Lesson 7: John the Baptist
All Scripture passages here are from the NET Bible; used by permission.
Luke chapter 1
1:1 Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 1:2 like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning. 1:3 So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 1:4 so that you may know for certain the things you were taught. 1:5 During the reign of Herod king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, and he had a wife named Elizabeth, who was a descendant of Aaron. 1:6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 1:7 But they did not have a child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both very old. 1:8 Now while Zechariah was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 1:9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the holy place of the Lord and burn incense. 1:10 Now the whole crowd of people were praying outside at the hour of the incense offering. 1:11 An angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense, appeared to him. 1:12 And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, was seized with fear. 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John. 1:14 Joy and gladness will come to you, and many will rejoice at his birth, 1:15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 1:16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 1:17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.” 1:18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is old as well.” 1:19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 1:20 And now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will be silent, unable to speak, until the day these things take place.” 1:21 Now the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they began to wonder why he was delayed in the holy place. 1:22 When he came out, he was not able to speak to them. They realized that he had seen a vision in the holy place, because he was making signs to them and remained unable to speak. 1:23 When his time of service was over, he went to his home. 1:24 After some time his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, and for five months she kept herself in seclusion. She said, 1:25 “This is what the Lord has done for me at the time when he has been gracious to me, to take away my disgrace among people.” 1:26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 1:27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 1:28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you!” 1:29 But she was greatly troubled by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting. 1:30 So the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! 1:31 Listen: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 1:33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 1:34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” 1:35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God. 1:36 “And look, your relative Elizabeth has also become pregnant with a son in her old age – although she was called barren, she is now in her sixth month! 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 1:38 So Mary said, “Yes, I am a servant of the Lord; let this happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. 1:39 In those days Mary got up and went hurriedly into the hill country, to a town of Judah, 1:40 and entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 1:42 She exclaimed with a loud voice, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child in your womb! 1:43 And who am I that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me? 1:44 For the instant the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 1:45 And blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul exalts the Lord, 1:47 and my spirit has begun to rejoice in God my Savior, 1:48 because he has looked upon the humble state of his servant. For from now on all generations will call me blessed, 1:49 because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name; 1:50 from generation to generation he is merciful to those who fear him. 1:51 He has demonstrated power with his arm; he has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance of their hearts. 1:52 He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position; 1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich away empty. 1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, 1:55 as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 1:56 So Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home. 1:57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. 1:58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 1:59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. 1:60 But his mother replied, “No! He must be named John.” 1:61 They said to her, “But none of your relatives bears this name.” 1:62 So they made signs to the baby’s father, inquiring what he wanted to name his son. 1:63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 1:64 Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and his tongue released, and he spoke, blessing God. 1:65 All their neighbors were filled with fear, and throughout the entire hill country of Judea all these things were talked about. 1:66 All who heard these things kept them in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the Lord’s hand was indeed with him. 1:67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, 1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he has come to help and has redeemed his people. 1:69 For he has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 1:70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from long ago, 1:71 that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us. 1:72 He has done this to show mercy to our ancestors, and to remember his holy covenant – 1:73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham. This oath grants 1:74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, may serve him without fear, 1:75 in holiness and righteousness before him for as long as we live. 1:76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High. For you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 1:77 to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. 1:78 Because of our God’s tender mercy the dawn will break upon us from on high 1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 1:80 And the child kept growing and becoming strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he was revealed to Israel.
3:1 In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3:3 For he is the one about whom Isaiah the prophet had spoken: “The voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’” 3:4 Now John wore clothing made from camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. 3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, as well as all Judea and all the region around the Jordan, were going out to him, 3:6 and he was baptizing them in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 3:7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 3:8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, 3:9 and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 3:10 Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 3:11 “I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is more powerful than I am – I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clean out his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire.”
