The Gospel of Matthew Series | Matthew 3:1-6 - Ministry of John the Baptist

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

We invite you to walk through the Gospel of Matthew from beginning to end. We're excited about this opportunity to provide insights into this incredible book through the lenses of culture, history, the land, and the Holy Spirit!

MATTHEW 3:1-6 | Ministry of John the Baptist

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

The impact of John’s ministry in the first century was profound, even outside of gospel writings. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also gave account of John’s ministry in his work “The Antiquities of the Jews”, which happen to compliment the accounts of John in the gospels.

John is described as the forerunner of the Messiah, a role in Judaism traditionally identified with the prophet Elijah (Matthew 17:11-12). A belief in Elijah’s return was the foundation for the arrival of the Messiah – a concept practiced to this day in modern Judaism during the Passover Seder. The commands of the Talmud are to pour a cup of wine for the Prophet and leave the door open awaiting his coming to join the Seder meal and herald in the coming of the Messiah.

In Luke’s gospel, John is identified as operating in the spirit of Elijah (Lk 1:17), asserting the time had come in the days of the first century and the Messiah was near. John the Baptist came preaching to prepare all who would listen about the coming Messiah – may we take advantage of every opportunity to tell people about the richness of glory and salvation that only comes from Jesus!

Written by Jeremy Stein, Content Development Coordinator for the Center for Holy Lands Studies.

For information about CHLS, email info@holylandsstudies.org or call 1-885-700-CHLS (2457).

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