“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophets, BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE THY FACE, WHICH SHALL PREPARE THE WAY BEFORE THEE.
THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.
John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him.
And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of skin (leather belt) about his loins; and he did eat locust and wild honey.
And preached saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:1-15
As we begin our adventure into refreshing ourselves through some of the teaching of Jesus, I want to point something out.
One of the main issues today, that has led up to the false teachings that are rampant today leading millions, possibly billions down the wrong path as they have trusted the salvation of their souls to these “teachers” that are either intentionally, for gain, misleading them or having put themselves into a field that they are not qualified for.
To be qualified, you must have a true relationship with Christ, included having repented of sins and accepted his salvation.
If they themselves have never repented, how on earth can they lead others to repentance?
God is Holy, He changes that for no one.
So I want to give a little of John’s story from multiple Gospel accounts, this I believe is one of the major issues going on, no one can truly understand the word of God unless God reveals it to them by His Spirit, this is why Jesus, when asked by the disciples why he spoke in parables, answered this.
Mark 4:11-12:”And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
And he said unto, Unto you it is given to know the mystery (secret, hidden truths) of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without (outside) all these things are done in parables.
THAT SEEING THEY MAY SEE, AND NOT PERECEIVE; AND HEARING THEY MAY HEAR. AND NOT UNDERSTAND; LEST AT ANY TIME THEY SHOULD BE CONVERTED, AND THEIR SINS SHOULD BE FORGIVEN THEM.”
That is why so many will twist scripture and try to argue points when they do not have the complete understanding of what they are miscommunicating to others.
God had the Bible written in such a way, that we can read part of an account in one book and then need to read the rest of the story in one or several other books of the Bible, and some things from the Old Testament are revisited and further explained in the New Testament and vice versa.
That is why we are told to “righty divide the word of Truth”, it is not so easy that they can just pick a book (which they do) and then twist it into their own personal interruption. God has to give us that understanding and in order to have that understanding we have to be in him.
And as they would rather trust in their own “knowledge” and their own “understanding”, he lets them have it their way.
They have the praise of themselves, and of others who are being misled, but they have nothing of God.
Now that we got that out of the way!
I want to give a more detailed account of John, it is good to know these things for ourselves, and it gives us true insight concerning the beginning of Christ’s ministry and the purpose of it.
Luke 3:1-9: “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene.
Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto john the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
And he came into all the country about (around) Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance from the remission of sins.
As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.
EVERY VALLEY SHALL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL SHALL BE BROUGHT LOW; AND THE CROOKED SHALL BE MADE STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH WAYS SHALL BE MADE SMOOTH.
AND ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.
Then said he to the multitudes that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation (offspring) of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father (as an ancestor) for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.”
I want to take an injection moment, before we continue, please notice that John was essentially dealing with the problem we have today.
They were arrogantly saying in their hearts that they did not need this salvation, because they were of the lineage of Abraham, trying to use lineage as an excuse for not having to take personal responsibility for the need of repentance.
And he literally called them the offspring of Vipers, snakes, serpents, taught in all things reprobate, never being warned by those who came before, that there was a wrath to be escaped.
He let them know that this was not about having worshippers or servants of the Lord, that God could create heirs for Abraham out of the very rocks if he so chose, that the need for salvation was not needed of God, but needed by them themselves, as that wrath would come and all not producing fruit of the spirit would be sawn down.
This got their attention! Most people want salvation, that is why it is up to us to let them know the truth.
Luke 3:10-22:”And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
He answered and saith unto them, He that hath two coats (tunics), let him impart (give) to him that hath none: and he that hath meat (food), let him do likewise.
Then came also the publicans (tax collectors) to be baptized, and said unto him, Master (Teacher), what shall we do?
And he said unto them, Exact (Collect) no more than that which is appointed you.
And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, (Do not intimidate or shake down) neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
And the people were in expectation, and all men mused (reasoned) in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not.
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water: but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner (barn);but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved (rebuked) by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils he had done.
Added this yet above all, that he shut John up in the prison.
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened.
And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said Thou art my beloved Son: in thee I am well pleased.”
We’ll get a little more into what went on with John and Herod in another post, but as you see John clearly taught what was acceptable to God. These things were not optional, neither are they optional today.
Lastly, we can see the importance of doing as God requires, as John preached and baptized, warning, and exhorting those who came to him and we see, even, Jesus, in obedience to God, doing the same,
Matthew 3: 13-15: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and thou comest to me?
And Jesus answering said to him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered (allowed) Him.”
John did not want to baptize Jesus, because he knew who Jesus was, (and is), he knew he needed Jesus to baptize him, but Jesus told him to do it, to allow it, because it was fitting, Jesus was an example for us and to us, that all righteous must be fulfilled.
If the Word himself kept Word, how do you suppose so many teach that it is negotiable and open to interpretation? It’s not.
Love & Peace till tomorrow! Thanks for reading!
*Also, I am not shouting! Some scripture is capitalized as it is the Bible to denote it being recited from another passage.
Φλογιζω NBJ 2022/ Rev. N. Brown Johnson