The Imprisonment of John

D. L. Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the … More

Holy Spirit

The crowds who had come to hear John preach began to wonder if he could possibly be the Christ  (v. 15). In answering them John the Baptist clearly stated that he was not their Messiah, but only His forerunner (vv. 16-17). He goes on to say that the Messiah, soon to come, is far mightier then he.  When He comes, His baptism will not just be a symbolic one with water, but with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). The Apostle John presented Jesus not only as the Spirit-baptized One but also as the baptizing One (John 20:22).

The Herod that is mentioned here is one of the sons of Herod the Great who tried to have the baby Jesus killed in Matthew 2 (v. 18). John was not afraid to preach against divorce and had publicly denounced this Herod for marrying Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (v. 19). Because of it John was put into prison during the early days of Christ’s public ministry (v. 20). This meant that only one year out of John’s three year ministry was out of prison.

All four Gospels record the momentous occasion when Jesus was baptized (vv. 21-22). This signaled the beginning of His public ministry. His baptism by John was not due to His need of repentance, because He was sinless, but helped establish His authority by the Father for beginning His ministry. Jesus’ explanation was that it might “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). When the Holy Spirit came down on Him in a body like a dove, a voice came from heaven and said, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (v. 22). This is one of several places in Scripture where all the members of the Trinity are mentioned - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each Person of the Godhead was involved in the activity of His baptism. The Son was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and the Father spoke approvingly of Jesus. No amount of explanation can adequately portray the power and intricacy of this unique relationship.

Application

This is a message for all times and places but John spoke it with urgency. I need to be sharing the gospel message with urgency also.

Luke 3:15-22 (English Standard Version)

As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

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