But I sent you a Sign

But I Sent You a Sign! When We Can’t See the Forrest for the Trees.

 
 

John 1:19-34

 
 

We often miss the signs of what we are looking for. Why? Because we have already made up our minds about what it will be. The ministry of John the Baptist, the concept of Elijah, and Jesus’ non-literal approach to interpreting scripture highlight this concept.

 
 

The testimony of John the Baptist was predicted in the Old Testament books of Isaiah and Malachi. God used the figure of Elijah to let people know He would send someone to announce the coming of the Messiah. So what did the people do with that? They were looking for a literal Elijah. They even asked John if he was Elijah or the prophet. When he said no, they dismissed his importance because in their view he couldn’t be who he said he was. Do you see what they did?

They were so intent on seeing the Word of God as a literal blueprint that they missed the intent of the message. They missed the prophet Elijah and the Messiah as well.

 
 

Jesus also tried to get it through their heads that the Elijah talked about in Malachi 4:5 and Isaiah was John (Matt 11:13-14), but he knew it would be hard for them to accept. Verse 15 adds an exclamation point onto His statement that John the Baptist was indeed the Elijah that was to come.

 
 

In Matthew 17, right after the Transfiguration of Christ, when Peter, James, and John actually saw Elijah, they still wondered about Elijah. They questioned Jesus about why the scribes had said that Elijah must come first. Jesus explained to them that in fact Elijah had already come in the ministry of John the Baptist. However, the Scribes and Pharisees had an agenda with their religion that was not God’s; and they were blinded by their insistence on the literal interpretation of Elijah to the point that they missed his coming.

 
 

Jesus used the example of Herod beheading John, and the fact that He would now go to the cross to show his disciples that the Scribes and Pharisees had it all wrong. They saw Christ’s return as sort of Zionist. That He would return as a conquering king, vanquish Rome and restore Israel to the Jews. This belief has come and gone at various times in history, but we see here that Jesus said, this was not the plan.

 
 

We need to be careful in our interpretation of Scripture. We need to be open to the spirit of the Law and not just the letter of the Law as the Scribes and Pharisees were. We can miss the whole point of the Kingdom if we are just waiting for Him to come back and take us away…that is probably not what is going on at all. He has an expectation that we are helping Him bring in His Kingdom today…how are you doing that? or are you still waiting for your Elijah? 

 
 

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions:

 
 

Read Luke 1:8-19;

1. In this story, what does the Angel Gabriel tell us about John’s ministry?

2. What doe he tell us about Elijah?

3. How was John the Baptist to be prepared for serving the Lord?

4. How did the Angel prove to Zechariah that he was telling the truth?

 
 

Read Malachi 4:6

1. Dicuss why this verse talks about John the Baptist

2. Discuss how people would misinterpret it

3. What about this verse can be taken literally

4 . What about this verse cannot be taken literally

5. Why did Jesus not take this literally?

 
 

Read Matthew 17:9-13

1. What were the disciples expecting Elijah to be?

2. How was their view consistent with the Zionist views?

3. What was Jesus explanation of Elijah?

4. Why did Jesus say the religious people had it wrong?

 
 

Reflection:

Discuss how the concept of Elijah is twisted even today.

Discuss some other things that may be twisted due to an over literal interpretation of Scripture.

 
 

Do:

Be on the lookout for those who do not see Scripture from its context but rather take it so literally that they may miss the point. Check out what they are saying in Scripture and see what insight you get from reading within the context of the passage and cross references to those verses.

 

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

 

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