Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
Lesson 5
TOC | Previous | Next

Lesson 5

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

The Voice in the Wilderness (3:1~6)

Bearing Fruits Worthy of Repentance (3:7~14)

Coming of the Mightier One (3:15~20)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Word of God, wilderness, baptism of repentance, remission of sins, prepare, salvation, brood of vipers, baptize, bear fruits worthy of repentance, One mightier than I, Holy Spirit, fire.

II.    Segment Analysis

2. These words are reminiscent of the opening words of the OT prophets (Jer 1:1-3; Hos 1:1; Amos 1:1). In other words, John was a prophet sent by God. In fact, he was the last of the OT prophets (Lk 16:16)

This statement is significant because after a long period of prophetic silence, God’s word had finally come to the people once again. Not only so, this divine oracle would pave the way for the coming of the Savior.

3b. John’s baptism was a preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus. It was a baptism of repentance that led people to Christ. But after Jesus came, the people must put their trust in Christ, through whose blood we can receive atonement. Therefore, after the resurrection of the Lord, those who had accepted John’s message must also be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

4. Through his preaching and exhortations (cf. 18), John would remove the obstacles in the hearts of the people (symbolized by valley, mountain, crooked places, and rough ways) that would hinder the gospel of Jesus Christ.

5a. This term exposes the inherent wickedness of the people, who were also the descendants of those who killed the prophets (cf. 11:47-51). The Lord Jesus also called the scribes and Pharisees brood of vipers (Mt 23:31-33).

5b. Impending judgment on the day of the Lord (Isa 13:13; Zeph 1:14-15; Rom 2:5; Col 3:6; 1Thess 1:10).

6. Bearing fruits of repentance. i.e., speech and conduct that demonstrate a changed heart and reflect God’s nature (Rom 6:1-4; Gal 5:22-25; Eph 4:20-24)

7a. Many people took pride in their heritage as the children of Abraham (Jn 8:39a). As descendants of God’s covenant, they believed that God would never reject them.

7b. John told them that God could choose to raise up children for Abraham from the stones. In other words, if they were unrepentant, they would be rejected by God despite their physical lineage. God could easily raise up others to be the descendants of Abraham and still fulfill His promise to Abraham.

8a. He would forsake them and cast them into the fire of His judgment.

8b. These words carry a sense of urgency. God is ready to reject the unrepentant anytime. We must repent immediately before we exhaust God’s mercy.

10. He would send the Holy Spirit as the Counselor. The work of the Holy Spirit has the effect of fire. When the Spirit comes, He will judge the world (Jn 16:8-11) and purify the believers (2Thess 2:12; Isa 4:4). While John’s ministry called people to repentance, Christ ministry would sanctify and renew the life of believers. Therefore, Christ’s ministry would be “mightier” than John’s.

11.  Palestinian farmers used winnowing forks to separate the wheat from the unwanted chaff. This process is used to refer to the judgment, when God will separate the righteous from the wicked (cf. Mt 13:37-43; 47-50). In the same way, Jesus’ ministry will separate true believers from unbelievers (Mt 21:42-44; Rom 9:30-33; 1Pet 2:7-8). Believers will be gathered into God’s kingdom. Unbelievers will be rejected and cast into eternal fire.


PDF Download