The Book of Luke, John the Baptist, Part II – Lesson 24
Isaiah wrote of John in Isaiah 40:3-5, The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
So this is the message that John was commissioned to preach.
It had to do with pride and humility.
It had to do with those who were high and lifted up.
It had to do with God putting down the proud and God lifting up the humble.
For in John’s message there would not be any proud, not be any who were lifted up of self who would stand before the Lord whom John announced as coming.
John’s message had to do with getting things right before the Lord, getting things straight that were crooked, getting things low that were high.
Lifting up every valley, putting down and leveling every mountain.
Everything that hindered the Lord from working a work of grace in hearts had to be removed.
Every attitude of pride and arrogance must be put down.
And true repentance was a must for this work!
John did not merely fulfill Old Testament prophecy, he spoke as an Old Testament prophet.
His life is described in what is called the New Testament but that is simply man’s designation for this portion of the Bible.
John is the last of the Old Testament prophets.
His message was the same message which the (other) Old Testament prophets had proclaimed.
The Old Testaments prophets were men who called for men to get ready.
Jesus Christ proclaimed that same message as he said in:
Matthew 24:44, Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
That message to get ready remains the same today for there is a day of accounting that is coming and men and women will be called to that accounting.
John spoke of that day when he spoke of the coming of the kingdom of God and he spoke of it not only as a time of blessing, but he spoke of it as a time of judgment, of “the wrath to come” (cf. Matt. 3:7).
In a similar way, Joel foretold the coming of the “day of the Lord,” warning that it was to be a time of judgment for Israel, as well as for the nations (Joel 1:15; 2:1-3, etc.).
There was also a promise of grace and compassion, for all who repented, in other words, those who were ready.
Joel 2:12, Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13And rend your heart (inward heart change), and not your garments (outward change only), and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Joel’s message was a message of getting ready to meet God and John’s message was the same.
John called upon his listeners to share their material possessions with those in need:
Luke 3:11, He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
His words are familiar Old Testament words, for this is what the prophets had called upon Israel to do:
Isaiah 58:6-8, Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
John called upon Israel to show mercy and to practice justice.
Luke 3:13, 14, And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
This was also a getting ready for the God of mercy and justice.
The prophet Malachi, as did the others, called upon the Old Testament saint to do likewise:
Malachi 3:5, And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.