John's Baptism - Luke 3
John's Baptism - Luke 3
The baptism of John, whence was it? This is the question that Jesus asked in Luke 20:4. His question was directed at the religious leaders of that day and had some alarming implications.
First, ‘there was a man sent from God’ (John 1:6). That is the biblical record of the true answer to Jesus’ question. He was a prophet of God as the very wording that ‘the word of God came to him’ (vs. 2) is in the same general form as that used of the great prophets in the Old Testament.
Being the word of God it thus becomes the commandment of God. Thus Luke would comment later: "When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John (Luke 7:29). Whoever, he adds that to reject such is to reject God stating: “the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John” (Luke 7:30). Rejecting God’s commandments has great consequences.
Jesus, unlike the religious leaders of Israel, did obey and submit to this word of God (21). All of God’s commands are righteous - and Jesus was fulfilling all righteousness. It is always right to do what God says the way that He says to do it and when He says it should be done.
John shows that baptism is only for those who would repent. He preached a ‘baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins’ (vs. 3). He demanded that those who would be baptized would first be bringing forth fruits of repentance (v. 8). Baptism, both John’s and that of the great commission, has no magic properties in itself. Without repentance baptism avails nothing. When obeyed from a repentant heart, God responds with forgiveness (cp. Acts 2:38; Col. 2:10-12, Rom. 6:16-17).
Such repentance, while it begins with the changing of one’s mind and thinking about self, sin, and God, produces a difference in one’s lifestyle. John teaches that it will produce ‘fruits worthy of repentance’. For a quick look at a summary idea of what such is read John’s answers to ‘what should we do’ in verses 10-14.
The real shocker for the people that heard John was simply that being ‘of Israel’ and fleshly descendants of Abraham was NOT enough to be right with God! Even among THEM the warning is that ‘every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (vs. 9).
The tax collectors and the crowds came to be baptized of John (vs. 12). The religious leaders reject John and then crucified the son of God. The great question for us is which group would we belong to if we were there? We can’t go back, but we can respond to the word of God and repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus and bring forth fruits. Or we can reject God’s purpose for us. Which is it?