February 20, 2022
“John went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching an immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah...”
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“John went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching an immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one crying out. In the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight! Every valley will be filled and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, and everyone will see the salvation of God.’ Then he said to the crowds who came out to be immersed by him, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?’” Luke 3:3-7
The content of today’s passage could be the source of many books. I would like to focus on just a few observations and parallel scriptures from the Psalms & the Prophets.
First off, John was not preaching “salvation by Baptism.” He was simply stating the obvious: If you humbly turn from your sin, the Lord will forgive you. John chose immersion as a way for people to demonstrate the internal publicly. In Jewish culture, there are two purposes for immersion: 1) when Gentiles convert to Judaism, and 2) to make oneself ritually clean for worship. John’s immersion was an entirely new concept, although in a sense, an amalgamation of the two.
While John is fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy directly, the concept of repentance coming before Messiah is also mentioned in the Psalms.
“Righteousness will go before Him to prepare the way for His steps.” Psalm 85:13
It makes the Shepherd’s job so much easier when the sheep are willing to follow! I recommend you read Psalm 85 in its entirety. Its Messianic message is so profound.
The whole idea of the “Brood of vipers!” has always intrigued me. When I read through Jeremiah, I recalled a section of chapter 8, titled: God’s People Unrepentant. It immediately made me think of John the “Baptist’s” message of repentance. At the end of the passage was this statement:
“Indeed, I am about to send snakes among you, poisonous vipers that cannot be charmed. They will bite you. This is the Lord’s declaration.” Jeremiah 8:17
In the short term, Jeremiah was speaking of a conquering enemy. But in the greater prophetic reach, the combination of repentance and vipers is uncanny.
What strikes me (no pun intended) is how well-documented are the Lord’s fulfillment of His prophecies, but so few people heed His prophecies yet to be fulfilled.