Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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?)
  • 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 of 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 Jesus' cousin.
  • Jesus requests that John baptize him. John initially refuses, feeling unworthy because he knew Jesus was the Messiah. However, John obeys Jesus' request.
  • As Jesus is baptized, God speaks from heaven, affirming Him and letting 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.” To repent means to turn away from our sin. When we commit our lives to God and turn from our selfish lifestyle, we should 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 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?)
  • John the Baptist deferred attention people wanted to give him so he could point people to Jesus. In your life, do you make it your goal to point people to Jesus? Is his "fame" more important to you than yours'? Why or why not?
  • Jesus knew it would please God for Him to be baptized, so He did it. In your life, are you willing to do whatever God wants you to do? Do you live your life to please Him? If not, what could help you move more towards living that kind of life?
  • 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.