Summary: Christ is coming
During the Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of a baby in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The angels told that this baby was going to be the Savior of the World.
Whenever a King or a great leader is going to come, there is great anticipation. There is excitement. People want to be a part of the experience.
Before a King would come into a country or a city, he would send a messenger ahead of him to let the people know that he was coming.
This was no different with the King that God was going to send to earth. God sent a messenger ahead of the King. We are going to take a look at the messenger that God sent.
Whenever a king would come to town, there would be a reception. There would be elaborate receptions for the king. We are going to look at the reception that the King of Kings received.
Finally, there would be a response by the people to the king, we will also look at the response of the Kings subjects to Him.
TS. As we look at the messenger, the reception and the response, let us realize that we too will have to decide how we are going to receive and respond to Jesus. How will you respond to the King of Kings?
THE KINGS MESSENGER. VERSES 6-8.
A. John the Baptist.
1. John was sent from God. Verse 6. Mark Moore in his book The Chronological Life of Christ: Volume 1, From Glory to Galilee writes the following about John.
John the Baptist has an interesting biography. He was the prophesied forerunner of Jesus (Isa 40:3-4; Mal 3:1; 4:5). It was his job to clear the way for Jesus by preparing people’s hearts through preaching. He entered the world through the priestly line. His father, Zechariah, was from the course of Abijah (1 Chr 24:10) and his mother descended from Aaron (Lk 1:5). Their barren state and miraculous pregnancy is described in Luke 1 and Matthew 1. Jesus and John were related in some way (probably cousins), and John was his elder by about six months (Lk 1:36). He was circumcised on the eighth day and set apart as a Nazirite (Lk 1:15). All else we know about John’s early life is found in Luke 1:80.
John began his prophetic ministry in A.D. 25—the 15th year of Tiberias Caesar (Lk 3:1). He attracted large crowds (Mt 3:5) as he preached and baptized in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan (Jn 1:28). His preaching is summarized in the phrase, “The kingdom of God is coming” and his ministry by immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mk 1:4). So forceful was his preaching that many took him to be the reincarnation of Elijah, Jeremiah or another prophet (Mt 16:14). Jesus says that he was the greatest person ever born of a woman (Mt 11:11). An interesting fact, however, is that John never performed a miracle (Jn 10:41). His greatest act, perhaps, was his baptism of Jesus. With that act his ministry wound its way to a conclusion. Although he continued to baptize (Jn 3:23; 4:1), he recognized that he had accomplished that which was set before him to do (Jn 3:30).
Herod’s antics and the vindictiveness of his evil wife, Herodias, caused the death of the last OT prophet. John was beheaded at the castle of Machaerus on the Dead Sea. Although he died through treachery, he successfully completed his God-given task. He prepared for and pointed out Jesus, the true light.
2. John came as a witness. Verse 7.
a) To testify about the Light.
John was sent to identify the light! Why? What was there about Jesus as the Light that demanded identification? When we examine the Baptist’s message in the other Gospels, we see that John focused his preaching on twin ideas: (1) the promised King of Old Testament prophecy was about to appear, and (2) His coming demanded a moral renewal.
John rebuked sin in ruler and common man alike. His tongue lashed the religious. “You brood of vipers!” he cried scornfully. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7-8)
b) So that all might believe through him.
When we examine the Baptist’s message in the other Gospels, we see that John focused his preaching on twin ideas: (1) the promised King of Old Testament prophecy was about to appear, and (2) His coming demanded a moral renewal.
3. John was not the light. Verse 8.
THE KINGS RECEPTION. VERSES 9-10
A. He came into the world to enlighten man. Verse 9.
Helen Keller tells of the dramatic moment when Annie Sullivan first broke through her dark, silent world with the illumination of language.