The Gospels

Harmony of the Gospels Part 2

The Early Years of John the Baptist

Why is John the Baptist so Important that We are Starting a Study on Jesus off with Him?

  1. All four gospels associate John with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
  2. Jesus proclaimed that John was more than a priest and the greatest person to have been born up to that time. (Mk. 11:11, Lk. 7:28, Mt. 11:9, and Lk. 7:26)
  3. Only Jesus and John’s deaths are given significant treatment in the Gospels.
  4. The book of Acts indicates that his influence spread as far as Ephesus. (18:24 & 19:1-7)
  5. Jesus submitted to John’s baptism and preached a similar message.
  6. Jesus understood John to be fulfilling Elijah’s eschatological role. (Mk. 9:12-13)
  7. Some thought Jesus might be John the Baptist come back from the dead. (Mk 6:19)
  8. Jesus did not formally begin his Great Galilean ministry until John was put in prison.

Today we will look at:

Comparison of the Birth Announcements Luke 1:5-38

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in Luke 1:39-45

Mary’s song of joy in Luke 1:46-56

John’s Birth in Luke 1:57-66

Zacharias prophetic song in Luke 1:67-79

John’s growth and early life Luke 1:80

Comparison of the Birth Announcements of Jesus and John in Luke 1:5-38.

  1. The scene is set and the angel comes (1:5-11, 26-27)
  2. The person fears, but if we really understood angels we all would fear. No one would be afraid of a glowing winged women with a harp. (1:12, 29)
  3. The angel gives assurance (1:13a, 30)
  4. The birth is promised and the child is named (1:13b, 31)
  5. The significance of the child is described (1:14-17, 32-33)
  6. A question expresses some doubt (1:18, 34)
  7. The Spirit’s role is noted (1:15, 35)
  8. A sign or an instruction is given (1:19-20, 36-37)
  9. A remark about the significance of the angel’s words is present (1:20,38)

God uses the birth announcements of John and Jesus to display His sovereignty in two ways:

  1. God sends his angel beforehand to predict these pregnancies rather than sending him afterwards to explain them, because he wants to demonstrate unmistakably that He is in charge here.
  2. God’s purpose in bringing John and Jesus into the world through humanly impossible births is to demonstrate vividly that nothing is too hard for him.

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in Luke 1:39-45

The account emphasizes Jesus’ superiority, since the mother of the elder John blesses Jesus’ mother. The fetal John testifies to Jesus’ presence by leaping in Elizabeth’s womb.

Mary’s song of joy in Luke 1:46-56

The point of this song is that God’s mercy and power are exercised for the humble who fear him. God is worthy of praise for what He will do in taking care of His own.

John’s Birth in Luke 1:57-66

This section of scripture has two parts:

  1. John’s birth (1:57-58)
  2. John’s naming (59—66)

John’s naming makes two key points:

  1. Zechariah learned during his period of silence to trust God.
  2. The child receives a name God have him, and not a traditional name, indicating that this child is special.

Zacharias prophetic song in Luke 1:67-79

The major theme of this song is God’s redemption through the Davidic ruler. Most of Zechariah’s song is taken up not with his own son but with the salvation, the Messiah would bring. Only two verses (76 and 77) refer to John the Baptist specifically: He will go before the Lord to prepare his ways by calling the people to repentance. The rest of the song is about what the coming of Jesus is going to mean.


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