Presentation of the Seed
John the Baptist
“…Gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:1-4).
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The promise of the “seed of the woman” was uttered some four thousand years before the arrival of this particular moment in history. The Seed had traveled from Adam and Eve to countless generations of men and women who had faithfully discharged their duty as the keepers and carriers of the divine Seed, Jesus Christ. Many lives were taken by the enemy of the Seed, Satan, in an attempt to stop the Seed from ever appearing on this planet. All kinds of trickery and deceit were employed in driving people away from this most noble task. Kings and kingdoms rose and fell on the account of this cosmic battle between God, the lover of humanity and the rightful king of the universe, and Satan, the ultimate embodiment of evil, the vicious murderer of the human race, who for his own interests and usurped kingdom, justified any means in preserving his ends. The history of the Old Testament attests to the atrocities he committed in an attempt to thwart and delay the coming of the Seed. Satan always tries to buy some more time, just enough to be able to infect and inject his poisonous lies into the human race, creating more victims for Hell.
The Seed had experienced four thousand years of human pain, tears, anguish, cries, pleas, and misery as well as moments of victory, joy, fulfillment, fullness, and purpose. Genealogies served not only as official records, but also as the meaning of the lives of these men and women who had stood in the limelight of history, each fulfilling their responsibility as the Seed bearer of the next generation. They each had held the torch of the testimony of God in this marathon of time, and each had faithfully run the appointed distance, only to pass the torch on to the next generation. They were not perfect people. They had their fair share of weaknesses, mistakes, sins, and tragedies; yet, God overlooked their flaws and imperfections in the light of a greater purpose that would come about out of these moments of failure coupled with the provision of the shed blood of a very special sacrificial instrument who transcended time and space. They all hoped in the depth of their heart that they would be the one to gaze in the eyes of the promised one. Adam assumed that his son Cain, his firstborn would be the one; all the Patriarchs rejoiced at the thought of seeing the day of the Seed as we read in John 8:56, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad”; Israel yearned for the “prophet” God would raise up from among their brethren; King David longed for the day of the Seed; and all other prophets and seers pleaded with God to hurry and bring forth His Seed to this world.
The promised Seed, like every natural seed that contains the genetic history of its ancestral parents, had acquired all the experiences of humanity and was familiar with the human condition. John says, “He knew all men and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25).
In Galatians 4:4-5 Paul states, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons”. The fullness of time in part means the completion of all the historic, moral, and religious development humanity needed to experience and to transmit to the Seed in order for this Seed to be perfect and fully in tune with the history and nature of man. Isaiah 53:3 states that Christ was “acquainted with grief”. He had four thousand years to be acquainted with human grief: from the moment Adam was driven away from the presence of God and had to eventually bury for the first time the lifeless body of another human being, his son Abel, to the time His mother Mary cried giving birth to Him, the Christ.
The time had come for God to finally bring forth His Seed in and among human beings.
Every experience of the people who formed the lineage of the Seed for four thousand years was recorded and preserved in the essence of the Seed. That is why the book of Hebrews says that Jesus was very much like us, so He would be a faithful and compassionate high priest. He was not only fully human, but He was a human with four thousand years of experience, capable of understanding and knowing the heart, mind, pains, challenges, victories and achievements of mankind.
At this point, two key individuals enter the scene: Mary and John the Baptist. Mary was the physical presenter of the Seed and John the Baptist was the spiritual presenter of the Seed. Mary was the womb in which God released His cherished and beloved Seed, to be planted in the soil of humanity to bear the fruit He was destined to produce. Did you know that Christ was predestined to be released, presented, buried, and to bear the abundant fruit of God’s life and glory in the material world? Yes, He was destined for this glorious calling as His Father released Him into the material world by speaking Him into the womb of Mary. John describes by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (1:1, 14). God had kept His beloved Son and His Life in His bosom for ages past and now in the fullness of time, He would release His Seed for a higher and greater purpose: infusing the universe with the Life of God. One day, our empty universe, just like Earth in Genesis 1:2, will be filled with light, life, and glory as God speaks His Son into all the universe through the redeemed and glorified man! What a calling! What a destiny! The entire universe as we know it will be filled with the outshining of the glory of God through the chosen vessel of God: Man! Christ was the Seed that set in motion a series of redemptive, restorative, and transforming processes which would end with the full and complete manifestation of God’s intention: His Glory outshining through man in all that He has created so God would be “All and in All” (I Cor. 15:28).
