1. What does it mean for the word of God to come to someone (verse 2)?
If we’re open to God, He will put a message on our hearts or a passion for a mission we need to pursue. As we’ll see, John’s word from God was a message of repentance in preparation for the Messiah.
2. How does Isaiah’s prophecy in verses 4-6 relate to us personally to us and our salvation?
We may feel jumbled up and crooked inside, but when Jesus comes into our lives, He puts everything right, smoothens our inward turmoil, and brings peace.
3. Why did John call the crowd coming out to be baptized by him a brood of vipers (verse 7)?
He may have known that some people were coming to him not out of true repentance but out of impure motives (to be part of the crowd, to join something new, to take pride in their spirituality, etc.). We need to make sure that anything we do in relation to God is sincere.
4. After reading verses 10-14, how would you summarize John’s advice to the people?
Be satisfied with meeting your needs. Don’t try to get more. When you can, share with others any extra you have.
It’s interesting that this is how John says we show our repentance.
5. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire (verse 16)?
2 Corinthians 1:20-22 - For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means to be saved from your sins. The Spirit coming to live in you is the guarantee of your salvation.
To be baptized with fire means to face God’s wrath. If you reject the salvation Jesus offers you, you will not receive the Holy Spirit but will suffer the punishment for your sins.