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Luke Chapter 3

The Ministry of John the Baptist

Read Luke 3:1-20

  • John was in the wilderness (in isolation, in the desert)—see Luke 1:80—until God called him to begin his ministry.

  • Jesus and Paul also spent time in isolation, in the wilderness before their ministries.

  • The purpose of John's ministry was to prepare people's hearts for the coming of Jesus.

  • Verse 3 tells us that John preached "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

  • defines the word "repent" as follows: "to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life." John urged the people to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (verse 8). There were some among the crowds who believed that they could be saved just because they were descendants of Abraham. Not true. No one can enter the kingdom of heaven through someone else. Jesus is the only Way, and each person must make their own decision to accept Him.

  • John 14:6—"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'"

  • When the people asked John what they should do to show that their repentance was genuine, John told the people to be:

  1. Generous—see verse 11

  2. Honest—see verse 13

  3. Content—see verse 14

(Source: The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, general editors, Published by David C. Cook, 1983 p. 211)

  • John's ministry made the people expectant of the coming Messiah.

  • In verse 17, John talked of Jesus' role as the judge of mankind. He makes it clear that there is a heaven and a hell.

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