Every great and beautiful thing begins with a seed! The Seed of an idea in an artist ultimately brings about a masterpiece. Everything begins with a Seed. Even evil has a seed! Satan is the beginning of Evil; he has and will continue to fertilize the victimized soil of humanity with his murderous seeds until God’s Seed, promised and now revealed, chokes them to oblivion through the triumph of Christ the divine Seed and His Church, the fruit of the Seed!
Mary accepted the Seed in her heart and in her very being, nurtured Him for nine months and released Him into the world one night two thousand years ago. When Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, she was told that her son, whom she would name Jesus, would assume the throne of His father David. The angel confirms to Mary that her offspring is from the Seed of David, even though He has no human father. How could that be? Mary herself was from the lineage of David and she was the body that would give the Son of God His Davidic heritage. Interestingly enough, when Elizabeth met Mary, the Holy Spirit rejoicing in her, exclaimed, “Blessed are you [the carrier of the Seed] among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42). What was in Mary’s womb was a Seed that was also the fruit of God’s four thousand years of toil to give mankind the greatest gift of all time: His own life through His Son, Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Mary then rejoices and begins her beautiful magnificat or song. As she praises her God and savior, she sings, “He has filled the hungry with good things [bread is made with seeds of wheat and Jesus was the true bread that fills man’s spiritual hunger] and the rich He has sent away empty [those who do not realize their need for the divine Seed’s provision of sustenance will be emptied in due time]. He has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His Seed forever.” Mary realized that she was carrying the hope of Israel, the promised Seed of Genesis 3:15 and that she was indeed the woman referred to in Genesis 3, a daughter of Adam and Eve, a daughter of Abraham, a daughter of David. In her humanity, she was from Adam and Eve; in her election, from Abraham; and in her royal destiny, from the house of King David. That is why the genealogy of our Lord in the Gospel of Luke mentions these three names – David, Abraham and Adam – distinctly. Further, when John the Baptist, the cousin of our Lord was born, his father Zacharias uttered many prophetic words regarding his son and his mission in presenting the promised Seed to Israel. Mary had produced the human coating of the Seed. Now John’s mission was to hold the Seed in his hand and show it to all Israel. Israel had been waiting for this day for at least 2500 years. They had paid with their lives; they had been taken captive, persecuted, abused, murdered, shamed, and endured all kinds of sufferings all for the sake of this day, the day God would finally show them the Seed!
Now John had to declare the identity of the Seed and His lordship over Israel. At this point, I would like to show you how John faithfully performed the dual task of presenting the Seed to Israel and planting Him in the soil of the nation who had so patiently endured all things. For four thousand years the human coating of this Seed was being developed and shaped within the nation of Israel; and now was time to see how God would bring forth His masterpiece of “God in the flesh”. Not only Israel but Satan also was interested in knowing the mystery of “God in the flesh”. He had tried with all his might and power to prevent God from taking body and appearing in the human family! He had also, in defeat, been waiting for the presentation of God’s Seed, His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must now compare the baptism of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 3:13-17 with the account in John 1:29-35. As I have already mentioned, Mary and John the Baptist were two key individuals, used by God to bring about the presentation of God’s divine Seed to this world. Mary had fulfilled her mission by allowing the Holy Spirit to take life from her and create the human covering and clothing of our Lord. Now it was John’s turn to play his part in this eternal plan.
John was like a farmer who took the Seed, and in the presence of all Israel, in a symbolic gesture, planted Him in the ground for the time of harvest. John did another great act in relation to the Seed: He tilled the hearts that had become hard due to suffering and prepared the children of Israel for a great work of God as He would place His Son among them and later in them.
In Matthew we read, “in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight’… Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (3:1-6).
