Sunday, December 14, 2008

John's Ministry

I don't know about you, but I grew up thinking that John the Baptist was a fire-n-brimstone preacher. He was the one who showed people their sin and preached law, Law, LAW.

But then a couple of years ago, Pastor pointed out that John's preaching was summarized precisely the same way as Jesus'. (See Matthew 3:12 and 4:17.)

And then there's the head-scratcher over why all these people were flocking out to hear John's preaching (Luke 3:7) if all he was doing was condemning them.

But then, last Sunday, we heard in Mark 1 that John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John wasn't preaching only the Law. Yes, he condemned sin. But he called sinners to repentance so that they might be forgiven. He preached the Gospel too!


  1. Actually, you should change your title to "Jesus' Ministry." :-) Because I have found, since coming to seminary, that there are many who don't really disagree that John's and Jesus' preaching were the same (especially because of the Matthew verses).

    To which the inevitable conclusion is: "Ah, so Jesus preached all law!"

    And thus the Sermon on the Mount becomes law. And the parables become law. And everything else he says becomes law. There's a little Gospel thrown in every once in a while, but for the most part, it's all law.

    It's sad when we say, "No, really, John preached Gospel - see the comparison of 3:12 and 4:17." And the conclusion becomes, "Ohhhh... I seeee... Jesus preached a heck of a lot of law, eh?"


  2. Sorry, Nathan. Ain't changin' the title. I've still got the old-fashioned blogger, and I can't click on the title to pull up the individual post, so I need to have the title match the code under which Blogger saved my post. So it ain't changin' or I've lost all access to it forever.

    Well, if you're finding that everybody agrees that John's ministry and Jesus' were the same, that is something that's changed a lot in the last decades.

    But as you pointed out with how they draw conclusions, maybe that's not such a good thing after all, eh?