SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The 3rd chapter of Matthew starts abruptly with John the Baptist preaching and preparing the way for Jesus. (To learn more about John the Baptist, read Luke 3.) John’s message was powerful and convinced many people to repent from their sin and be baptized. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees (teachers of the law) came to hear him. However, John knew they weren't there for the right reasons, so he called them out publicly.
- Jesus himself comes out to the river Jordan to hear John speak. John was his cousin. Jesus requests that John baptize him. John initially refuses, feeling unworthy and knowing that Jesus was the Messiah. However, John obeys Jesus' request, and at that moment God speaks from heaven to let everyone know that Jesus was his son.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- John warned the religious leaders, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” When we commit our lives to God and turn from our selfish lifestyle, we will produce “fruit” -- that is, we will become more like Jesus and make a mark on the world through our radical love of others.
- Baptism is so important to God that even Jesus did it. Jesus didn't have to get baptized for the reasons we do, but he did it to set an example for us.
- Jesus came down from heaven and was about to sacrifice his own life for ours. This was the greatest act of obedience. God saw this and was greatly pleased. He loved his son very much and wanted him to know.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- 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.