This is a beautiful picture drawn by the prophet Isaiah more than 700 years before, showing John as a faithful farmer preparing to plant the Lord’s Seed by tilling the ground of Israel’s heart so that they could receive the Seed. In Isaiah 40:1-2, the prophet utters words of comfort to God’s people and assures them that their warfare is ended. What warfare is the prophet referring to? I believe he is referring to the struggle Israel had endured for over 2500 years in preserving the Seed of the Messiah. God was comforting his people who had shed blood, sweat, and tears for His divine Seed and His welfare. God, in His faithfulness, was rewarding Israel with the fruit of their labor: The promised Seed in the flesh! John cried out, calling the people who had suffered so much to come and have their hearts made ready. The prophet expands the concept of the “making His paths straight” by adding that he, meaning John the Baptist, would proclaim God’s acceptable and promised hour and as a result “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together” (40:3-5). The wounded and afflicted people of Israel were like valleys who would be exalted and the Pharisees and the religious leaders who had made themselves like mountains would be brought low and every notion of insincerity and hypocrisy would be exposed and dealt with. Isn’t this what John said and did? “When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism [high mountains] he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance and do not think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father”. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones and even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’” (Matthew 3:7-10).
John the Baptist was softening the hardened hearts of Israel so the Seed would find a suitable home in which to grow and bear fruit. God’s Seed has to do with our hearts!
The second work of John the Baptist was the identification of the Seed, His presentation to Israel, and the symbolic planting of Him in the soil of the nation of Israel. Therefore, when Jesus approached John to be baptized, John was greatly astonished because he knew who Jesus was: his cousin; and yet the Holy Spirit had given him a clue as to the identity of the Seed: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and he remained upon Him” (John 1:32). We see that John was able to know who the Seed was by the testimony of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 3:13-14 we read, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying ‘I need to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?’” From these two passages we learn that John recognized Jesus and who He really was; and he humbled himself in His presence and submitted to Him. Yet Jesus, God’s promised Seed now in the flesh, insisted that John baptize Him. Why such insistence? Because through the act of baptism, several things would be revealed to Israel: First, Israel would know that the Seed had come and it was Jesus of Nazareth! There were several testimonies at that site which confirmed the identity and the genuineness of the Seed. You cannot necessarily blame Israel for their suspicion of any person claiming to be the Messiah. Ever since the return from captivity, many false and dangerous messiahs had risen, enticing and misleading God’s people to destruction and mass confusion. As the saying goes, they were “once bitten, twice shy!” God would indeed provide irrefutable and hard proof to His people that Jesus was the Seed. At the scene of Christ’s baptism John provided his personal testimony, followed by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, descending as a dove, and finally, the testimony of the Father, who spoke to His Son by saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Therefore, for anyone present at the scene, Jesus of Nazareth became, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the promised Seed of God and the much-awaited Seed of the woman who had come to crush the head of Satan! John even went further in his identification of the Messiah by shouting, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Behold! The Seed in the flesh! When John tried to prevent Christ from being baptized, Jesus insisted that the baptism proceed because it was through that act that the Spirit and the Father would bear testimony and reveal Him to Israel. Therefore, the baptism of Christ was in one respect the moment in history where God, through the instrumentality of John the Baptist, would identify the Seed. The second and equally important message we derive from Christ’s baptism is His symbolic planting in the soil of Israel. Baptism means the burial of that which is dead. John was burying Christ symbolically in the waters of Jordan, a type of death in the Old Testament. The burial of the Seed would produce a great harvest even if at the cost of the death of the Seed. Later, Jesus referred to His own death as a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying (John 12:24). Any seed in nature must be planted or buried in order to bring about an abundant harvest. Thus John identified the Seed and declared Him to be the Lamb of God, presented Him to Israel, and then planted Him in Israel by burying Him in the symbolic waters of death. As Jesus came up from the water, symbolic of His resurrection, a great and abundant harvest of believers and sons would be gained for His Father’s pleasure and purpose.
John had fulfilled his duty: he was the voice in the wilderness preparing the hearts of Israel as a ground in which the Seed would eventually be planted and produce fruit. He showed to Israel who the true Seed and Messiah was. And he began the process of the planting of the Seed by the token and symbolic act of baptism.
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