! Expectations and Fulfilment Lk 3:1-22 (15-22)
(MT 3:1-17, MK 1:1-11, JN 1:19-34)
Sunday December 26, 2004.
Maranatha Baptist Church
For many the *Joy of Christmas* is *expectation.*
Some look forward to particular *presents*, some to *family gatherings*, or for others, *the person and work of Christ*.
How did *you make out this year?*
Many people I talked with were *particularly startled with how quick Christmas came upon them*.
They still *remember summer bbq’s.*
*John the Baptist* was *ministering in a time of expectation*.
In the *passage* that we looked at this morning in *Luke* we see John the Baptist *confronted with his and the people’s expectations.
He has to deal with* *who he sees himself as* in God’s plan and *how the God of the universe uses him* in unexpected ways.
*Each of us* is *approaching 2005 *with *expectations *of what we are *called to do* and *what God expects*.
*Luke 3 can give an example and lesson for us in expecations, showing us 1) expectations confused, 2) expectations challenged and 3) expectations confirmed.*
*1)** Expectations confused Lk 3:15-18*
Luke 3:15-18 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16 John answered, saying unto /them/ all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan /is/ in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
For the people of The *Intertestamental Period* before Christ, they were a *people of expectations.*
The period *from the book of Malachi* at the end of our Old Testament to *the opening of Matthew* at the beginning of our New Testament comprises *about 400 years*.
These 400 "silent years" were only silent in the sense that there were *no prophets* *from God who were writing Scripture.*
They were years which brought about *dramatic and sweeping changes* throughout the ancient world.
These changes *began with the arrival of a conqueror from the west known as Alexander the Great.*
With the *advent of Alexander the Great* a *new type of civilization entered **Palestin*e.
Alexander began a deliberate and decisive campaign to *bring in a one world government with Greek civilization* being the catalyst around which it would be developed.
He *imposed* on the Middle East the *Greek language, Greek society, Greek custom**s,* and most importantly, he *attempted to blend together all religions in the world* of his influence *into a single religion* which *used Greek nomenclatures and theological opinions as its basis*.
This concept of "one worldism" (known as Hellenism) began to penetrate into the consciousness of most people of the Middle East.
And though at first the *Jews* *resisted* its influence, with the *death* of the *High Priest Simon* (called the Just) in about 280 B.C. the end of what we might call "the Old Testament form of religion" came into view.
Please turn back to Malachi 3
*/Herford/**/, /**Talmud and Apocrypha,/ p. 77/: "There was no escape from that influence [Hellenism].
It was present everywhere, in the street and the market, in the everyday life and all phases of social intercourse."*
*The people of John the Baptist’s day*, had* not heard a genuine prophet in **Israel** for 400 years*.
It was *widely believed* that when the *Messiah came*, *prophecy would reappear* (Joel 2:28-29, Mal.
Malachi 3:1; Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you *Elijah* the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
*When John burst onto the scene,* the *people were excited but confused.*
Luke 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
He was obviously a *great prophet*, the *Last of the Old covenant prophets* (MT.
11:11-14), and *they were sure* that the *eagerly awaited age of the Messiah has come*.
Some in fact, *thought John himself was the Messiah.*
*John* you see *spoke like the prophets of old* *saying* that the people must *turn from heir sin* *to God to avoid punishment *and *to experience his mercy and approval*.
* Everything about John was unexpected: His *sudden emergence*, manner of *dress,* choice of *food*, *preaching* and *baptizing*.
*Our children* dealt with *expectations around Christmas*: some got *toys* they wanted, others are hopeful for *future gifts*.
One child expressed it in regards to the end of the year:
We come therefore to the *consideration of the age.*
*How did John *and how can* we see ourselves *in the *age of the Messiah?*
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto /them/ all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am *not worthy* to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
*not worthy**: *In the *rabbinic schools* a student *did not pay* his teacher.
He was required to perform *services*, but not *the loosing of the sandal*, which *was considered too menial*.
*John* *took a lowly place*.
To unfasten the “sandal strap” *was a task for a slave*; hence John emphasizes his unworthiness in relation to Jesus.
Many of us know that we are unworthy of the Lord’s mercies:
Genesis 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant…
Yet if we begin to *love those mercies too much* we *loose focus* *from* *the giver to the gifts:*
Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
*The way to be used*, (like the position that John was talking) is to see our place in God’s plan.
We are *not worthy* of the honor but *called* none the less.
Now that we *understand* *our position*, what is *the plan*?
Luke 16 John answered, saying unto /them/ all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan /is/ in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
Please turn to 2 Peter 3
The *baptism with fire* the *immediate fulfillment* came at Pentecost:
Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
The *ultimate fulfillment* of the Baptist’s words awaits Christ’s *glorious return to cleanse the earth with fire:*
2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
*The winnowing fan* (v.
17) is *another symbol for judgment*.
Workers used the fan *to throw harvested grain into the wind,* letting the *grains fall directly to the ground* and the *chaff blow away*.
When the *threshing floor was cleared*, the *chaff would be burned*.
We have seen the *1) Expectations confused, and now:*
*2)** Expectations challenged*
Luke 3:19-20 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
I am sure it must have been *difficult for John the Baptist*.
*Called* for a *tremendous honour*, the baptism of The Lord Jesus Christ himself at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
*John probably expected* to w*ork and minister *with Jesus *only* then to be *imprisoned* for doing the vary thing he was called to do.
He would *miss being with Jesus first hand* for his public works and *learn* at the feet of the one he was called to bring people to.
One of the greatest challenges of ministry is that we may *do the work* and *never see the fruit in our lifetime:*
Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Most *parents* recognize that they will not *be around forever to see their children develop.*
We *train* them so that when we are not around, they will *respond appropriately*.
*A legacy* in *business, family or faith,* is recognizing that although we may work diligently, we *may not see the fruits of our labor*.
* Even in a */context as ours/*: Many *support the building of the gym financially and with prayer* yet will *never see the fruit* that the structure can bring.
*What prevented* John the Baptist from seeing and joining in the ministry of the one he heralded?
It was Herald Antipas
*Herod Antipas*, on *a visit to **Rome*, *met Herodias*, the *wife *of his* half brother Philip*, who was a hostage there.
Herod Antipas *persuaded his brother to divorce* Herodias so that he might marry her, even though *he himself was already married to the daughter of the king of Nabatea*.
This was a clear case of *adultery*.
· *John the Baptizer denounced* this scandalous deed, and Herod *imprisoned* him *in the fortress of Machaerus, east of the **Dead Sea*.
*Like* the *imprisonment and beheading of John the Baptist*, it is *confusing from our standpoint* at times to be *called* to do the right thing, *do* the right thing and *suffer* because of it.
We have looked at *current persecution* in the world.
We may very well suffer for doing the right thing.
In fact it is *unusual* in this day and age *not to suffer rejection* and some type of *persecution* to some degree for being *faithful.*
We have seen the *1) Expectations confused, 2) Expectations challenged and now*
*3) Expectations confirmed.*
First with: the Baptism of the Son
*Lk **3:21** * Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
*From the account of Jesus’ Baptism in Mt 3, *Jesus is said to have arrived
· *Arrived* is from /paraginomai/, which, as we saw in relation to the magi (2:1) and John the Baptist (“came,” 3:1), which was often used to indicate an official arrival or public appearance.
There is *continuity* between *John’s baptism of repentance* (Mark 1:4) and the *trinitarian baptism instituted by Jesus* (Matt.