…”he preached the gospel to the people”…

Luke 3:18–So, with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.
Our family will be looking through the eyes of John the Baptist this week as we continue to prepare for the “coming” or Advent of Christmas. Last week we celebrated the hope and expectation (see below) that the people under the Old Covenant held onto dearly. We also are hoping this Christmas season that Jesus will return soon!
This week we will be studying 4 major passages dealing with the role of John the Baptist in preparing the world for King Jesus.
  • The Birth of John Foretold: Luke 1:5-25.
  • The birth of John: Luke 1:57-66.
  • Zacharia’s Prophecy: Luke 1:67-80.
  • John Preaches and Prepares for the Messiah: Luke 3:1-20.

Poem: John the Baptist, by John Piper.

Spoken Hymn: How Beautiful the Mystery.

It seems very interesting to me to read Luke 3:18 quoted above. It says that John preached the gospel to the people! What gospel was he preaching? Jesus was just beginning his ministry…in fact he had yet to be baptized! Is this referring to John’s message of repentance? Some might argue this, but the Greek word here is the word meaning “good news.” This exact form was is used by Luke in Acts 8:40 speaking of Phillip in Azotus “preaching the gospel” in the towns. It is also used by Luke in Acts 17:18 when Paul is described as “preaching Jesus and the resurrection.”

So, the question is, what gospel is John preaching here? There has not been a cross yet! My point is that John (who is the last Old Testament Prophet) is preaching the gospel according to the Old Testament. He is using all of the Scriptures, as Jesus said in Luke 24:27, to explain that the Christ is coming. He knows that God has promised to redeem His people, thus people must repent and trust in the Messiah to come. That Messiah is the reason that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit today, if we are believers. That Messiah is the fully God, fully man, to be acknowledged in two natures, Savior of the world!

If John could confidently proclaim the Gospel on his side of this cross, what is keeping us from proclaiming it on this side of the cross? May this Christmas be a time of celebration, proclamation and exaltation in the One true King!

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