Tag Archives: luke 1:1-25

John the Baptist was not supposed to Baptize – Luke 1:1-24

4 Dec

Jesus_rising_from_waterThis week we started a series studying the Gospel of Luke, and we learned that John the Baptist was not supposed to Baptize!  What was he supposed to do?  What was his mission?

What is the difference between John’s birth prophecy and mission and Jesus’ birth prophecy and mission?

For many people, it can be hard to relate to Jesus. His divinity, perfection, savior of the world status are kinda out of reach. Unless you have a rockstar messiah complex, we common people can relate a lot more to John, a regular salt-of-the-earth guy who ate locusts and honey and wore rags for clothing.  Okay, so maybe you can’t relate to John’s prophetic status, but the point is that you probably can find something in common with him.

John’s birth prophecy tells us that his mission was to prepare people to meet Jesus.

Hear that: his mission was to prepare people to meet Jesus. Sound familiar? That is our mission too.

We absolutely need to model our lives after Jesus. Our entire study of the book of Luke is based on that.  We want to know Jesus better, this guy who was amazing.  But sometimes that can be frustrating…Jesus was perfect and I cannot be perfect. But in John we have a man, a human, who we can model. Remember in 1st Corinthians when Paul told the church in Corinth “Imitate me as I imitate Christ”? Paul was giving them a model to follow. For us, John is a lot like that.

Also, John’s birth prophecy tells us that he had the Spirit from birth, and so do we have the Spirit when we become true disciples of Jesus. God blessed him that way because God had a purpose for him. With John he said “You’re getting blessed. No questions asked. You’re getting the Spirit from birth, and you’ve got a mission.”

What mission? “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Because of this, John’s first title was the Forerunner. Baptist is another title he received. We’ll get there in the new year as we continue studying through the Gospel Luke. For now, we hear from the Angel Gabriel’s prophecy that John will be the Forerunner. What is that all about?

Well, the nation of Israel wasn’t ready for the entrance of the Messiah. They were longing for a military leader, a king, to wipe out the Romans. Another Maccabees. But what God promised was a different kind of Messiah. If they would have read the OT closely they would have seen the Messiah come to life in the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel and others. The Messiah was to be a spiritual savior.

People weren’t ready for that. They weren’t spiritually ready. They wanted to raise up an army of soldiers. God wanted to raise up an army of missionaries. So John’s job was to get the people ready,  to muster up revival. And that is what he did.

What we will see, when we get to the story of his adult ministry, is that John is an inspiring biblical character. Selfless, devoted to his cause. He says “Someone is coming. I’m not even worthy to untie his sandals.” He understood his role, to prepare people to meet the Messiah, and gave himself to it. John’s ministry likely only lasted 2-3 months. Then Jesus came on scene, and John faded. When Jesus showed up to be baptized, John says “He must increase and I must decrease.” And just like that his ministry was effectively over.

Advent is a time during which we prepare for the coming of birth of the Lord.

What could it look like for us to make ready a people prepared for the Lord?

What did John do? He used an appropriate method to that culture and time. He dressed up like the prophet Elijah, and spoke about the coming of the Messiah, that they needed to repent, be baptized.

What would be appropriate in our culture?

We have many people that are scientifically minded and more and more becoming “Nones”, meaning that they have no religion. It’s very hard for them to believe that a guy in the sky loves them.

So how do we make people ready for the Lord?

We need to be Jesus for them.

We show them Jesus first and foremost by how we live our lives.

Who was the most intelligent person who ever lived?

28 Nov

Who would you say was the most intelligent person who ever lived?

einstein-geniusGoogle it and Einstein and Stephen Hawking’s pictures are prevalent.  There’s also Marilyn vos Savant from Parade magazine.  I remember reading her column each week really impressed with how she always figured out reader’s questions.  There were also a few other people I didn’t recognize.  The answer to the question of who is the most intelligent person who ever lived is one we’ll likely never get to.  We all could have our personal opinion.  I thought someone pretty obvious was missing in the Google results.

There was no picture of Jesus.  What do you think?  Should he have been on the list?

I think so.  Here’s why, and it has to do with what we’re going to experience at Faith Church on Sunday.

Advent begins on Sunday!  Advent is a four week period of preparation for Christmas.  We prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the birth of the King.  And this Advent we’re going to start a series through the Gospel of Luke, which perhaps is the most famous account of the Nativity.  I’m excited about Advent this year because so many people from Faith Church are going to be participating in worship.  Each week one person is going to create a piece of original artwork to illustrate that week’s teaching from Luke.  We’ll also have a different family reading the Advent liturgy and lighting the candles on the Advent Wreath.  Finally on Christmas Eve, we’ll have seven other people each sharing the Nativity story from the viewpoint of one of its main characters.  I’m especially excited to start studying Luke’s Gospel together.

In particular, may this study help you know Jesus better. Luke was writing to Christians. They already knew Jesus, but he wanted them to know Jesus better. Perhaps that describes you too.  Or maybe you’re not a Christian but Jesus interests you. You are welcome to join us in this study!

As we walk through the Gospel of Luke, we are going to hear a lot of Jesus’ words. Tons of his teachings. Sermons, parables, conversations. Luke allows us to hear Jesus, and what you hear will be amazing. Jesus was a genius. The most intelligent man who ever lived, right? We will listen closely to his words. Learn from them. Allow them to change us.

But we will also read about many of works. We will see the miracles, the healings, and of course, most of all, his miraculous birth, death and resurrection. We will not only learn from his words, but we will learn from his works.   Being the most intelligent man who ever lived, he often taught his disciples through his works.

And we won’t stop there. There was more to Jesus than just his words and his works. There was also his way. His way is the pattern of his life. The way he lived. The choices he made. What he did when no one was looking. You have to read between the lines a bit to learn the way of Jesus. You have to think about why he did what he did. He made disciples, for example, but how? What did he do? What was his relationship with God the Father like?  There are so many questions we could ask of him, and we will try to ask as many as possible.

We often think about Jesus as a calm, meek, peaceful guy. We can even get the idea that if he were here today it might be very awkward, or even that we wouldn’t like him.

But if you think that, think again. Remember that the crowds flocked to him by the thousands. It was like Black Friday crowds frenzied to get the best deal at Target, crashing through doors, jumping over people to be first. Except those crowds 2000 years ago weren’t looking for a new TV, they wanted to be close to the guy that everyone was talking about. They wanted to hear the words he said. And when they did, he blew their minds.

He had the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, the genius of Einstein, the vision of Steve Jobs, the humor of Robin Williams, and the love and power of the Holy Spirit running through his veins. That’s the guy we’re going to study. And I can’t wait.

But today, the first day of Advent, we don’t meet Jesus at all. Luke introduces us to another guy.

To prepare read Luke 1:1-25.