“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
What do the names of those Luke mentions tell us about the political situation in the times of John (1-2)? What can you learn about the spiritual condition of the nation?
Why did John live in the desert? What did it mean that the word of God came to him? Think about the effect the word of God has on people (1Pe 1:23-25; Heb 4:12). Can you think of any other servants of God to whom God’s word came?
Read verse 3. What were the contents of John’s message? Why did John preach a message of repentance? What does God do for those who repent (1Jn 1:9)? Why did so many respond to John’s stern message of repentance?
What does Isaiah 40:3-5, quoted in verses 4-6, tell us about John’s ministry? By whom will all mankind see God’s salvation? Why?
How did John challenge the crowds coming out to be baptized by him (7-9)? How was challenge appropriate for the religious leaders (Mt 3:7; Isa 29:13)?
How did the crowds respond to the message of repentance and judgment and how did John guide them (10-14)? What do the fruits of repentance mean to each person? How can we prepare our hearts for the Lord?