Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part V: Jesus As Israel's Messiah By His Forerunner's Ministry
(Matthew 3:1-12)
  1. Introduction
    1. If Jesus is the true Messiah of Israel sent from God, then even the Old Testament predicted forerunner of Messiah must fulfill Old Testament predictions about him.
    2. That forerunner was John the Baptizer, and his life and ministry abundantly fulfilled prophecy as follows:
  2. Jesus As Israel's Messiah By His Forerunner's Ministry, Matthew 3:1-12.
    1. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by his ministry location, Matthew 3:1:
      1. Matthew 3:1 states John the Baptizer began preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, a "barren wasteland extending along the western shore of the Dead Sea," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matt. 3:1.
      2. This location fits the Isaiah 40:3 prediction that a voice would cry in the wilderness for Israel to prepare the way of the Lord, to make His paths straight in preparation for His arrival, Matthew 3:1.
    2. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by his message, Matthew 3:2:
      1. Matthew 3:2 reports John the Baptizer called Israel to repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
      2. This message fits the prediction of Malachi 4:5-6 that John would come in the spirit of Old Testament Elijah and turn the hearts of the fathers and children toward one another in spiritual renewal, and Jesus in Matthew 17:10-13 revealed that John was the fulfillment of the Elijah prediction here, Matthew 3:3.
    3. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by his clothing, Matthew 3:4a:
      1. Matthew 3:4a claims John the Baptizer wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather girdle.
      2. This clothing fits Elijah's clothing in 2 Kings 1:8 NIV: there, Old Testament Elijah is described as having worn a garment of hair with a leather belt around his waist.
    4. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by his upright but poor diet, Matthew 3:4b:
      1. Matthew 3:4b reports that John the Baptizer ate locusts and wild honey.
      2. Though Old Testament Elijah was fed meat and bread by the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:6), John's diet of locusts and wild honey was similarly that of a poor man, though it was a Biblical diet as locusts and wild honey were Biblically sanctioned foods under the Law, Leviticus 11:22 and Proverbs 24:13.
    5. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by Israel's response to him, Matthew 3:5-6:
      1. Matthew 3:5-6 claims that the city of Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole area around Jordan went out to see John, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
      2. The fact that many Hebrews would first travel out to the wilderness to see John, and, upon hearing him, submit to his baptism of repentance, shows they held him to be a prophet as testified in Matt. 21:23-27.
    6. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by his reaction to Israel's leaders, Matt. 3:7-10:
      1. When the Pharisees and Sadducees, two key, ruling segments in Judaism, came to John's public baptism, he did not politically cater to them, but he publicly critiqued their false spirituality that presumed their Hebrew heritage was enough to provide them eternal salvation, Matthew 3:7, 9.
      2. Rather, he called them unto changed lives as a result of true repentance, warning that failure here meant divine judgment though they were religious rulers, Matthew 3:8, 10; Bib. Know. Com., N. T. , p. 24-25.
    7. John the Baptizer is the Scriptural forerunner of Messiah by his predictions of Messiah, Matthew 3:11-12:
      1. Matthew 3:11a,b shows John predicting One who came after him who was both mightier than he was, and whose shoes he as a slave would not be worthy to carry [or untie], Ibid., p. 25. This description indicates he spoke of the Messiah, and implied this Messiah was deity far above John's status.
      2. Matthew 3:11c-12 reports that John claimed this coming One would baptize with fire, and thoroughly purge his threshing floor, separating the wheat from the chaff, believer from unbeliever, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. This severe judgment was predicted of Messiah in Malachi 3:1-2.
Lesson: By his ministry location, message, clothes, diet and Israel's response to him, by his reaction to Israel's false religious leaders and his predictions of Messiah, John is the Messiah's true forerunner.

Application: (1) May we believe Jesus is the Messiah by the Biblical credibility of His forerunner, John. (2) May we heed John's message even today to repent of sin from the heart and revere our Great Lord.