Summary: John the Baptist

John 1:1-9,15-28 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John

The public ministry of John the Baptist was six months to a year at most.

1. THE MANDATE There was a man sent from God, whose name was John The Apostle John, unlike Luke, does not report any of John the Baptist's early life but begins with the calling of John the Baptist.

• The source of his calling. "From God."

• The selection in the calling. "Whose name was John." call is specific.

• The sending in the calling. "Sent from God."

• The service in the calling 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

• The salvation in the calling. "That all men through him might believe"

(a) The Age of the Mandate Luke says, “the word of God came unto John . . . in the wilderness”

It was a wilderness geographically, morally, politically, & religiously.

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. - Annas (a former high priest who had been deposed by Rome), and Caiaphas (the present high priest a son-in-law to Annas).

(b) The Author of the Mandate - “There was a man sent from God"

God's habit is to send the right man to the right place at the right time with the right ministry.

(c) The Anticipation of the Mandate

Isaiah, 700 BC, prophesied “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Isaiah 40:3).

Malachi, 400 BC prophesied “I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Malachi 3:1)


(a) His Humility - Waiting in private. The “word of God came unto John . . . in the wilderness” - Waiting in patience.

(b) His Hardiness - his dwelling, his dress, and his diet.

his Dwelling,“in the wilderness [called ‘the deserts’ in Luke 1:80]”

His Dress. “And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin [leather belt] about his loins [waist]” (Mark 1:6; cp. Matthew 3:4).

His Diet. “His meat [food] was locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4).

3. THE MESSAGE - His public ministry began with preaching. (Matt 3:1) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea

(a) The Particulars of the Message

“Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

the same message which Christ would later preach (Matthew 4:17).

Matthew says “Repent ye”; Mark says, “John did . . . preach the baptism of repentance” and Luke says John “preaching the baptism of repentance”

The message of repentance said plainly that Israel was living in sin.

“It is useless to preach the gospel of the grace of God to men who have no realization of their need of that grace” (Harry Ironside).

The reason for the message.“for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

the kingdom is heavenly in character, & holy in character which means you cannot enter the kingdom apart from holiness. Thus the need to repent The warning in the message. “At hand” repent now.

(b) The Proclamation of the Message

The method of proclamation was “preaching” (Matthew 3:1).

This is not dialogue or discussion. It is a declaration of an important truth

The place of the proclamation. “in the wilderness of Judea” (Matthew 3:1).


(a) The Size of His Audience Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan” (Matthew 3:5).

All the speakers of the world combined were nothing compared to John.

(b) The Sentiment of His Audience

They were a seeking crowd at the beginning - John did not go into the cities and seek a crowd, but they “went out to him”

Furthermore, a good many of them were baptized.

(c) The Shifting of His Audience - They soon left John.

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