3:16 – The Rest of the Story – God’s Fulfillment of His Plan 3: Luke

A Bible Study exploring all the 3:16s in the Bible as they illuminate

  • the Human Condition
  • God’s Revelation of His Plan
  • God’s Fulfillment of His Plan (Current location of study)
  • Our Response

“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 fire.” – Luke 3:16

All four gospels (Matthew 3:1-12, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-17, and John 1:19-28), before they introduce Jesus’ adult ministry, begin with the ministry of John the Baptist. John was self-identified (John 1:19-23) as the one called by God to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1). Jesus also identified him as the one designated to prepare the way for the Messiah (Matthew 11:7-15).

John’s birth was foretold in Luke 1:5-24 and fulfilled in Luke 1:57-80. John was conceived by Elizabeth and Zechariah who were both old and had never been able to have children. An angel appeared to Zechariah and said, “he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” This is all a part of the fulfillment of God’s plan, which is the focus for this part of our 3:16 study.

John’s message is well-illustrated in Luke 3:7-15:

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,

That was the big question in the hearts of the people who heard him preach. He preached a strong message of repentance, such that people began to wonder if he was the promised Messiah sent from God. John’s reply was our 3:16 verse –

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 fire. – Luke 3:16

Luke continued the thought in verse 17 – “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.” John was very clear that he was the precursor to the Messiah and clearly pointed the way to Jesus at every opportunity. We’ll look more particularly at the transference of ministry focus from John to Jesus next week in Matthew 3:16

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