Going Deeper in “Finding Yourself”
15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” 18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.
19 John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. 20 So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.
The Baptism of Jesus
21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
The Ancestors of Jesus
23 Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry.
Jesus was known as the son of Joseph.
Joseph was the son of Heli.
Read the following a few times:
At his baptism, Jesus was equipped for the task of accomplishing His mission. Luke notes that the descent of the Spirit was accompanied by the heavenly voice acclaiming Jesus as the beloved Son.
Reflect on the following:
1. How would you summarize the basic theme of John’s message? What made this message radical? What are some instructions John might give today?
2. What do you make of how John dressed in public? Did John care about what others thought of him?
3. What does it feel like to look different than everybody else? Why do some people seem to be able to not care?
4. John feels unworthy to so much as take off his shoes. When have you felt unworthy to do something for God? What helped you to get through the mission? Where do you continue to struggle?
5. What images did John use in his descriptions of Jesus? What do those images communicate about Jesus?
6. A refining fire purifies precious metals, burning off impurities. What do you think of submitting yourself to the refiner’s fire? What scares or excites you?
7. On the threshing floor, workers used winnowing forks to toss the grain stalks into the air to separate grain kernels from their husks. The grain was gathered; everything else was burned. What good grain have you produced lately?
8. Who are some spiritual trailblazers you’ve come to admire? What is it about them that sets them apart?
9. What difference does sharing in Jesus’ standing before God make when we worry about what others think of us? Or, when we become aware of our failings?
Respond in one of the following ways:
1. What is one step you can take this week to produce “fruit consistent with repentance”? What do you need to stop or start this week?
2. If you are united to Christ through faith, the love and pleasure that God has for his Son is extended to you as well. Thank God for choosing you to become His.