Summary: John the Baptist testified of Jesus Christ. His message was special because it was about a special topic, God in the flesh.
The Witness and the Word
John 1:6-8, 15-36
* Overview of John the Baptist. A cousin of Jesus. Their mothers were cousins.
* Luke 1 describes how Zacharias, a priest, and his wife, Elizabeth, were good folks, but childless and older.
* An angel appeared to Zacharias during his rotation of burning incense. He was afraid. Why?
* "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 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 shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. "And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ’to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
* Zach’s response was, "How can this be, since both me and my wife are old."
* You know he had heard the stories of Abraham and Sarah, as well as Hannah and Elkanah.
* "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."
* When Zach came out and was unable to speak, he began a round of charades to tell others what he had seen and heard. The priest assumed he had seen a vision.
* John undoubtedly heard this story many times in his childhood and youth.
1. John is introduced in verses six through eight: who he was and who he wasn’t.
* He was sent from God.
* He was the witness to the light.
* Isaiah 40:3 - The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.
* He was not the light.
2. John’s Message was introduced. (15-18)
* Jesus was preferred above John.
* Jesus, although born after John, existed before John.
* We exist and abound from the overflow of His grace.
* Jesus is greater than Moses, because from Christ we received something greater than the law; Grace & truth.
* He shows us the invisible God we trust.
3. John’s Presentation of the message.
* John made it clear, He was not the Christ.
* He answered he was not Elijah or the prophet they expected.
* His response, "’I am The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the LORD,"’ as the prophet Isaiah said."
* The Pharisees asked him, why do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah?
* He again pointed to Jesus with his answer.
* "He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose."
I. The witness of His forerunner. v19-34
1. It had been 400 years since the people had heard from a prophet of God.
2. Luke’s record describes the fiery words of John concerning the religious crowd.
"Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ’We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones."And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."" (Luke 3:7-9)