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BACKGROUND: John the Baptist wore the same clothing as the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament (compare verse 6, 2 Kings 1:8). Grasshoppers and honey were normal food in the wilderness. Taking off someone's shoes was the work of the lowest servant or slave.
  1. What kind of things does a person learn if he spends all his youth alone in a wilderness? (Imagine how John's everyday life was in the wilderness?)
    • At the time of this passage, John was already about 30 years old. Why didn't he pursue the things young men of his age usually want?
    • Why wasn't John doing his ministry in Jerusalem, the capital?
    • What was the secret of John's popularity?
  2. Think of various reasons why people wanted to be baptized with John's baptism (vs.4-5)?
    • Why did people have to confess their sins publicly before John agreed to baptize them (vs.5)?
    • Do you think you would let yourself be baptized if you had to publicly confess your sins first?
    • How did the ministry of John prepare the way for Jesus (vs.2-4)? (Why was the ministry of John necessary before Jesus started his own ministry?)
  3. How can we prepare our hearts for Jesus to enter (vs.3)?
    • How can we prepare the way for Jesus to enter into the lives of other people (for example. our loved ones)?
  4. Why didn't popularity make John proud?
    • Why didn't John consider himself worthy even to untie the sandals of the coming Messiah?
  5. What is the difference between the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus (i.e. the Christian baptism)? (What does it mean that Jesus baptizes his followers with the Holy Spirit (vs.8)?)
    • Based on this passage, why is baptism necessary for salvation?
  6. Why did Jesus want to be baptized with the baptism of repentance even though he didn't have anything to repent of?
  7. How was the triune God present during the baptism of Jesus?
    • Why did God the Father want to confess his love to his Son directly from heaven at the moment of his baptism (vs.11)?
  8. When the Heavenly Father looks at you this very moment, do you think he can say the words of verse 11 to you, too? Give your reasons.
GLAD TIDINGS: The words in verse 11 recall the words God said to Abraham: "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go and sacrifice him on the mountain..." (Gen.22:2). The baptism of Jesus was the first step on his way to the cross.

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