Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Tim Potter
- Category: The Gospel of John
- October 9, 2022
Biographical Sketch of John the Baptist.
John’s account of the life of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. John the Baptist is mentioned in all 4 Gospels (Matt 5, Mark 1, Luke 3). Apostle John gives one more aspect as he reports on John the Baptist, fitting with his purpose to show that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
The first mention of the Gospel of John’s theme is spoken by John the Baptist in John 1:34. The events reported in this section happened in 3 days. John the Baptist exposes unbelief and addresses them in a very direct way. (See Matthew 3:7-10.) Only saving faith, not faith in traditions, can save and change people. This Gospel writer often identifies Jews with unbelief. The nation embodied unbelief, beginning with its leadership. He wants religious unbelievers to know their danger, repent, and believe in Christ.
Luke gives more details of the background of John the Baptist, but his first mention in Scripture is a prophecy in Isaiah 40:3 of a voice that would come before the Lord. The Jews’ enamorment with the image of a coming ruler overshadowed the prophecies of a coming Savior.
John the Baptist’s birth was foretold by an angel in Luke 1:6-16 as Christ’s birth was also announced. Zechariah probably had stopped praying for a child, but God had not forgotten his prayer. He answered in His own time. Zechariah struggled to believe and was made mute. His wife did conceive, and when Mary visited months later, baby John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of his Savior (Luke 1:39-45). When the baby was named as God’s messenger had said, Zechariah’s voice was returned. He was restored when he took this simple step of obedience.
John’s name means “graced by God.” A person given this name was considered a gift of God’s grace and someone who exhibited character of strength and kindness (meekness). John the Baptist was gifted to preach grace.
John the Baptist grew up relatively unknown for 30 years. He lived in the wilderness, eating honey and locust, wearing camel skin. He was a nonconformist in every way who preached an unconventional message. He was very aware of his identity and purpose and obeyed what God told him to preach (Luke 3:2-3).
John the Baptist preached repentance and faith. Luke records John’s preaching of the fruits of repentance in Luke 3:10-14. These are actions of a converted life and evidence of someone who’s been changed from the inside out. His preaching was counter-cultural and drew the anger of a wicked king (Luke 3:18-20). The religious leaders were also irritated by John’s preaching. John the Baptist enjoyed the success that God had ordained for him, even though it did not look like political success.
John’s Gospel shows that John’s purpose and message was simply obeying the will of God according to the Word of God as it was given to him. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.) And he stayed true to his purpose until the end of his life. God has a plan for us just as He did for John the Baptist. God calls each of us to be a unique voice for Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).
John’s Interrogation by the Religious Leaders
John 1:19-22 records several questions sent to John the Baptist from the religious Jewish leaders. When asked who he was, he answered with who he was not, using the title of the Messianic king. Yet Jesus speaks more highly of John the Baptist’s ministry than any other prophet in history. He was the last prophet who preached the message of Christ.
John the Baptist finally answered their questions by not speaking about himself as they had asked but pointing to the Lord. Later, John practiced what he preached when he sent two of his disciples away to follow Jesus instead of him.
- Only saving faith, not faith in traditions, can save and change people. Does your interest in Jesus center around what you can get for yourself? You must accept Him as Savior before you can experience the benefits of His kingship.
- Zechariah probably had stopped praying for a child, but God had not forgotten his prayer and answered in His own time. Has God ever answered a prayer you had stopped praying?
- Like Zechariah, sometimes faithful people waver, but there is always room to obey and be restored.
- God has a plan for us just as He did for John the Baptist. God calls each of us to be a unique voice for Christ. This is where we will find our significance and joy. Ask God for guidance as you interact with your community and share the exclusive message of Christ.
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Deuteronomy 18:15-18 – “The Prophet”