Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians
The Foundation of Jesus Christ
The Ministry of John and his Baptism
1 ¶ Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.376. The Word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.377. The Word of God led John’s to his ministry of preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
This means that a sinner could have his sins forgiven through the baptism of repentance. This was a brand new message from the LORD GOD. The children of Israel did not have a way to have their sins forgiven (without sacrifice of life) until the moment that John preached baptism of repentance.378. Isaiah, the prophet, had prophesied John the Baptist in Isaiah 40:3. In Isaiah’s prophecy, John the Baptist will:
1) Cry out in the wilderness “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”.
2) Fill every valley
3) Bring every mountain and hill low
4) Straighten every crooked
5) Smooth every rough
6) Enable all flesh to see the salvation of the LORD GOD
John was given the job to bring all of the previous Scriptures and practices together to move on to the next step of the LORD GOD’s plan for salvation (See 4sin). John’s ministry was to make men spiritually prepared to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. The way he was to accomplish this was straightening their paths by balancing their beliefs with the new revealed Truth.
7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.379. John preached new doctrine from the LORD GOD to the multitude who came to be baptized. His messages included:
1. Bringing fruits (results of spiritual works) to the LORD GOD that are worthy of His forgiveness
2. Warning them not to rely on their inheritance because of Abraham, and reminding them that the LORD GOD can make new children of Abraham if He Wills.
3. Warning them that the LORD GOD is going to cut down all the trees (spiritual lives) that are not producing fruits (results of spiritual works), and cast them into the fire.
4. Encouraging good works and a truthful and peaceful life for the newly baptized.
John baptized the multitude in the baptism of
repentance. This type of baptism required sinners to repent of their
sins, then do good works to prove their repentance. This baptism of
repentance was used as a beginning point and made the path straight
toward Jesus Christ's baptism of redemption which would come later.
15 ¶ And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.380. John had such a powerful message and presence from the LORD GOD, that many people wondered if he was the prophesied Messiah. John told them that he was not.
381. John spoke of the one to come that:
1) Was mightier than John
2) Whose shoes John would not be worthy enough to unloose
3. Would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire (See Holy Ghost baptism for deeper study of this verse.)
18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.382. When all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized.
Many of the people that were baptized later became the followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus was baptized, not as a sinner, but to fulfill all righteousness (Mat 3:15).383. As he was praying, the heaven opened. The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him.
The Holy Ghost entered Jesus Christ at the moment of His baptism. From that moment on, his life was connected completely to the LORD GOD.384. A voice came from heaven said to Jesus Christ, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."
The LORD GOD spoke from the heavens that could be heard by all people gathered around Jesus Christ at his baptism. The purpose of the LORD GOD's voice being heard, was to declare that Jesus Christ was His Son, in whom He was well pleased. This took the question of John possibly being the Messiah away, and identified Jesus Christ as the LORD GOD's son.
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:2-5 AV)385. John baptized in the wilderness
386. John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
387. John's baptism required the confession of sin
388. John's baptism was done with water
27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. (Luke 7:27-30 AV)389. There is no greater prophet born of women than John the Baptist
390. Those people that are in the Kingdom of God, are considered even greater than what John the Baptist was thought of on earth.
391. All the people that heard John, including the despised worldly tax collectors, were made righteous by the LORD GOD because of the baptism of John.
392. The Pharisees (religious separatists) and lawyers (experts in Mosaic law) rejected the LORD GOD's Word and refused to be baptized by John.
A Pharisee is a sanctimonious, hypocritical,
self-righteous heretic who practices and advocates strict observance of
external forms and ceremonies of religion or conduct without regard to
the spirit. He makes a hypocritical show of religious devotion, piety,
and righteousness. He is confident of his own righteousness, and is
smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinion and behavior of others.
He pretends to have moral, religious beliefs and principles, that he
does not possess.
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About the Authors
Kathy L. McFarland is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity (Professional Ministries Track) degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary & Graduate School. Kathy is a noted expert on Old Testament exegesis, Christian apologetics, and Bible typology and mysteries.