The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:
John the Baptist’s ministry was to call Israelites to repent of their sins, believing that the promised Christ was coming (vv. 1-4). Only then would they be ready to receive him. They publicly testified of their repentance and readiness to receive the Messiah by being baptized (v. 3). True repentance was to be concretely seen in a changed, everyday life (vv. 7-15). They were not to rely on their being Jews (v. 8). God will judge with fire those who do not rightly respond to his Word (vv. 9, 17).
Jesus was baptized, not to show he repented of sin (he had none) but because he was committed to doing what was right (vv. 21-22; cf. Matt 3:15). The Holy Spirit’s coming upon Jesus was God’s public endorsement that Jesus was Israel’s King (cf. Acts 10:38). The Father commended Jesus as the Messiah (v. 22), Israel’s King and sinner’s Savior.
Genealogies in the Bible do not always detail every ancestor; sometimes, as with Luke’s here (vv. 23-38), key representatives are listed. The names here not only show Jesus’ humanity but also that he is David and Abraham’s descendant, and thus able to fulfill the promises God gave to those men (Abraham—Gen 12:1-3; David—2 Sam 7:12-14). As Adam’s descendant he is related to humanity. As the Son of God he is the God-man who would perfectly obey him and bring salvation through his life, death, and resurrection.
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- The necessity, character, and results of repentance. Repentance is turning from sin with sorrow and hatred of it and turning to God with humble love and obedience. One who has truly turned from sin to God/Jesus Christ continually demonstrates that throughout his entire life in personal, practical ways. Who do you love more, yourself, or the Lord Jesus? How is that seen in your thoughts, affections, decisions, priorities, responses, etc.?
- John the Baptist’s baptism was a Jew’s public testimony that he repented of his sins and was ready to welcome the coming Messiah. Christian baptism is a new believer’s public testimony that he repented of his sins and believed that Jesus is the Lord God, the Savior, the Christ, Israel’s Messiah (cf. Acts 19:1-5).
- Baptism does not result in the forgiveness of sins but is the outward testimony that one’s sins have been forgiven. Have your sins been forgiven? Have you obeyed Jesus by publicly testifying that your sins have been forgiven by being baptized/immersed in water (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:41)?