BACKGROUND: John had had old parents who now were dead. He had no siblings nor was he married. The place where John was living was a lonely desert.
  1. What kind of person might John have become if he had always been surrounded by friends?
    • Think about the times you have felt lonely. What were the positive things that loneliness brought into your life?
  2. John called his hearers "brood of vipers" (vs.7). Why did he nevertheless become even more popular than Jesus did?
  3. Look at the words of John in verses 7-14. How should we apply these verses to our own society?
    • In this speech, what stings your conscience?
    • How would the world be if everybody lived as John tells us to live?
  4. Compare the message of John with the messages you usually hear in Christian meetings. What is different?
    • If somebody in your congregation or Christian group preached as John did, what do you think the reaction would be?
  5. Verses 4-6 tell us that John's task was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah in the hearts of the people. In what way does a strict message like John's prepare the way for the coming of Jesus in our hearts?
    • What would have happened if John had preached like this: "God understands your weaknesses and accepts you as you are!"
  6. What was John's relationship to the coming Messiah (vs.15-17)?
    • Why didn't John make use of his popularity for his own benefit?
  7. John rebuked king Herod for the sins he had committed in his private life (vs.19-20). Why did he want to meddle in the sexual relationships of the king?
    • In what situation should we rebuke other people for their sexual sins?
  8. John was only 30 years old when he was executed in prison. What was the meaning of his short life?
    • What may have been the greatest happiness in the life of this prophet?
  9. Jesus was also among those who heard the message from John the Baptist. He was a tree, which only bore good fruit. Then why was he "cut down and thrown into the fire" (vs.9)?

GLAD TIDINGS: The message of John consisted largely of commandments and warnings that brought consciousness of sins home to the hearers. However, in another gospel John declares how the Messiah will deal with our sins: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

2012 Glad Tidings Bible Studies - www.gladtidings-bs.com