The Ministry of John the Baptist

“When it comes time for Jesus to carry out his divine commission, the ground has already been broken by the successful ministry of John the Baptist, who proclaims Jesus to be ‘the Lamb of God’.  John thereby sets the stage for Jesus’ own claim that he is the Messiah.  It is with this announcement of Jesus’ special ministry that the gospel message begins its central focus, as seen by the fact that only at this point do Mark and John begin their Gospel accounts.

Jesus’ forerunner, John, is a prophet of priestly descent.  Like Elijah, John is not a writer, but an evangelist and a spokesman for God whose outspoken preaching of repentance and baptism brings him multitudes of disciples.  As with most of his fellow prophets, Johns’ teaching of spiritual purity is accompanied by strong appeals for practical ethical conduct toward one’s fellowman.

John’s ministry is given the highest possible honor when even Jesus himself comes to receive John’s baptism.  Although it is not for sins that Jesus is baptized, his exemplary act of ceremonial washing gives occasion for a dramatic confirmation of his deity.”

Read:  Matthew 3, Mark 1:2-11, Luke 3:1-18 & 21-23

Jesus Faces Temptations

“One of the big, as-yet-unanswered questions about Jesus’ identity is whether he, as God in the flesh, is vulnerable to the same temptations which all other people face.  Although not every temptation which Jesus may encounter will be found in the Gospel accounts, the writers do record a series of temptations which are representative of most of the temptations faced by man.  In various encounters with Satan, Jesus must deal with the need to satisfy fleshly appetites, the urge to acquire that which pleases the eye, and the desire to give vent to pride.

As he does with everyone else, Satan confronts Jesus when he is most vulnerable, and in every case Jesus’ response to temptation is the same.  Alone in the desert of temptation, Jesus — divine though he is — recognizes the value of prayer and fasting, and with every temptation he recalls the words of Scripture, which are a reminder of truth and wisdom in the face of Satan’s lies.”

Read:  Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13

“Throughout his life Jesus will continue to resist all temptation and remain sinless.  It is his perfect righteousness that shows Jesus to be the Messiah.  By virtue of the heavenly annunciation which he witnesses, John is convinced that Jesus is not only incomparably righteous, but also truly God’s Anointed One, the Christ.  John therefore repudiates any possibility of himself being viewed as the Messiah, and forcefully proclaims Jesus as the messianic Lamb of God.”

Read:  John 1:19-34

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.