Luke 3:3 John Preached Repentance and Forgivenss


Luke 3:3 “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching 2784 the baptism 908 of repentance 3341 for the reemission 859 of sins 266

And he went into all the country around the Jordan, proclaiming 2756.6 verb sing masc part press act kerusson baptism 902.1 noun baptisma of repentance 3211.1 noun metanolas for forgiveness 852.3 noun aphesin of sins264.6 noun hamartion”  Greek CBL

What we are trying to establish here in Luke 3:1-6  is the foundation upon which the rest of the Gospel of Luke is built upon.  Luke gives us the life and ministry of Jesus and is built upon the foundational understanding that are given in these verses. Here we have John began his ministry and six months later Jesus stepped in and began and fulfilled His ministry. This then sets the stage.  As we have seen already has been:

(1) The Historical setting, remember there were seven names

(2) The Geographical setting: the district around Jordan. John had a wilderness ministry. 

            He was distant from the establishment

            He was outside the cities of religious significance.

            He was outside the cities of social significance

He was outside the areas of political influence so that he really was his own man, better yet he was God’s man.

He was a man that was uninfluenced by the religion, society, and the politics of his time.

What also is interesting is John ministry was not in the normal place where teaching was to be held by the Jewish religious leaders.   For that matter either was the political setting where John taught.

God sent His preacher apart from all of that, John was not your Joel Osteen preacher.

(3) Theological setting

Now let us look at the theology, what was going on theological in the world at the time and in Israel. This will help us better understand the character of John’s ministry and also the character of Jesus’ ministry and the emphasis both of them gave in their preaching.

3:3 says: “when John came after the word of the Lord came to him, he therefore came and preached… what God wanted him to preach… and he was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

So now we have set before what defines for us the theological situation in John’s ministry.  He came and he preached a baptism for repentance, or of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

So we see three things here in this verse

(1)   Forgiveness of sins.

(2)  Repentance

(3)  Baptism

John’s topic title was :  Israel You Need The Message of The Forgiveness of Sins.

What John was saying, was just the opposite of what they believe they were.  They believed they were the sons of Abraham, the children of Abraham, The children of the covenant, the blessed of God and the people of God.  They had there own religiosity going on in the temple and doing all the things that needed to be done. They believed themselves to be very religious people.

The message of John was quite the opposite of what they think they were. They were people who were deeply, profoundly affected by sin so that they are headed for the judgment of God and greatly in need of the forgiveness of sins.  They didn’t need to be just a little better in their living, they need to know that they were actually terrible from top to bottom and they were in deed in need of forgiveness.

Same today, the message of God to fallen man is forgiveness. That’s the good news, God is willing to forgiven all your sins, that is the gospel, that is the good news. And that is what we preach. The message has always been the same, God will forgiven sin.

What most people don’t realize is the serious condition of sin, and that sin runs so deep that it is universal and it is widespread, and it is passed from one generation to the other, it’s so much of the part of the fabric of your nature, you can’t do anything about it, you can’t change it, you can’t alter it, and you can’t overcome it and you can’t cancel out the offenses you’ve made against God therefore you’re headed for judgment and damnation in hell….. that is the bad news. Here is the good news, BUT GOD:  “But God” this was one of my favorite sermons that my Dad, Everette T. Whisnant preached in Revivals around the South.  The Good News is God forgives Sin.

And repentance comes to those who repent. 


To be saved you need to be FORGIVEN and to receive it you need to REPENT.

To be saved you need to hear the full presentation of the Gospel.  There is no gospel preaching if there is no talking about repentance.

John was preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sin. We see that in 3:8: The people were coming to him and he was warning them, he was saying to all them “Bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance.”

Jesus said this in Matthew 4:17:” For that time,” that is form the time  that John was imprisoned and no longer preaching, and Jesus began, it says, “from that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent.’”

In Luke 5 Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to…….repentance.”

Luke 13:3 and 5  Jesus said,”I tell you, unless you repent you will likewise……perish.”

The ministry of our Lord was a preaching ministry and He was preaching repentance.  As was Peter, James and John, Paul, Silas, and all the others disciples. 

So why do we not hear a lot of preaching today on this topic of repentance.  As a matter of fact we are told to leave out this repentance when we talk about salvation.

Today it’s not theological correct.  They say it’s not necessary.  The Biblical presentation of the Gospel will have to include Repentance.

John MacArthur wrote a book (from his sermons) this book “THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS” .  I have read it several times.  And I tell you it was one of this most criticalize    books.

The assault and attack against John was something else. 

Many of the more popular presentation of the gospel leave out the need to repent for your sins.

When you leave out the repent part you strip the gospel of its whole part.  Repentance is critical in salvation.  And when we talk about repentance, what we’re talking about in terms of what the Scripture says about it is a disclaimer of sin essentially.  It is a denial of one’s old life.



In secular Greek primarily mean “to reconsider something, to regret.” The term may indicate a change of mind, nevertheless in classical Greek literature these words never acquire the restricted sense of “repentance” that is so essential to the NT.

The term   metanoia becomes the principle NT word used to mean “repentance” (24 times),  while noun epistrophe (1779) occurs only once in Acts 15:3. The verb form metanoeo appears 34 times, while the verb epistrepho can be found about 40 times, but of these only about ½ are related to “turning” in the sense of religious conversion.

Some of tried to explain this peculiarity by the need for a precise distinction between a “a change of mine” (meta-noia) and the stronger term shuv, especially as it was used in the prophetic writings.

Although one concedes that the NT teaching concerning repentance involves a change of mind, this should not be viewed as in contrasts or contradistinction to the OT idea of repentance.

The preaching of the prophets did not merely invite external repentance (though the rituals of religion); rather, their chief purpose was to effect a change of mind and heart in the people.

The most obvious explanation for the NT choice is that when the NT employs metanoia as a technical term for conversion, and when it understands metanoeo and epistrepho synonymously, this is because both of these terms were consider equal to the Hebrew.

They both identify repentance as the same kind of spiritual, moral and ethical change heralded by the prophets of the OT

It is from this cast that John is molded as he comes in the “spirit and power of Elijah” and urges his hearers “Repent!” Luke 3:3 and Matthew 3:2.

Any understanding of repentance in the NT rest upon its OT foundation.

The concept of repentance plays a major role in the covenant relationship of the OT. It is stressed through two avenues: the cultic ritual expression of repentance and the prophetic idea of internal change.  From the Complete Biblical Library Vol. 1986  #3211

(I didn’t type the Old Testament Background notes but they are good)

(1)  Strongs 3341; Bauer 512; Moulton-Milligan 404; Kittle 4.975; Liddell-Scott 1115 and Colin Brown 1:357-58

Metanois:  Matthew 3:8; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3, 8; 15:7; Acts 13:24; 19:4; 226:20; Hebrew 6:1; 12:17 The noun.

Metanoian: John 3:11; 9:13; Mark 2:17;  Luke 5:32; 24:47; Acts 5:31; 11:18; 20:21; Romans2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; 2 Timothy2:25; Hebrews 6:6;  2 Peter 3:9 The verb.

continues on


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