God’s Purpose for John the Baptist’s Ministry
1. God’s purpose for John’s ministry in a dark world
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas . . . Luke 3:1-2 (ESV)
John’s ministry was inserted into a complex political situation.
2. God’s purpose for John’s ministry through his message
2 . . . the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:2-3 (ESV)
The specific use of “word” (rhema) infers a particular message of God rather than the entire scope of the message. (logos)
Repentance produces a life lived with a sense of responsibility before a sovereign God. It is an internal attitude that aims at a product. (Darrell Bock)
Forgiveness comes to those who acknowledge and turn from their sins in repentance.
6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV)
16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16 (ESV)
4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” Acts 19:4 (ESV)
3. God’s purpose for John’s ministry as fulfilled prophecy
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3:4-6 (ESV)
John’s ministry is a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-5:
3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5 (ESV)
The highway that clears the way for God is a purified heart.
The highway refers to a means of access to God and His city is found in Isaiah 57:14 and 62:10. (Bock) Isaiah 57:14-15