What’s the theological significance of John The Baptist’s message & Jesus’ baptism?

What role does baptism play in a ‘Biblical Relationship’ with God?

Luke 3:1-23

It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests.

  • 30 AD the beginning of Jesus’ ‘Public Ministry’
  • The Scripture is anchored in historic reality, corresponding to other histories

At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.

  • John had time for preparation in the wilderness
  • Once given his ‘Marching Orders’ he was focused on a single message
  • His message: ‘If you have repented and turned to God to be forgiven, show it in a public proclamation of baptism’
  • The Scripture specifically asserts this message is ‘From God’

4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!

5 The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. 6 And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.’”

  • Connecting the Old Testament with current reality (The arrival of Christ)
  • Our obedience to ‘believers baptism’ is a form of clearing MY road for Jesus
  • The public confession of our faith is a way God reveals himself to ‘All People’

7 When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’

  • It became ‘Popular’…when crowds came…real confession of sin is not popular
  • John calls out the idea of doing baptism for show, checking it off your list
  • Baptism is not an ‘Insurance policy’
  • It is to signify your acknowledgement of sin & surrender to God 4 forgiveness
  • It is then to be backed up by your life / lifestyle / actions
  • In ‘Believers Baptism’ you give The Body license to hold you accountable
  • It’s not about someone else conferring you in…each Soul is an individual

That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

  • God knows where you are regarding a true confession of Christ as Lord
  • His judgement is perfect
  • Good Fruit = Repenting of your sins & turning to God V. 8 (surrender)
  • Don’t produce good fruit, thrown into the fire

10 The crowds asked, “What should we do?” 11 John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” 12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.” 14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”

  • In order for John to baptize them he wanted to be sure they were serious
  • Baptism is meant to awaken you to the spiritual reality of surrendering your life
  • Baptism is a proclamation / confession of Christ as Lord following His example
  • Then there is practical living that shows the influence of Christ’s Lordship
  • The Scripture is teaching a ‘Both And’: Baptism & Surrendered Living

15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals.

  • There was a buzz prior to John The Baptist about the coming Messiah
  • John knew his baptism was not what determined forgiveness
  • He speaks of what he is doing will be totally overshadowed
  • This example describes the difference between him and Jesus (God v man)

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

  • The coming Messiah will ‘Immerse’ / ‘Baptize’ everyone in His ‘Person’ or His ‘Wrath’
  • Reminiscent of Simeon’s prophecy, the Messiah would define redemption
  • There is no place between: either the barn or never-ending fire

18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people. 19 John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. 20 So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.

  • Luke uses the term ‘Good News’ that is, forgiveness from God for sin
  • Herod was not a legit King, John had a low tolerance for fakers

21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy. ” 23 Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry.

  • Among the crowds… the example is a very public situation
  • God Himself (Jesus Christ) initiated being baptized
  • He took it very seriously; as He was praying…
  • Father confers His blessing on Son for obedience (fulfilling all righteousness)

(Matthew 3:13-15)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

The rest of the chapter is a genealogy of Jesus’ earthly father’s heritage

It was 77 generations from Adam to Jesus.

The first and last lines of the genealogy: Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Adam was the son of God.

Application Questions:

Why is John The Baptist’s message important to understanding who Jesus is?

Why does John preach repentance demonstrated in baptism?

What is the connection between baptism and God-centered living?

Why is Jesus’ public baptism in all four gospel accounts?

What role does baptism play in a ‘Biblical Relationship’ with God?