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The Scriptorium

Things to Come

They're all Jesus. Luke 3.15-20

Pray Psalm 96.1-4.
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

Sing Psalm 96.1-4.
(Mit Freuden Zart: Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
Sing to the Lord!  O, bless His Name! All nations tell His glory!
Salvation’s tidings loud proclaim; let earth rehearse His story!
For God is greatly to be praised; His throne above all gods is raised!
Fear Him, and sing His glory!

Read Luke 3.1-20; meditate on verses 15-20.


1. What were the people reasoning about concerning John?

2. How did John answer them?

Here is an example of how the Scriptures point forward, point forward, point forward to Jesus, either His first coming, His second, or both.

It’s clear that the people of Israel, under the oppression of Rome, entertained a hope that Messiah would soon arrive to free them. Was this leather-garbed, locust-eating, fire-breathing prophet Him (v. 15)? Doubtless John heard the rumors and speculations (v. 15), and he answered by pointing forward to Jesus (vv. 16, 17). He would be coming soon. He would baptize us with the Holy Spirit. He would gather His true wheat into His barn. He would burn the chaff with fire.

John basically laid out the whole large scope of Jesus’ ministry during His incarnation, His session at the Father’s right hand, and His return. John was not the Messiah. Messiah was coming, is coming now, and will come again. If that does not make our souls leap for joy and abound with courage and love, nothing will.

Alas, however, John’s ministry and life would be cut short in yet another foreshadowing of Jesus. As John was imprisoned and martyred for speaking the truth of God (vv. 18-20), so Jesus also would be by another Roman lackey some few years hence. John’s fate points toward that of Jesus.

And Jesus’ resurrection points forward to John’s and ours. Because of His coming, glory is coming, and that right soon and forever.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…” (Gal. 4.4). And that is the point of all history: The fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah.

John knew this. It is one of the reasons he was so special. He knew his calling, he knew his purpose, and he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt Who was to receive the glory. So, when Herod added to all his other atrocious sins the travesty of putting John in prison (Lk. 3.20), he was probably not surprised. He had begun to see the problems inherent in loyal folks following the wrong leader. And disputes happening between his disciples and some of the Jews about Jesus baptizing, and who was in charge. “Behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” (Jn. 3.22-26)

John’s response? “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3.30).

John did not want to be mistaken for the Messiah. His life’s goal was to prepare the way for the Messiah. And his humility was unmistakable. Please understand, he said, “I indeed baptize with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Lk. 3.16).

John’s greatest desire was to proclaim the glory of God. He was not trying to hold onto his own work or popularity. He was willing to give it all up for the glory and worship of the Triune God. He knew the truth about glory and to Whom it belonged:
“I AM the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another…” (Is. 42.8).
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matt. 6.13).
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1.14).
“…to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever” (Rom. 16.27).
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4.11).

John’s knowledge of his place and purpose in history is something that all Christians must take to heart. As Jesus taught the people and His disciples: “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mk. 8.34).

John the Baptist was a preparer. He showed us all how to get out of the way and let Jesus shine!

For reflection
1. John knew his calling. Do you know yours? Explain.

2. What does it mean to live for the glory of God?

3. How are you asking Jesus to shine through you today?

Then he entered the temple—but not by chance or naively. He came to the temple in the Spirit of God.… If you wish to hold Jesus, and to embrace him with your hands, and to be made worthy of leaving prison, you too must struggle with every effort to possess the guiding Spirit. Origen (185-254), Homilies on the Gospel of Luke 15.1-3

Pray Psalm 96.5-13.
Pray for the lost people of the world, who are confused or uncertain or unbelieving about God and Jesus Christ. Pray for a worldwide awakening to faith, and pray that God will use your prayers and witness to help bring that about.

Sing Psalm 96.5-13.
Mit Freuden Zart: Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
All other gods are idols vain; the Lord created heaven.
Splendor and strength with Him obtain; to Him be glory given!
All fam’lies, praise this mighty Lord! Give strength and glory to His Word;
exalt the Lord of heaven.

Bring off’rings sweet to Him, our Lord, in holy garments praise Him!
Tremble before Him, all the earth; among the nations raise Him!
The earth is fixed, it will not move; the peoples will His justice prove.
Exalt the Lord and praise Him.

Let heaven sing with lusty voice; let earth and sea sing sweetly!
Let fields and trees in Him rejoice, for He is coming swiftly
to judge the world in righteousness, the peoples in His faithfulness.
He comes; exalt Him greatly!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.



T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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