Food for Thought

This is a weekly adult Bible study, and for the coming few weeks we are looking at what is pre-occupying many Christians: the coming of the Lord. We have studied the hope that was evident in faithful people waiting for the Messiah to be born, and our hope that has been made real by His coming. Now we are going to look at the preparations made in advance of His coming, and challenge ourselves with the application of these things in our day.

The Preparation
Isa.40:3-5; Lk.3:1-22 (What was/is baptism all about?)

Questions for starters:

1. If the prophecy by Isaiah was about a coming king, why was the cry to be heard in the wilderness, away from the city? Where should God’s highway lead to?
2. What is the point of raising valleys and flattening mountains about? Did that happen when Jesus was born? What are the obstacles in our lives?
3. In Lk.3:3 (and see Matthew 3), John prepares the Jews to receive the Messiah by baptizing them; where did he get that procedure from?
4. What is meant by: “…a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”; in what way were they preparing to meet their saviour?
5. John said that the Messiah would baptize them with the Holy Spirit (Lk.3:16); how was that fulfilled?
6. Why was Jesus baptized (Lk.3:21, and see Matthew 3:13-17)?
7. What did Jesus mean by saying He had another “baptism to be baptized with” (Lk.12:50) and why did He use that description? What was He preparing for?
8. When Philip used another prophecy of Isaiah (see Acts 8:26-39) it resulted in the person he spoke to getting baptized. Why? And what can we learn from this account about how and when we should get baptized today?
9. What is the connection between being baptized and being part of God’s kingdom?