Summary: Message 2 from John exploring the life and ministry of John the Baptist
Chico Alliance Church
“John the Baptist”
The gospel of Belief
There are really two treads of truth that intricately wind through every chapter.
The person of Christ as the Son of God
The eternal life available to everyone who believes.
I. Initial presentation of the Word and His witness 1:1-34
A. Introduction of the Eternal Word, Jesus 1:1-5
1. He already existed at the beginning 1:1a
2. He enjoyed relationship with God from the beginning 1b, 2
3. He Himself was God 1c
4. He was the agent of creation 3
5. He is the source of all life and light in a world of darkness 4-5
B. Introduction to the witness John the Baptist
All though the bible and history we read about those mightily used by God. We must be careful comparing our life with theirs but conscious of applicable principles and practices left as a model of us to imitate. John introduces us to a powerful witness to Christ in John the Baptist. He says, “There came a man sent from God whose name was John.” Today we take the time to look into the life and ministry of this powerful servant of God.
The story of John the Baptist stretches back hundreds of years before Christ when, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah the prophet of God prophesied about a special person who would arrive on the scene to prepare hearts to receive their Messiah.
A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. "Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 40:3-5
I. His Coming Foretold
All four gospels refer to this seemingly obscure prophesy and apply it to John. Isaiah prophesied at a very trying time in Israel’s history; a time of despair and hopelessness. He was called by God to bring them hope by looking for God’s intervention. He draws their attention to a powerful God who cares deeply and longs to shepherd his people and empower them to rise above their circumstances.
B. By an angel of the Lord
The first chapter of Luke provides some significant background into John the Baptist and his family. John’s father was a priest and married to a woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth had not been able to bear children all their married life. This godly couple prayed constantly in the early days for a child but were now pretty much past the age for child bearing. The Bible clearly points out that both were righteous in the sight of God walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. While Zacharias fulfilled his duty as a priest in his rotation, and angel of the Lord appeared to him. There had been no formal word or proclamation from God by an angel of anyone for over 400 years. God broke his formal silence by sending an angel to this humble priest announcing the birth of a special child. Such an appearance would have created much fear and wonder so the angel spoke.
"Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
I wonder if Zacharias wondered what prayer the angel meant.
Never assume God intends to say, “No” to your request unless God says, “NO!”
The angel foretold the birth of a special child to this couple and also tells them what to name him. The angle also reveals some other things about the event and this special child before he was born.
"And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. "And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. "And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Here is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy coming in the spirit and power of Elijah. The spirit and power of Elijah refers to his power to proclaim the truth in a dark generation. The focus is on proclamation of the truth not miracles and signs because John did not do any miracles. His greatness rested solely on his proclamation of the truth. More about his mission and message later. Zacharias experienced a difficult time believing all this and wanted more verification than the word of the top angel Gabriel. This lapse of faith cost him his speech for the duration of the pregnancy. So even before John was born, there was an expectancy of a special child.