John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
Key Verse Thought: Read the Key Verse. Understand that “John” in this verse, is John the Baptist (whom we will learn about in this lesson). His job was to tell the people that God sent Jesus – the Promised One that the people had been told God would send. Jesus, who came after John (for John prepared the way for Him), really was before John (remember – Jesus is God who has always been here. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This may be difficult to comprehend. Recognize that Jesus is the Word).
Emphasis: We are to recognize that Jesus is the One promised from the beginning, and to remember that Jesus came to turn our hearts to God. We are faithfully to go to church, for that is where we learn more about Jesus and how to obey His commands.
Lesson Summary: In our next lesson as we end our study of the Old Testament, we will recognize that God’s people seemed unable consistently to live according to God’s Word. God had to keep sending men to remind them. With that understanding, we find that the Old Testament closed with a curse. Nevertheless, the promise of One to set man free from that curse was found throughout the Old Testament. In this lesson, we will remember, again, that God always keeps His promises.
In Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, we read of a promise God made to His people to send a messenger who would prepare the way for Jesus (see Malachi 3:1-3). In this lesson, we will learn that messenger was John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:14: “And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come”). He did the job God sent Him to do: he prepared the way for Jesus.
When Jesus came, He came to the Temple – just as God had promised. We will see that Jesus’ parents took Him to the Temple first, but as he grew, Jesus spent much time in the Temple and even the synagogues (where the worship and instruction of God took place). When He went, some people believed, but some did not. Nevertheless, Jesus never stopped going to the synagogues or the Temple. We will learn, by Jesus’ example, the importance for us to go to church today: for that is where the worship and instruction of God continues to take place.
If you are teaching this to children, the following is a craft idea for this lesson to help them remember.