Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptising in the early days. There he stayed, and many people came to him. They said, ‘Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus.
John 10:40-42 (NIV)
Read: John 10:22-42
Consider: On the 20th June 2020 I published a devotional entitled, In that place many believed in Jesus, that is based on this passage. However, returning to the passage I noticed something that I didn’t mention in that earlier post. Right at the end of the passage we read: ‘… and many people came to him. They said, ‘Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus’ (John 10:41-42). This got me wondering what John the Baptist had said about Jesus that convinced these people to believe in him.
Notice initially that the response from the people at the end of the chapter, is in stark contrast to the response elicited from the other Jewish people who questioned Jesus about whether or not he was the Messiah. For one group it brought them to faith (they believed in him), while for the other group we read: Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him …’ (10:31).
We read in Mark’s gospel that John went about: ‘… preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mark 1:4). We also read: And this was his message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit’ (1:7-8).
In Luke’s gospel we read: The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, ‘I baptise with water. But one who is more powerful that I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Luke 3:15-17; also recorded in Matthew 3:11-12).
Also in John’s gospel we read: The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said: “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me. I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel (John 1:29-31). In John 1:32-34, John the Baptist confirms that it was God who revealed to him who Jesus was, when he was baptised and the Spirit fell on him.
Having heard exactly the same testimony about Jesus from John the Baptist, we see in today’s passage that for one group it led to belief, while for the other group it led to them wanting more proof of who Jesus was. Where do you stand on this? Are you prepared to believe the testimony recorded in the New Testament of those who were eye-witnesses at the time of Jesus’ ministry, or are you always seeking more proof before you decide to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? It comes down to this: Do you believe the gospel accounts are accurate records of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection? Do you believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word that can be trusted? If ‘yes’, then you need to act on what is said about Jesus being ‘… the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
Pray: Father, may we each have confidence in the accuracy of the Bible accounts about the Messiah; in the Old Testament foretelling of the promised Messiah and in the New Testament fulfilment in your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen