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John Baptist; The Nazirite Who Prepared the Way

December 7, 1997

How did John prepare the way?  He spoke a message of repentance at the coming of heaven’s kingdom.  Just as all roads led to Rome, all that John said and did led to Christ. These are the ways in which John spoke:

1.  He speaks to us from the Holy Spirit.  (Lk. 1:13-15, 41-44, 76-80)

 

Lu 1:13  But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.

Lu 1:14  He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,

Lu 1:15  for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.

 

Lu 1:41  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Lu 1:42  In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

Lu 1:43  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Lu 1:44  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

 

Lu 1:76  And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,

Lu 1:77  to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,

Lu 1:78  because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven

Lu 1:79  to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

Lu 1:80  And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

2.       He speaks to us from prophetic history.  (Mal. 4:5; Lk. 1:16-17;         Lk. 3:2-6; Mt. 11:7-15; Lk. 7:29-35; Mk. 9:11-13; Mt. 17:11-13)

Mal 4:5  "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

Lu 1:16  Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.

Lu 1:17  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."

Lu 3:2  during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.

Lu 3:3  He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Lu 3:4  As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.

Lu 3:5  Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.

Lu 3:6  And all mankind will see God's salvation.'"

Mt 11:7 ¶ As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?

Mt 11:8  If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces.

Mt 11:9  Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

Mt 11:10  This is the one about whom it is written: "'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

Mt 11:11  I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Mt 11:12  From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

Mt 11:13  For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.

Mt 11:14  And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Mt 11:15  He who has ears, let him hear.

Lu 7:29  (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John.

Lu 7:30  But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

Lu 7:31  "To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?

Lu 7:32  They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'

Lu 7:33  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'

Lu 7:34  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." '

Lu 7:35  But wisdom is proved right by all her children."

Mr 9:11  And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?"

Mr 9:12  Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected?

Mr 9:13  But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."

Mt 17:11  Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.

Mt 17:12  But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands."

Mt 17:13  Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

3.       He speaks to us from his humility.  (Mk. 1:4-7; Mt. 3:13-15)

 

Mr 1:4  And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Mr 1:5  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Mr 1:6  John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

Mr 1:7  And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.

Joh 1:19 ¶ Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

Joh 1:20  He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."

Joh 1:21  They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."

Joh 1:22  Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

Joh 1:23  John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

 

Mt 3:13 ¶ Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

Mt 3:14  But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

Mt 3:15  Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

Joh 1:29 ¶ The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Joh 1:30  This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'

Joh 1:31  I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

Joh 1:32  Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.

Joh 1:33  I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'

Joh 1:34  I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

Joh 3:22 ¶ After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.

Joh 3:23  Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.

Joh 3:24  (This was before John was put in prison.)

Joh 3:25  An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.

Joh 3:26  They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-- the one you testified about-- well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

Joh 3:27  To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.

Joh 3:28  You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'

Joh 3:29  The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

Joh 3:30  He must become greater; I must become less.

Joh 3:31  "The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.

Joh 3:32  He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.

Joh 3:33  The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.

Joh 3:34  For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.

Joh 3:35  The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

Joh 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

4.       He speaks to us from his courage.  (Lk. 3:7-20)

 

Lu 3:7  John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

Lu 3:8  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

Lu 3:9  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

Lu 3:10  "What should we do then?" the crowd asked.

Lu 3:11  John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

Lu 3:12  Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"

Lu 3:13  "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.

Lu 3:14  Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely-- be content with your pay."

Lu 3:15 ¶ The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.

Lu 3:16  John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Lu 3:17  His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Lu 3:18  And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

Lu 3:19  But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the other evil things he had done,

Lu 3:20  Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

5.       He speaks to us from his weakness.  (Mk. 1:14-15; Lk. 7:18-23)

 

Mr 1:14 ¶ After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.

Mr 1:15  "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

 

Lu 7:18  John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them,

Lu 7:19 ¶ he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

Lu 7:20  When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

Lu 7:21  At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.

Lu 7:22  So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.

Lu 7:23  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

6.       He speaks to us from his death.  (Mk. 6:14-29)

 

Mr 6:14 ¶ King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."

Mr 6:15  Others said, "He is Elijah." And still others claimed, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago."

Mr 6:16  But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!"

Mr 6:17  For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married.

Mr 6:18  For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

Mr 6:19  So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,

Mr 6:20  because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

Mr 6:21  Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.

Mr 6:22  When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want, and I'll give it to you."

Mr 6:23  And he promised her with an oath, "Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom."

Mr 6:24  She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" "The head of John the Baptist," she answered.

Mr 6:25  At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

Mr 6:26  The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.

Mr 6:27  So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison,

Mr 6:28  and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.

Mr 6:29  On hearing of this, John's disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Conclusion:  Preparation Canyon

Thought:  The crowns you wear will stay in the kingdom in which they were won.

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