Matthew 3 Reading Guide
Updated: Oct 12, 2021
v1-12 - We are reading the New Testament, but John the Baptist is really the last of the Old Testament prophets.
Like many other Old Testament prophets, John was an odd duck.
His clothing and diet seem weird to us now, but they even seemed weird two thousand years ago when he showed up.
This oddness may have been one of the things that drew so many people out to the middle of nowhere to hear him preach and to be baptized (baptism was around in the Old Testament as well as a rite of purification after repentance).
John's message is consistent with the prophets as well: REPENT.
The Pharisees and Sadducees who came to check out what John was doing (likely because they were jealous of the crowds John was attracting) were professional repenters.
Nobody repented in a finer fashion than did they. Of course, it was all a big show and they weren't truly repenting of anything, which is why John lights into them so aggressively.
John makes it clear that once we've confessed and repented of sin, those who are truly God's children will live in a way that reflects their repentance.
v13-17 - When John's cousin Jesus showed up along with the crowds to be baptized, John initially refused.
From John's perspective, it didn't make any sense for Jesus to go through this repentance and purification ritual because Jesus had nothing to repent of or be purified from.
Jesus' answer changes John's mind:
it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness (v15).
Jesus' mission was to come and live the perfect life of obedience to God that man was supposed to have lived.
But before He could fulfill that mission, He had to be identified with sinful man in a sinless way.
Showing up at the Jordan with throngs of other repentant sinners was how He did that. Just as Christian baptism is a sign and seal of being marked as God's own, John's baptism was a sign and seal that Jesus was being marked with sinners.
The fact that God the Father's voice greets Jesus, who is now marked with the sinners, is good news.
Sinners who now find their identity in Christ will hear from the Father the same thing that Jesus did:
"This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased (v17).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
The priests needed to repentantly wash with water every time they came before the altar of God:
He placed the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing, and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and feet. They washed whenever they entered the tent of meeting or approached the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses. - Exodus 40:30-32
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Where did Jesus come from when He came to John at the Jordan River to be baptized? (See verse 13.)
In verse 8, John told the Sadducees and Pharisees to produce “fruit” in their lives that was consistent with repentance. For people in our churches today, what kind of “fruit” do you think this should be?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is in heaven, who loves you and is pleased with you because you are in Christ;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the grace to align your life with Jesus' will in the same way John the Baptist did in v15.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
As we've gone through the book of Revelation, we've been concentrating on the main message, which is that we can have No Fear for the Future because Jesus has been, is now, and will be victorious. But there are certainly lots of confusing details, and we can't cover everything in our morning sermons, so on October 17 in our 6 PM evening service, we'll discuss the questions you have. Let Pastor Chad know if there's a particular verse, image, or idea that you'd like more insight on. The best way to submit your questions is by using the form below: