reconciled to the God from whom the whole world is estranged? You want your sins forgiven? You want real atonement? You need Yeshua.

John continued. This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ Yeshua was born after John and Yeshua’s ministry started after the ministry of John, yet John knew that Yeshua was greater than he was, because Yeshua existed before John. No ordinary human being pre-exists. Only the unique Son of God had a pre-existence.

John continued: I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.” John was unable to identify the Messiah until the time was right. It wasn’t until John started his ministry as the forerunner of the Messiah, and started calling the Chosen People to turn to God and be immersed, and be prepared for the arrival of the Messiah, that the time would be right, and Messiah would be revealed. And that is exactly what happened.

Many listened to John, turned from their sins and were baptized and experienced spiritual renewal. And Yeshua also responded to the ministry of John and presented Himself to John to be baptized. When He did, something amazing happened. Then John gave this testimony: And again, testimony is a term used to make a solemn declaration of the truth:“I saw the Spirit come down from Heaven as a dove and remain on Him.

The Spirit of the God of Heaven came down from Heaven on Yeshua, and remained on Yeshua, ensuring that Yeshua was very close to God, closer to God than any other human being; empowering Yeshua for His life and ministry, a life and ministry unlike that of any other human being. This would not be a limited anointing of the Spirit, or a temporary anointing of the Spirit, but a anointing of the Spirit so that He remained on Yeshua, until His life and ministry were successfully completed.

The Spirit of God came down from Heaven in the form of a dove, which is a symbol of peace, because Yeshua is the only one who can bring peace to a broken universe and to shattered humanity.

The Spirit of God came down from Heaven in the form of a dove which is a symbol of innocence, because Yeshua is innocent, pure, sinless.

The Spirit of God came down from Heaven in the form of a dove which is a symbol of love, because Yeshua’s nature is one of love, pure love, sacrificial love.

The Spirit of God came down from Heaven in the form of a dove which was used for sacrifices in the Temple for the poor, because Yeshua is able to provide ultimate atonement for every human being, even the poorest of the poor; the most despised, the most wretched.

John had other solemn declarations of the truth: And I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” John was a prophet who heard from God in a very clear way. And God let John know that he would be able to identify the Messiah, when John saw a manifestation of the Spirit of God coming down and remaining on a human being. That human being would be the Chosen One, the Seed of the Woman, the son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Messiah, the one who is able to give the Holy Spirit of God to other human beings.

And who can give the Holy Spirit of God to another human being, except the Son of God? Yeshua is the Chosen One, chosen by God to not only give the Holy Spirit to others, but immerse them with the Holy Spirit, surround them, fill them with the Spirit of God.

Do you want to be immersed with the Holy Spirit of the living God? Do you want to be close to God? Empowered by God? You need Yeshua.

John knew that Yeshua was the Chosen One. And, immediately he began telling others about Him, starting with two of his disciples. The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Yeshua passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” We need to be like John, knowing who Yeshua is, and that He is only one able to atone for our sins and reconcile us to God, and we need to tell others about Yeshua who can end their alienation from God.

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Yeshua. And that is a very good thing. That’s what we need to do. That’s what God wants us to do. We need to follow Yeshua by understanding what He is doing and what He wants, and then doing what He wants.

And, when we take, even a very small step to follow Yeshua, Yeshua is pleased and will help us take bigger steps. Turning around, Yeshua saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” What did they want? To stay with Yeshua in order to get to know Him better. And Yeshua is pleased when we want to get to know Him better. He will not refuse a request like that.

“Come,” He replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where He was staying, and they spent that day with Him. This is the beginning of the gathering of Yeshua’s first disciples. These first disciples came from the disciples of John. They had responded to the ministry of the forerunner and had been prepared by John to follow the Messiah when He arrived. Now these men will transition from following the forerunner, to following the Messiah.

John records this detail: It was about four in the afternoon – letting us know this was a real, historical event.

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Yeshua. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ – the Anointed One, the ultimate prophet, priest, king and savior). And he brought him to Yeshua. This is fantastic. John is teaching us that a true follower of Messiah, even a very new one, will not keep that precious knowledge to himself. He will immediately tell others the good news about Messiah and bring them to Yeshua. And, a true follower of the Messiah will reach out to those closest to him, like Andrew did to his brother Simon. If you are not telling others about Messiah and trying to bring them to Him, starting with those closest to you, you are probably not a true follower of Yeshua.

Yeshua looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Kefa” (which, when translated, is Peter – (rock). Just like the mysterious stranger who wrestled with Jacob (who also happened to be Yeshua), gave Jacob a new name, Israel, Yeshua gave a new name to Simon. By the time Yeshua is finished with Simon – teaching him, challenging him, forgiving his failures, Simon will become a rock – solid, strong, reliable, enduring. He will give strength to the other leaders and be a pillar that supports Messiah’s Community.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who knows us and over time, is able to transform us into what we should be.

John tells us that Yeshua chose another disciple from those who were impacted by John. The next day Yeshua decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, “Follow Me.” Even though Andrew sought Yeshua, the deeper truth is that Yeshua is the one who is seeking us. Salvation comes from God taking the initiative to seek man – not man taking the initiative to seek God. If God didn’t seek us, woo us, reveal things to us, put the right people, messages and circumstances into our path; give us opportunities to see and hear and consider, we would not be able to seek Him and find Him.

Yeshua said to Philip: Follow Me. To have faith in Yeshua, to believe in Yeshua, is not only being convinced that Yeshua is the Messiah and the Son of God and the Savior; that He died on the cross and rose from the dead and is alive now.

The demons believe that. But the faith of the demons won’t save them. Faith that saves is knowing who Yeshua is and responding to an invitation to follow Him. Real faith, saving faith means following. It is knowing that Yeshua is alive, and calling to us, and asking us to take direction from Him. Yeshua is still calling people to follow Him. Have you responded to His invitation: Follow Me? Are you following Him?

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida – to the north, in Galilee. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Torah, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” It’s part of our nature to share with others the things we are excited about, so they can join us in a good thing. Again, a true follower of Messiah has a desire to tell others about Messiah.

Who is Yeshua? The One Moses wrote about in the Torah, because Moses wrote the Torah – not other men who lived hundreds of years after Moses like the higher critical heretics claim.

Who is Yeshua? He is the one who fulfills the prophecies about the Messiah written by Moses and the prophets.

John is giving a lesson in evangelism. We are to direct people to Yeshua by pointing them to Yeshua’s fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies.

One of the greatest weapons in our spiritual arsenal is the Messianic prophecies. These prophecies were designed by God to point people to Yeshua.

Only the writings of Moses and the prophets, the Tenach – and no other book of any other religion has detailed, accurate prophecies like those written by Moses and the prophets about the Messiah. You want to be a more effective proclaimer of the Good News? Know five of the Messianic prophecies, including my favorite, Isaiah 53, and use them to convince others that Yeshua is the Messiah.

Nathanael’s response to Philip’s declaration that he found the Messiah, and it was Yeshua – from Nazareth? Skepticism. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. You can almost read Nathanael’s mind: “The Messiah? From Nazareth? Uh, maybe Jerusalem or Bethlehem, but insignificant little Nazareth? That doesn’t sound right.” But it was right, and Philip was not deterred by Nathanael’s initial response. And we shouldn’t be deterred by an initial negative response.

“Come and see,” said Philip. Philip challenged Nathanael to go beyond his skepticism and investigate further. And we are do the same thing. We are to challenge people to come and see – by reading the Bible, especially Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the Messianic prophecies; by encouraging them to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about the Faith; by encouraging them to pray to God, that He would show them the truth. That’s how we get people to “come and see.”

Yeshua was full of the Holy Spirit. He was very close to God, and the Spirit of God was able to speak to Yeshua and give Him information about people and situations. When Yeshua saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here truly is an Israeli in whom there is no deceit.” Yeshua knew that Nathanael was an honest, sincere man.

Nathanael agreed with Yeshua’s assessment but was mystified as to how Yeshua, whom he had not met, was able to know that. “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Yeshua answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Again, the Spirit of God gave Yeshua special information about a situation that otherwise Yeshua would not have been able to know, and that special knowledge convinced Nathanael that the claims made by Philip about Yeshua were true.

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the king of Israel.” Nathanael gives us three titles about Yeshua which help us know who He is.

Rabbi: Someone who is able to teach us about God, the Word of God, the salvation of God. Yeshua is the greatest teacher who ever lived. If we are wise, we will learn everything He has to teach us.

Son of God: That does not mean that God birthed Yeshua in some way, or that He is younger than God the Father. It means exactly the opposite! Just as a human son shares the same human nature as his father, so Yeshua shares the same nature as His Father. The Son of God is fully divine, eternal, uncreated, sharing all the attributes of God.

King of Israel: The One who has the right to rule over the Jewish people. The heir of David who will return to Israel, and from David’s throne, rule Israel and the nations as the supreme political authority.

Yeshua said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. That was miraculous, but it was only a small display of supernatural power. You will see greater things than that.” This is an invitation to an amazing adventure. Who is Yeshua? Someone who is inviting us to join Him on an amazing, supernatural, eternal adventure.

One of the amazing things that Yeshua intended to reveal to Nathanael was that He is the fulfillment of the vision of Jacob’s Ladder. He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘Heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” Yeshua will end the estrangement between God and humanity. He will reconcile Heaven and Earth, so that God and the good angels will be able to have full access to a new and redeemed humanity, and vice-versa. And Yeshua will make that possible by living a perfect life, dying on a cross and rising from the dead.

Who is Yeshua? The fulfillment of Jacob’s Ladder, who alone is able to bridge the gap between an infinitely holy God and an unholy humanity.

So, who is Yeshua according this second part of the divinely inspired first chapter of John? Yeshua is Adonai, the Lord who visited this world. Do you want Adonai? You need Yeshua.

Who is Yeshua? God’s Lamb. Do you want ultimate atonement? Do you want your sins forgiven? You need Yeshua.

Who is Yeshua? The fulfillment of Jacob’s ladder. Do you want to be connected to God, Heaven and the good angels? You need Yeshua.

Someone on whom the Spirit of the God of Heaven came down and remained. Someone who is able to baptized others with that same Spirit. Do you want to have the Spirit remain on you, so that you are close to God and have power for a life that pleases God? You need Yeshua.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who can transform a Simon into a Peter. Do you want to be transformed into what you should be, what God designed you to be? You need Yeshua.

Who is Yeshua? The Messiah. The one who fulfills the messianic prophecies written by Moses and the prophets.

Who is Yeshua? The supreme Rabbi: Do you want to know the truth about God, the Word of God, the salvation of God, the way to live that pleases God? You need Yeshua.

The Son of God. Do you want to become a glorious and eternal son or daughter of God? You need Yeshua.

The King of Israel. Do you want to be part of the kingdom of Israel? The kingdom of God? You need Yeshua.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who is looking for disciples, people who will learn from Him and then put His teachings into practice. Someone who still says: Follow Me. Are you a disciple who is following Yeshua by understanding who He is, what He wants, and then putting into practice what He wants?

Who is Yeshua? Someone who is inviting us to join Him on an amazing, supernatural, eternal adventure. Do you want to be part of an amazing, supernatural adventure? You need Yeshua.