When John came preaching “good news,” it may not have sounded like the good news we think of today. In fact, in our day it seems that any call to repentance, to deny self, or to do hard things is either dismissed as unloving or labeled legalism. And yet, to think biblically about the good news requires us to see how Scripture presents the gospel, both in content and tone. And thus, it is worth meditating on how John the Baptist in Luke 3 presents the gospel with many exhortations.
In Luke 3:18, the good doctor summarizes John’s preaching ministry with these words, “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.” This summary statement follows three ‘paragraphs’ outlining the content of John’s message (vv. 7–9, 10–14, 15–17) and precedes the arrest of John the Baptist by Herod the tetarch (vv. 19–20). For our purposes, it is worth considering what John said in order to see how he presented the gospel. Continue reading
UPDATE: On the basis of a few comments and further reflection, here is an updated outline of the chiasmus in Matthew 3-4. What do you think?
In preparation for Sunday’s message, I came across some themes in Matthew 3:1-4:17 that seemed to present themselves as a conceptual chiasmus in Matthew’s gospel. The issue revolves around the identity of Jesus, which the whole point of Matthew’s writing and the point he is trying to make early on in his gospel.
What I noticed is that in chapters 3-4 is that Matthew seems to pit John’s testimony about Jesus against Satan’s questions to Jesus. The former affirms the sonship of Christ and prepares the way (3:3) for the Father to declare his unconditional approval of the son (3:17). By contrast, Satan takes the word of God and twists it back against Jesus so that, he questions Jesus identity with it (4:1-11).
In the end, John’s testimony proves true as Jesus abides in God’s word (4:4, 7, 10) and resists the temptation of the devil. In the end, John’s proclamation of the kingdom’s nearness (3:2) is confirmed by Jesus’ devotion to the Father. Therefore, Matthew records Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom, which nicely concludes this section of his gospel (4:17).
Here is my conceptual outline below. Would love to hear your thoughts. Continue reading