Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26 - Matthew 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 3. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In the previous chapter we saw Jesus as an infant traveling with his family. In today’s chapter we fast forward a number of years to see Jesus as an adult. Like many people at the time, Jesus traveled to see John "the Baptist," who must have been quite a sight with his interesting choice of clothing. John’s message was powerful and convinced many people to repent from their sin and be baptized.
  • Some Pharisees and Sadducees show up, but John knows they aren't really seeking God as the others are, so he calls them out on it.
  • Then Jesus came to be baptized by John (who happened to be his cousin). John initially refuses, because he knows Jesus is greater than he. However, Jesus convinces John to do it, and Jesus is baptized. At that moment we get to hear God speak to/about his son.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • John told the religious leaders, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” When we commit our lives to God and turn from our selfish lifestyle, God wants us to continue down that path so we produce “fruit” -- that is, develop a trust in God which leads us to become more like Jesus and to make an impact in the world through our radical love of others.
  • Baptism is so important to God, even Jesus did it. Jesus didn't have to get baptized for the reasons we do, but did it to show its importance and set an example for us.
  • The basis for Jesus' sense of self-worth probably came from knowing that He had His father's love, and that His father was well pleased with Him. That should be the source of our self-worth as well - God loves us and is pleased with us.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What is the source of your self-worth? The approval of your parents? Your achievements in life? It's only when you embrace God's love for you that you'll have a solid sense that you are valuable and important. Spend some time focusing on God's love for you and asking Him to help you embrace it.
  • Have you been baptized? Why or why not? Baptism is an outward sign of an inward commitment to following Jesus; it’s a public proclamation of trust in Jesus. Typically in the Bible people get baptized as soon as they place their trust in Jesus (it's not the end of the journey as much as it is the beginning of one). However, Jesus was around 30 years of age when he was baptized, and he’d been following God his whole life. If Jesus was willing to be baptized, so should we. If you are just putting your faith in Jesus, or if you've been following Him for awhile but haven’t gotten baptized, what’s keeping you?  To learn more about baptism, listen to this message Verve did on it. And if you think this is a step you're ready to take, shoot Verve an e-mail.