10 John, son of Zechariah, becomes John the Baptizer.

Isaiah 40:3–5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1–12; Mark 1:2–8; Luke 3:1–18

In what way do you think the word of God came to John in the wilderness (Matthew 3:1)?

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Why do you think the different magistrates are listed (Luke 3:1–2)?

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What motivated John to preach and to baptize (Luke 3:3)?

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Matthew, Mark, and Luke all say the Baptizer fulfilled predictions of a messenger to prepare a way for the coming of the Lord (Malachi 3:1; Mark 1:2–3). How would they have known this was true?

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If the Jews had the scriptures promising the Messiah, why was someone needed to “prepare the way” (Mark 1:2–3)?

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What do you think caused such widespread community interest in what John was doing (Matthew 3:5–6)?

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What was John preaching that people did not receive from Temple liturgies (Matthew 3:5–6)?

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If people had offered the required sacrifices for sin, why would they need to repent and be baptized (Matthew 3:5–6)?

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What distinguished the Pharisees and Sadducees from the general population (Matthew 3:7)?

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How would John have knowledge of the Pharisees’ relationship with God (Matthew 3:7–8)?

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Why is self-righteousness an obstacle to being made righteous in God’s eyes (Matthew 3:7 – 10)?

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What must happen for people to be convicted of sin and want a solution (Luke 3:10)?

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Is “giving” a choice or a requirement (Luke 3:11 – 14)? Why?

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Why would people wonder if John was the Messiah (Luke 3:15)?

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How does John compare himself to the Messiah (Matthew 3:11–12)?

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What is the difference between “baptism in water” and “baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16–17)?

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Other than what is mentioned in Scripture, what might John have preached?

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The word of God came to John, son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.

Eyewitness

Matthew 3:1 The word of God came to John the Baptizer in the Judean wilderness.
Luke 3:2 This was during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, when the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.
King James

Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea.
Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

This was during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor, when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea. Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee, and his brother Philip ruled over Iturea and Traconitis. Lysanias ruled over Abilene.

Eyewitness

Luke 3:1–2 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor, when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea, Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee, and his brother Philip ruled over Iturea and Traconitis. Lysanias ruled over Abilene. This was during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, when the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.
King James

Luke 3:1–2 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, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

In those days, John traveled the areas near the Jordan River and preached that people should repent, be forgiven by God for their sins, and be baptized. “Repent,” he said, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” He wore camel’s hair clothing with a leather belt around his waist and lived on a diet of locusts and wild honey.

Eyewitness

Matthew 3:2 “Repent,” he said, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Matthew 3:4 He wore camel’s hair clothing with a leather belt around his waist and lived on a diet of locusts and wild honey.
Mark 1:4 From the wilderness, John came preaching that people should repent and be forgiven by God for their sins.
Mark 1:6 He wore camel’s hair clothing with a leather belt around his waist and lived on a diet of locusts and wild honey.
Luke 3:3 In those days, John traveled the areas near the Jordan River and preached that people should repent, be forgiven by God for their sins, and be baptized.
King James

Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey.
Luke 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Long ago, the prophet Isaiah referred to John when he wrote: Listen! Someone is shouting, “Clear a path in the wilderness, for the Lord our God is coming. Fill the valleys and flatten the mountains. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places. The glory of the Lord will appear for all to see. God has spoken. It will surely come to pass.

Eyewitness

Isaiah 40:3–5 Listen! Someone is shouting, “Clear a path in the wilderness, for the Lord our God is coming. Fill the valleys and flatten the mountains. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places. The glory of the Lord will appear for all to see. God has spoken. It will surely come to pass.”
Matthew 3:3 Long ago, the prophet Isaiah referred to John when he wrote: Listen! Someone is shouting, “Clear a path in the wilderness, for the Lord our God is coming. Fill the valleys and flatten the mountains. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places.“)
Mark 1:2–3 It is written in the prophets, Listen! I will send my messenger before you to prepare the way. Someone is shouting in the wilderness, “Clear a path, for the Lord our God is coming. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places.
Luke 3:4–6 Long ago, the prophet Isaiah referred to John when he wrote: Listen! Someone is shouting, “Clear a path in the wilderness, for the Lord our God is coming. Fill the valleys and flatten the mountains. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places. The glory of the Lord will appear for all to see.”
King James

Isaiah 40:3–5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Mark 1:2–3 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Luke 3:4–6 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

The prophet Malachi wrote: See, I will send my messenger to prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you seek will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight is surely coming, says the Lord of Hosts.

