John the Baptist's message of division was not something new in redemptive history. This episode examines the Old Testament foundation of the promise of restoration and regeneration and links it to Jesus' first coming. As we trace "the seed" (Genesis 3:15), the message of John and the story of the Gospels will become much clearer to you.
All resources referencing Isaiah
John the Baptist said that the One coming after Him (who we know to be Jesus of Nazareth) would separate the "wheat" from the "chaff" and would be the one to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This is yet another example of John's offensive message to Israel. This episode also discusses the "baptism of fire", which may be something quite different than you think!
The significance of John's message to the nation of Israel is only heightened when we see that he is baptizing. Yet it is important to remember the audience of his proclamation was not Gentiles, but the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham. This episode examines the importance of baptism and how offensive it would have been for John to call the Jews to be baptized.
The story of John the Baptist precedes the ministry of Jesus in all four Gospels and is critical for rightly understanding why Jesus says what He says and does what He does. John speaks to the people of Israel of soon judgment and gives an urgent plea for repentance. The God of Israel was coming in person to reckon with His people and divide them. This episode begins to develop the details of John's message to Israel, some of which may be surprising to you!
In 166BC, the Jews revolted against their Greek oppressors in a time historians call the Maccabean Revolt. After the Jews violently fought and regained control of Jerusalem, leaders would be set in place over the next century that would cause Israel to stray from the Lord, setting the stage for a Roman takeover in 63BC. Learn more in this episode about what happened and why it's significant to the life and message of John the Baptist and the broader story of the Gospels.
John the Baptist as a very unique individual. After 400 years of prophetic silence in Israel, the Gospels clearly present John as prophet in several main ways: the formula used to introduce him, the way he dressed, and the message he proclaimed. This episode helps link John into the continuing story of the Old Testament.
The Gospels only give us one glimpse into the years of Jesus' life between his birth and the start of His ministry, and its significance is momentous. When Jesus was twelve years old, He journeyed to Jerusalem for the Passover feast with His family. This episode looks at His visit and begins to lay a framework for rightly seeing His self-understanding.
Luke 2 tells us about an aged Jew, Simeon, who had been eagerly waiting for the fulfillment of all of God's promises to Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that the child Jesus would be the One who would bring all that the Prophets had promised to pass. But Jesus would be much more - according to Simeon, He would divide Israel and cause the truth about how Israel really felt about God to be exposed.
As Mary and Joseph are in the Temple to offer their sacrifice and present Jesus before a priest, a righteous man named Simeon approaches them and takes up Jesus in his arms. Luke tells us that Simeon was "waiting for the consolation of Israel", and that the Spirit had told him that he would not die before he saw the king ("the Lord's Christ") who bring that "consolation" to pass. This episode examines the details of Luke 2 verses 25 through 32.
Lowly shepherds are given the "good news" that a baby who was "Christ the Lord" had been born in Bethlehem. Before they could even compose themselves, Luke 2 tells us that a multitude of the "heavenly host" appeared to them in the sky in a valley just outside Bethlehem. But are these angels really choirs that are "sweetly singing o'er the plains"? The answer the Bible gives may surprise you. Find out in this episode!