Matthew 3:1-12 – Preparing the Way for Jesus
There were 30 silent years before Jesus baptism. We are not told much about His life growing up. We do know that He grew up as a normal child. He had a mother who was deeply spiritual. She loved, trusted, and obeyed God. Jesus was blessed by His foster father, Joseph. He became a carpenter. He recognized God’s will for him and his family. He obeyed God. So Jesus was brought up in a loving, God-fearing family. What a great start in life.
Do you give your child the best start in life?Do you read Bible stories to him, take him to church, and live a righteous life as an example?
In Hebrews 2:10-18; 4:15-16; 5:7-9; Luke 2:40-52 we learn some things about Jesus’ early life. He had brothers. He was tempted in every way. He prayed with loud cries and tears. He learned obedience. He grew and was filled with wisdom. The grace of God came upon Him. At the age of 12 He stayed in Jerusalem and talked with teachers and had understanding. He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. During these silent years in Nazareth He experienced all that we experience. So He knows exactly how we feel in every circumstance.
For 400 years God had been silent toward His people. Then came the prophet, John the Baptist. His work was to prepare the way for Israel’s coming King, Messiah Jesus. Isaiah 40:3 – “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.’” John the Baptist was that voice. He was a bold preacher and warned of the coming wrath. He said all should repent and be baptized. John baptized with water, but the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. John prepared the way for the Lord Jesus by causing people to recognize and confess their sins. He pointed them to Jesus, the Lamb of God.
John preached to the crowds about Jesus. Luke 3:18 – “With many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.” He said Jesus would be more powerful, He would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire and He could clear out His church and gather all believers together.
The Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian. Joel 2:28 – The Holy Spirit will come on all people and they will prophesy and dream dreams and see visions. Ez. 36:25-27 – The Holy Spirit will cleanse you from all impurities. John 7:37-39 – He will satisify our deep inward thirst. Acts 1:5, 8 – He gives us power. Isaiah 44:3 – He will bless our descendants.
There was a need for repentance: the Kingdom of Heaven is near; because the Lord’s paths need to be straight (into our hearts); because of spiritual pride; because of coming judgment.
Repentance means to turn and involves turning from sin and turn toward God. The Bible speaks many times about turning away from sin. There can be no true repentance without confession of sin. Baptism symbolizes spiritual and moral cleansing that lasts for eternity.
Sin can become a pattern in our life and become normal. We need to recognize sin and not rationalize it. Will you ask God to show you your sin?
Luke 3 give extra details about John the Baptist’s message. He told the people to share with others, collect no more taxes than what was due, not exhort money or accuse people falsely, and to be content with your pay. These are good lessons for us all.
The difference in John’s baptism and the baptism of Christians since Pentecost is John baptized with water and simply prepared the people for Christ. Christian baptism today includes these things, but much more. We today are baptized with the Holy Spirit and is a sign that points to God’s promise and includes a new life in Christ. Our baptism unites us forever with Christ.
Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus’ Baptism
Jesus came to John the Baptist and wanted to be baptized. He had no sin and didn’t need to be baptized. But Jesus said in Matt. 3:15b – “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” This was His first identification with us as sinners. He set the example for us. Although He had no sin, He took our sins upon Himself at the Cross. His baptism marked the beginning of His public ministry. It was the anointing for service. When Jesus came up out of the water, heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove. “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” – Matt. 3:17
Why did Jesus decide to be baptized?He needed to be identified with us as sinners.
It anointed Him to begin His public ministry.
He sets the example for us to follow.
He was obeying God.
It fulfilled prophesy.
Principles:Every person needs to confess and repent.
True confession acknowledges the reality of our sinful identification without Christ.
Repentance leads to a new identity in Christ and sets us apart by His grace.
Believers can follow Christ’s example of obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Is your life self-indulgent?Have you confessed of your sins?
Have you repented?
Have you ever truly turned from sin and turned to God?
Have you ever intentionally received Christ into your being through faith?
See you here next week for the next for Matthew 4.