Jesus said that among those born of women “no one is greater than John the Baptist.” (Matt.11:11) Yesterday at Cornerstone, we surveyed the ministry of this great prophet from Luke 3:1-14. We considered how John’s message of repentance readied the people for Christ’s public ministry on earth. The same is true today. If King Jesus is to enter your life by the Spirit, he will come on the pathway of repentance.
In the two opening verses of our passage, we have no less than seven historical figures referenced. What do these historical and political figures tell us about the context of John’s ministry?
The focus of John’s ministry is summarized in verse 3, “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
- What is repentance?
- What is the relationship of repentance to baptism?
Read Matthew 7:16-21. How did John’s preaching prepare the way for the Lord? (cf. Isaiah 40:3-5) What is the relationship between John and Jesus’ message and the modern day pastor? What do these passages teach us about the priority of the preaching ministry of a church?
Apparently John was free from the fear of offending others for the sake of the truth (see v.7). Read Galatians 1:10. Are you shrinking back from sharing the truth because you’re afraid of offending those around you? “Beware,” Jesus says, “when all men speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26). How might you grow in this area right now?
In verse 8, John speaks to the crowds saying, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”
- What are the fruits in keeping with repentance?
- How does verses 10-14 further unpack the teaching of the fruit of repentance?
Take time and inquire of your spouse, parents, or a close friend about where they see the fruits of repentance in your life. Ask them to identify areas where deeper repentance is needed in your life. Take their words to heart, and ask God to grant you repentant grace and its accompanying fruits.