Eyewitness

Malachi 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger to prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you seek will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight is surely coming,” says the Lord of Hosts.
King James

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

People came from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and the Jordan valley to see and hear John. They confessed their sins and were baptized in the river.

Eyewitness

Matthew 3:5–6 People came from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and the Jordan valley to see and hear John. They confessed their sins and were baptized in the Jordan River.
Mark 1:5 People came from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and the Jordan valley to see and hear John. They confessed their sins and were baptized in the river Jordan.
King James

Matthew 3:5–6 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Mark 1:5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming, he said, “You bunch of snakes. Who warned you to flee God’s judgment? The way you live proves whether you have left your sins and turned to God. Do not say to one another, ‘We are all right because we are Abraham’s descendents.’ That does not mean anything. God can make these stones into children of Abraham. His axe is raised, ready to sever the roots of every tree that does not produce good fruit. You will be chopped down and thrown into the fire!”

Eyewitness

Matthew 3:7–10 When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming, he said, “You bunch of snakes. Who warned you to flee God’s judgment? The way you live proves whether you have left your sins and turned to God. Do not say to one another, ‘We are all right because we are Abraham’s descendants.’ That does not mean anything. God can make these stones into children of Abraham. His axe is raised, ready to sever the roots of every tree that does not produce good fruit. You will be chopped down and thrown into the fire!
Luke 3:7–9 Then he said to the multitude coming to be baptized, “You bunch of snakes. Who warned you to flee God’s judgment? The way you live proves whether you have left your sins and turned to God. Do not say to one another, ‘We are all right because we are Abraham’s descendants.’ That does not mean anything. God can make these stones into children of Abraham. His axe is raised, ready to sever the roots of every tree that does not produce good fruit. You will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
King James

Matthew 3:7–10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Luke 3:7–9 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

“What should we do?” the people said.

Eyewitness

Luke 3:10 “What should we do?” the people said.
King James

Luke 3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

“If you have two garments, give one to the poor. Share your food with people who are starving.”

Eyewitness

Luke 3:11 “If you have two garments, give one to the poor. Share your food with people who are starving.”
King James

Luke 3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Even the cheating tax collectors asked what to do. To them, he said, “Do not collect any more taxes than the government requires.” To the soldiers, he said, “Be content with your pay. Never extort money or make false accusations.”

Eyewitness

Luke 3:12–14 Even the cheating tax collectors asked what to do. To them, he said, “Do not collect any more taxes than the government requires.” To the soldiers, he said, “Be content with your pay. Never extort money or make false accusations.”
King James

Luke 3:12–14 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

People who anticipated the coming of the Messiah asked if John might be the Messiah.

Eyewitness

Luke 3:15 People who anticipated the coming of the Messiah asked if John might be the Messiah.
King James

Luke 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not.

“No, I am not the Messiah,” he said. “He will come after me and will be much greater than I am. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is ready to separate the wheat from the chaff and clean up the threshing area. He will gather the wheat into his barn but burn the chaff with eternal fire.”

Eyewitness

Matthew 3:11–12 “One is coming after me,” he said, “who is so great I am not worthy to carry his sandals. I baptize with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. He holds his threshing fork and will thoroughly clean his floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn but burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Mark 1:7–8 “One is coming after me,” he cried, “who is so great I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Luke 3:16–17 “No, I am not the Messiah,” he answered. “He will come after me and will be much greater than I am. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is ready to separate the wheat from the chaff and clean up the threshing area. He will gather the wheat into his barn but burn the chaff with eternal fire.”
King James

Matthew 3:11–12 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Mark 1:7–8 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
Luke 3:16–17 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

With many other words, John the Baptizer encouraged the people and preached about how they could gain hope for salvation.

Eyewitness

Luke 3:18 With many other words, he encouraged the people and preached about how they could gain hope for salvation.
King James

Luke 3:18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.