3.1 John Baptized for Repentance and Forgiveness
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Jan 18 3.1 In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod Antipas ruler of Galilee, his brother Philip, that of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias that of Abilene. During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God’s word came to John the Baptist, Zechariah’s son, in the desert. John wore camel’s hair and a leather waist belt. His food was locusts and wild honey. Throughout the Jordan River basin, he preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins saying, “Repent, for God’s Kingdom is near,” as the prophet Isaiah wrote:
Jan 19 “The voice of one crying in the desert: ‘Prepare the Lord’s way, straighten his path. Every valley will be filled and every high place leveled. Crooked places will be straightened, rough places smoothened, and all humanity will see God’s salvation.’”
The crowds coming from Jerusalem, Judea and all around Jordan for baptism and confessing their sins included Pharisees and Sadducees. John told them, “You breed1 of snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming wrath? Produce fruit of repentance. Don’t excuse yourself by saying ‘Abraham is our father.’2 I say that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.3 The axe of God’s judgment is poised ready to cut down4 for burning, the root of every tree not producing good fruit.”
Jan 20 The crowd asked, “What shall we do?”
John answered, “Share your clothing and food with those who are needy.”
Tax collectors5 coming for baptism asked, “Master, what shall we do?” “Collect only what you should.” John answered.
Soldiers also asked, “What shall we do?” He replied, “Don’t intimidate or blackmail. Be content with your wages,”
Many people pondered expectantly if John might be the Christ. John answered them, “I baptize you with water, but One6 greater than I is coming, whose sandals I’m unworthy to loosen. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to thresh and store the wheat in his barn, and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.” He taught and preached, among other things, the good news as well.