Study of Kingdom – John the Baptist

John the Baptist is one of the keys I have used to divide my study of the Kingdom into four sections.  So, it seems right that I take time to do a study on John.  He is mentioned in all four Gospels and the Book of Acts.  Luke mentions him the most (Luke and Acts) and John, as usual, gives a different look into him and his ministry.  I am going to list a possible timeline drawing from all four writers.  Some events are easy to compare and the mentions in Acts just refer to previous facts.  The bullet points may have more than one scripture.

  1. Luke 1:5-63
  2. Luke 3:1-20, Matthew 3:1-15, Mark 1:1-8, John 1: 6 to 40
  3. John 3: 23 – 36
  4. John 4: 1
  5. Matthew 4:12, Mark 2:18. 
  6. Matthew 9:14, Luke 5:33. 
  7. Matthew 11: 1-18, Luke 7:18-33
  8. Matthew 14:1-14  
  9. Mark 6:14-29, Luke 9:9
  10. John 5:33-36
  11. Matthew 16:14, Mark 8:28, Luke 9:19
  12. Luke 11:1 – This one may be out of place. 
  13. Luke 16:16
  14. Matthew 17:13
  15. John 10:40-41
  16. Matthew 21:25-32, Mark 11:30-32, Luke 20:4-6
  17. Acts 1:5,22; 10:37; 11:16; 13:24, 25; 18:25; 19:3,4

All of the Gospel writers included a story of Jesus’ baptism (#2). 

The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) also have #11 and #16 in common.  #11 is the story of Jesus asking the Disciples who the people thought He was?  The answers included John the Baptist and Elijah.  #16 is Jesus’ challenge to the religious rulers in the Temple during Holy Week.

John, the last Old Testament prophet.  “The voice” (Isaiah 40:3) who called Israel to repent.  Matthew (#7 and 14) quotes Jesus comparing John to Elijah.  John, the source of many sermons.  Steven Furtick in his book, Crash the Chatterbox, studies John in the chapter The Expectation Gap and unpacks a little of John’s humanity.  But in doing this study, I have gotten the idea we have not appreciated John and his ministry enough. (Personally, I got sidetracked with the Elijah connection. That is another post.)

We do not know how long John preached repentance and baptized people before Jesus came to him in #2.  Luke quotes Peter, Paul, and Priscila and Aquila in Acts telling people about “the baptism of repentance” and that there was another baptism awaiting them.  Luke 7 (in #7) talks about the effects of that baptism and how it changed people to believe and accept Jesus.

John and faithful disciples and fierce enemies.  Like Elijah he had a crazy king and a vengeful queen, except John’s queen did get him killed.  He never did miracles but directed everyone to Jesus, which was his sole purpose in life.

John’s message and baptism went out before the Apostles and their mission trips.  This is seen in Apollos and Ephesus both knowing John’s baptism, and the way Paul addressed the Jews in Pisidian Antioch (#17).

MORE THOUGHTS ON JOHN:

  1. John could have been a High Priest!  Remember, his father Zachariah was behind the Curtain in the Temple.
  2. May have been an Essene.
  3. Identified, by his dress, as a prophet.
  4. He angered and awed Herod.  He had no problem killing people but was reluctant to kill John.
  5. He clearly heard from the Holy Spirit as to his mission in life.
  6. He lived his life for his mission.  He possibly never heard the accolades that Jesus spoke about him.

Pic from http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/

Bends in the Road vs. A Straight Path

curves in the roadA “bend” in a road is often a literary signal for a change, either good or bad. Adventure is waiting, danger and destruction are lurking, or a golden opportunity awaits the noble wayfarer who is on the journey of a lifetime. Contrast this to the “straight” road where things are peaceful and the future is visible, if only you will lift your head and look.

David in Psalm 4: 8 is asking for just such a straight road because of his enemies. It is interesting that we want a straight road from God but we always want the bend if means adventure and excitement. A contrast here is Isaiah 40:3 where WE are to make straight paths for God. Part of this “preparing” is to knock down hills and fill in valleys.

Hills, valleys, bends in the road, and straight paths so many paradigms and graphic straight roadimages. All the words preached and ink spilled on paper using these icons can they be combined? Maybe! I tend to think horizontally and probably need to think more vertically (ah, more graphic images). If Jesus is in control and I do not purposely choose to bend off of His path why should our paths be anything but straight to God? WELL, what about all the tough times we encounter?

Join me now in a vertical look at a straight road that goes through hilly country. Do you rollercoasterbend down to go into a valley and then bend up to go to a hilltop? But I can’t see everything in front of me on that road! No, God never promised that you could always see everything in front of you He just said, “Follow Me.”

What about Isaiah 40: 3? Since the command there is that we make level paths so that God’s glory will be revealed; may I suggest that as we knock off high spots and fill in the low spots on the path for people behind us, it will be smoother and a little more level for them.

 

https://openclipart.org/detail/177913/on-the-road

https://openclipart.org/detail/25003/curves-ahead-sign

https://openclipart.org/detail/153769/roller-coaster