Mark 1:1-8 & John 5:33-35
1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, 1:3 the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’” 1:4 In the wilderness John the baptizer began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 1:5 People from the whole Judean countryside and all of Jerusalem were going out to him, and he was baptizing them in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 1:6 John wore a garment made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 1:7 He proclaimed, “One more powerful than I am is coming after me; I am not worthy to bend down and untie the strap of his sandals. 1:8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
(John 5:33-35) 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 5:34 (I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved.) 5:35 He was a lamp that was burning and shining, and you wanted to rejoice greatly for a short time in his light.
1:15 John testified about him and shouted out, “This one was the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’” 1:16 For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another. 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. 1:18 No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known. 1:19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 1:20 He confessed – he did not deny but confessed – “I am not the Christ!” 1:21 So they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not!” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No!” 1:22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us so that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 1:23 John said, “I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 1:24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 1:25 So they asked John, “Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 1:26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not recognize, 1:27 who is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal!” 1:28 These things happened in Bethany across the Jordan River where John was baptizing. 1:29 On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 1:30 This is the one about whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’ 1:31 I did not recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he could be revealed to Israel.” 1:32 Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 1:33 And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining – this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 1:34 I have both seen and testified that this man is the Chosen One of God.” 1:35 Again the next day John was standing there with two of his disciples. 1:36 Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
Matthew 14:1-12 & Mark 6:14-20
14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard reports about Jesus, 14:2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead! And because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” 14:3 For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 14:4 because John had repeatedly told him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 14:5 Although Herod wanted to kill John, he feared the crowd because they accepted John as a prophet. 14:6 But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 14:7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 14:8 Instructed by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 14:9 Although it grieved the king, because of his oath and the dinner guests he commanded it to be given. 14:10 So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 14:11 His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 14:12 Then John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it and went and told Jesus.
(Mark 6:14-20) 6:14 Now King Herod heard this, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead, and because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” 6:15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” Others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets from the past.” 6:16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised!” 6:17 For Herod himself had sent men, arrested John, and bound him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 6:18 For John had repeatedly told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 6:19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not 6:20 because Herod stood in awe of John and protected him, since he knew that John was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, and yet he liked to listen to John.
John 3:22-36 & 10:40-41
3:22 After this, Jesus and his disciples came into Judean territory, and there he spent time with them and was baptizing. 3:23 John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming to him and being baptized. 3:24 (For John had not yet been thrown into prison.) 3:25 Now a dispute came about between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew concerning ceremonial washing. 3:26 So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, about whom you testified – see, he is baptizing, and everyone is flocking to him!” 3:27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. 3:28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but rather, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 3:29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. This then is my joy, and it is complete. 3:30 He must become more important while I become less important.” 3:31 The one who comes from above is superior to all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is superior to all. 3:32 He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 3:33 The one who has accepted his testimony has confirmed clearly that God is truthful. 3:34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he does not give the Spirit sparingly. 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.
(John 10:40-41) 10:40 Jesus went back across the Jordan River again to the place where John had been baptizing at an earlier time, and he stayed there. 10:41 Many came to him and began to say, “John performed no miraculous sign, but everything John said about this man was true!”
Matthew 4:12 & 11:1-15, Luke 7:24-29
Now when Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he went into Galilee.
(Matthew 11:1-15) 11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their towns. 11:2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds Christ had done, he sent his disciples to ask a question: 11:3 “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 11:4 Jesus answered them, “Go tell John what you hear and see: 11:5 The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them. 11:6 Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” 11:7 While they were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 11:8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy clothes? Look, those who wear fancy clothes are in the homes of kings! 11:9 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 11:10 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11:11 “I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and forceful people lay hold of it. 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John appeared. 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, who is to come. 11:15 The one who has ears had better listen!
(Luke 7:24-29) 7:24 When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 7:25 What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy clothes? Look, those who wear fancy clothes and live in luxury are in kings’ courts! 7:26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 7:27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is.” 7:29 (Now all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, acknowledged God’s justice, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism.)
Then blind eyes will open, deaf ears will hear. 35:6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, the mute tongue will shout for joy; for water will flow in the desert, streams in the wilderness.