Summary: This sermon explores the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry and how it really all began for Jesus, and how it begins for us.
Part 3 – The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith – www.PS127.org
INTRODUCTION TO SERIES
We started this series before Good Friday, Passover and Resurrection Day.
I began talking about what God has called us to do, and how we need to have an understanding of what salvation is before we can even begin to serve the Lord.
This week I want to look at the ministry of Jesus.
I want to look at how He was prepared, and how He began His ministry.
PRAYER FOR HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERSTANDING
Matthew 3:1 – 11 John the Baptist Prepares the Way
“1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
"A voice of one calling in the desert,
’Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ’We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I. JOHN THE BAPTIST
It is believed John the Baptist began his ministry approximately 6 months before Jesus.
We see John fulfilling the “great commission” even before Christ gave it to the disciples in Matthew 28.
This shows us that it has always been God’s desire to have us reconciled to Him.
GO, Teach, Baptize and teach them to obey all Jesus commanded.
a. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR
John was preaching that all should confess & repent of their sin because the Kingdom of Heaven was near.
Again, nothing has changed since then. God still wants us to confess we are sinful and repent.
Confession + Repentance = Forgiveness
The Kingdom of Heaven was ushered in when Jesus was sacrificed. It was at that moment we were capable of having a relationship with the Father in Heaven once more, and the Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth.
Remember when the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray to the Father in heaven, and He answered, “Until your Kingdom comes, your will on earth as it is in heaven.”
When Christ was sacrificed, the debt of sin was paid, and Jesus reclaimed all that was lost because of the fall.
And now, we, the Body of Christ, those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, are in the Kingdom of heaven!
b. PROPHECY OF MESSIAH
While preaching, John quotes scripture of prophecy from Isaiah 40:3.
c. REPENTANCE & BAPTISM
John was preaching repentance. This means to recognize your wrong doings, and to go in the opposite direction.
For the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, and Christ is the Head of it!
Who was John preaching to? The Jews.
The Kingdom of heaven, Jesus, the Messiah, salvation, was being offered to Israel!
And John tried to show them that this was the Messiah prophesied about.
Some accepted, some refused, just as it is today.
But the Kingdom was offered first to God’s chosen people, then later to the Gentiles.
II. JOHN’S APPEARANCE
Many have described him as a wild looking man with unkempt hair and clothing, preaching in the wild.
We can read that his clothes were camel hair, and he had a leather belt, sounds like he was dressed like Fred Flintstone.
Now I know that we have all wondered and amazed at the fact that John the Baptist ate bugs. But the truth is the word that was translated “locust” here, is the Greek word akris, which literally means “the tops of vegetation”.
So he ate the tops of vegetation and wild honey.
III. JERUSALEM, JUDEA & JORDAN REPENTS
Israelites from Jerusalem, Judea and the Jordan area came to hear John preach of the Messiah, the Kingdom of heaven and baptism.
a. CONFESSED THEIR SIN
We read that they confessed their sin.
I believe that what this statement means, when taken into context with the fact that John uses the term repent, which simply mean to recognize ones wrong direction, and to change that direction, I believe that confessing their sin simply means they recognized their sinful state, and that they needed this messiah.