SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- We were previously introduced to John the Baptist in Luke 1. The angel Gabriel came to the priest Zechariah and foretold his birth and ministry to bring Israel back to God. It is now many years later, and chapter 3 gives us a glimpse into John's ministry. He is preaching repentance (turning away from sin) and the forgiveness of sins, just as the angel and scripture predicted (see Isaiah 40:3-5). He prepares people for Jesus' arrival and sets the stage for Jesus' ministry. John even baptizes Jesus.
- Many people in the crowd believed that their religious heritage was enough, which explains the comment about Abraham in verse 8. However, John informs them that it isn't enough to be born Jewish. One must repent, believe, and "produce fruit" as well. Producing fruit means to share what you have with others. Don't cheat, lie, or be greedy. Be content with what you have. John was telling them that a life filled with God should look different.
- Many people began to wonder if John was the Messiah. But he made it clear that he too was unworthy and was only preparing the way for Jesus.
- John was a very strong preacher and even rebuked the king's lifestyle. This landed him in prison.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- John's role in life was to preach and direct people to Jesus. But the truth is, all of us are to direct attention to Jesus. We all have a unique role to play on this earth, and you don't need to be a preacher to play your part.
- Jesus didn't need to be baptized, but did so anyway, as an example for us to follow.
- It is a very good thing for us to repent of our ways and believe in Jesus. But, if a person truly turns around and turns to God it will be evident in their lives. They will produce fruit. Fruit refers to godly character traits in our lives (see Galatians 5:22-23) and the positive impact we make in this world for God.
- Jesus came for all people for all time.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Life is so busy going to work, taking care of the kids, and running errands that we often forget why we're here. You have special gifts and unique abilities that can help point others to God. How are you utilizing those gifts? Is your life truly pointing toward him? How are you showing God's love today? What can you do to share God in a better way?
- Have you been baptized? If you believe in Jesus and accept him as the forgiver and leader of your life, it's time to follow Jesus' example and do it. If you're interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Have you turned to God? Do you believe in him? If so, is there fruit to show for it? If not, what needs to change? Take some time to talk to God today about your struggles.