Luke 3

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

 1 It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler[a] over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler[b]over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,

   “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 
   ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! 
      Clear the road for him! 
 5 The valleys will be filled, 
      and the mountains and hills made level. 
   The curves will be straightened, 
      and the rough places made smooth. 
 6 And then all people will see 
      the salvation sent from God.’”[c]

 7 When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath?8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

 10 The crowds asked, “What should we do?”

 11 John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

 12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”

 13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”

 14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.

   John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”

 15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah.16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with[d] water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[e] 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” 18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.

 19 John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee,[f] for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. 20 So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.


John the Baptist.  My Sunday School kids love the story of John the Baptist.  They love to hear how he wore a coat of animal hair,lived in the woods and ate locusts and honey.  They are not at an age to truly understand baptism, but we still make a point to celebrate their baptism anniversarys in our class.  We talk about baptism and what it means.  It’s fair to say baptism is a big deal in our church.  I was baptized as an infant but was not active in church when my first born was born, by convincing from my mother and grandmother I had him baptized and that led to me going back to church with my child (and now children) and becoming completely active in my church.  I have also discovered I love Christian Education and do all I can to be part of it.

Are you the Messiah? What shall we do? The people were hanging on John’s words and directions. He told them of the One to come after him,who is greater than I. He told them to share and be honest, to care for each other.  Things they could understand.  How thankful I am for baptism and Jesus.  Baptism is an amazing thing to watch, you can feel the power of the Holy Spirit and it seems so sacred and so peaceful and so moving, even if you don’t know the person being baptized.  It’s just such an event, a connection to God and to the church family, something we’ve all been through. When my children were getting baptized it, both times, I felt so close to God and felt so happy and moved and so proud and such a connection.  Without a doubt, it was an amazing experience.


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