The Second Sunday in Advent

John the Baptist Speaks Out

Matthew 3: 1 - 12

Mark 1: 1 - 8

John 1: 10 - 28

Luke 3: 7 - 18

John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah the priest and his wife Elizabeth, lived out his father's predictions by preparing the people to listen to Jesus. Baptist is also translated Baptizer, someone who washes away sins.

John prepared the Pharisees and Sadducees for the changes to come, preaching about repentance. To repent is to do more than to be sorry for your sins: it means a bold turning away or turning around: firmly setting yourself in a direction that leads away from doing, saying, and believing bad things.

John baptized and preached in Bethany, east of the River Jordan in Palestine, showing people the harm of their ways, telling them that Jesus would follow him to save the people from their sins.

John the Evangelist begins his gospel with the declaration that Jesus is the living Word of God, the Bible come to life in human form, while Mark begins his story with the appearance of John the Baptist. Matthew begins with Jesus' genealogy from Abraham through David.

But there are many similarities in all the stories of John the Baptist.

Can you find the differences?

This is a good day to sing On Jordan's Banks, the Baptist's Cry (LBW 36).

1. What did the priests from Jerusalem ask John the Baptist?

[The priests asked John who he was.]

2. Who did John say he was not?

[John said he was not the Messiah, not Elijah, not the new prophet.]

3. Which prophet did John quote?

[John quoted the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 40: 3]

4. What did John say about the one who would come after him?

[John said, I am not good enough to untie his sandals."]

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