1 Chronicles 29 / Ezekiel 38 / John 4
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist...And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.
...and he will be filled with the holy spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
John was filled with the spirit, as opposed to Jesus who was (the first to be) born by the spirit. That is a big difference, because John was born of a man, like the OT prophets, and the spirit was on him, as it was with God's prophets. He was filled with the spirit, filled with the truth about God's intention, as were all of the prophets, but he was born by a man. Jesus, however, was born of the spirit, and had no man's seed as part of his birth. He was the first to be born from above, the "Firstborn among many brothers."
John was the last of the OT prophets and the bridge between the old and the new covenants—part of the old and part of the new. John was a very special human—very important to God. Although all the prophets pointed at the Son of God, John most directly prepared the land for the One who brought the new birth, new creation, new water and bread, new way to worship God, the new definition of life and the new covenant.
What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you."
To prepare the way for Jesus, to make some of the people ready to accept his identity as the One who brought the message of the new covenant. To turn the hearts of the children toward their Father so that His heart could be turned toward them. To make some hearts ready to be able to believe in what didn't seem right, to receive him who would soon be coming. The disciples were baptizing people as John had also been doing. The disciple John made a point of saying that it wasn't Jesus but the disciples, because the work of preparing the people for Jesus (John's baptizing) was great and very important, but the work the Son would do was invaluable to God. By it he gave his Father the family He's wanted since the beginning, the reason for the existence of everything that can be seen.
The new covenant was coming, along with the new way to worship God and the new creation. the Son was coming and he brought with him the new definition of "life"—the new way to live, not by the natural bread and natural water, but by the new water and the new bread. Before a man lived by natural bread and natural water, but the new way was coming with the new definition of what life actually was. Life according to the humans is the temporary existence, which is flawed—its deterioration and demise is proof. Life according to the Father is that a human would be changed into a being who could come near the Father because of that transformation away from being a human, because one who could come near Him is one who can start to know Him.
Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
That possibility hadn't come before, but had come in the person of Jesus the firstborn Son who was close to the Father; and it would come for others by the work he would do. He was and became the living word, the spirit of truth, the living water and the bread from heaven, the firstborn Son of God, the savior of the world of those who love and want to find God with all their heart; because and only because of the life of the Father living in him, the Son.
It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'
Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
In the temptation, the Lord thought about satisfying the animal cravings and desires with natural bread, the old way, which he came to destroy for those whom God had chosen. It was the logical thing to think because not only was he hungry, but also he knew that he had just been given the power to actually do what he thought about doing (turning a rock into bread). His life, though, wasn't about the old way, but the way that couldn't be seen—the way of the spiritual Father.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna (from the spiritual place where God lives), which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
But Jesus knew about another kind of life—that which was in him—nourished not by anything natural but by the spiritual activity that the Father specifically purposed in the Son. That is what kept him going further in toward the Father, close to Him so he could keep going. It was the new life that lived in him whom Moses (through whom the manna came) spoke about and pointed to.
I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Being alive to God in his heart was the life that was in Jesus, which he knew was the only real life because that was what brought him close to the Father and he knew that was the life that mattered. This temporary existence is nothing but a breath. It was the actual life of the eternal Father, living in Jesus' body. The life of the natural, of Adam, was not life at all, because it was based on and ended only in death. He also knew that he would bring this new life to the other brothers, providing that he did the work of God and preserved that condition, of being God's perfect Lamb, by not following the animal instincts.
Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.
After the words, "It is finished" were spoken by Jesus, this became possible retroactively for God's sons in the OT (including John the baptist), and forwardly for God's sons in the NT. In the middle was Jesus, who applied this new meaning of "life" to people such as Noah, David, Abraham, Elijah, Moses, Enoch, etc—all of the men whom God loved, but couldn't give life to because He couldn't come near them. Before Jesus, they remained animals bound as one to the natural creation (the ground) that held them tightly—prisoners stuck in the dirt until He offered up the perfect sacrifice—the perfectly worthy and submissive Lamb who chose to be obedient to the Father and not the animal. That choice undid the binding of those OT sons whom God loved but couldn't save from the dirt—only the Son could by his choice, and he saved them for the Father's sake.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
John made the way ready for people's hearts to accept the new way of finding God and worshipping Him—of living unto God and being His people. The old way was coming to an end. No longer would things be static and far removed between God and His sons since they were separated from Him, but there would be a new creation whereby a son could become a spirit being, a child of God with God's spiritual DNA—born unto God instead of Adam. This would be accomplished by what the firstborn Son would do by the choice he made for the Father and against the animal (the opposite of Adam's choice, which would undo its consequences for those who were called by God to become sons in His family). The Son brought the new definition of "life"—alive unto God because of the spiritual birth that would have to take place in order for that life to be real. Real it was for many sons, after the Son's work was accomplished.
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.
In order to have eternal life, one must have the living water given to them, which is merely for the purpose of making them clean (water is a cleansing agent) enough to come near their true Father. The spring of water is that which flows from the earth and is clean and pure, filtered by the rocks deep in the earth. It is a thing that is created and done by God, not man. A well is created by man. It seeps into the hole dug by man and is stagnant until one draws water out. It does not flow, and is not clean and pure like a spring. That is what the living water and living bread do for us, not only sustaining the new creation, "living" unto God, but it also makes us pure and clean enough for Him to actually "live" in us, in a living relationship speaking to us as the living word that we can hear. That is the only thing that can keep us going further in to where He is, where we can continue to know Him by being in His presence and gaining the mind of the Son, who has already been united with the Father and will never have to leave Him.
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?"
But we have the mind of Christ.