John the Baptist, the One Who Goes Before (3:1-20)

Luke's presentation of John the Baptist combines material like that in Matthew 3:1-12 and Mark 1:2-8 with material unique to Luke (Lk 3:10-14). John is a preacher of the coming arrival of God's salvation, just as Isaiah 40:3-5 promised. The preparation for that salvation involves repentance, a heart open and turned to the living God. Forgiveness of sins paves the way for a life lived in honor of God with eyes looking for the One to come. There is a concrete ethical element in John's preaching in 3:10-14. That ethical note is also present in Jesus' teaching about how a disciple is to live with a unique kind of love (6:20-49). So John points both to Jesus and to the kind of heart that will recognize him and respond to him when he comes by honoring him with a life that is fruitful before God.

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