Tag Archives: Matthew 3

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 202/260: John the Immerser

Read Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18

John Preached Repentance

Can one be a true follower of something without actually following what is required? It is a contradiction to think that you can be a follower of God without actually following what God commands, is it not? Thus, John preached a message of repentance and obedience, specifically “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,” for those who desired to truly follow God. Those who refused to repent and be immersed would not be granted forgiveness. While Christian baptism looks back to the blood shed on the cross and John’s baptism looked forward to Christ’s sacrifice, the fact remains that both had the same purpose: “the remission of sins.” Without the baptism commanded by God today, one cannot be saved.

And yet, there is more than just submission to baptism involved in Christianity, just as there was more involved when John preached. Repentance was and still is required. A change of life. Repentance requires a purge of sinful behaviors, replacing that old way of life with a dedicated service to God. Paul commended the church in Thessalonica because they “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). That is repentance!

John preached repentance to the multitudes, telling them that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). It was near, almost here, when John preached; it came in power on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.

While he preached repentance in general to everyone, Luke also records a specific message for two particular groups of people. John the Immerser told the tax collectors to practice fairness in their trade: “Collect no more than what is appointed for you” (Luke 3:13). To the soldiers, he told them to exercise restraint and truthfulness in their occupation, and contentment with their compensation: “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14).

You may not have to leave your occupation to follow Jesus, but you may need to change the way you behave in your occupation. Consider the activities in which you are involved and ask if they violate Scriptural principles. If they do, repent, changing the behavior that needs to be changed!

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 128/260: Read Matthew 3

John the Baptist played a vital role in preparing the world for Jesus Christ. There would be a dramatic change from the way things had always been before, and John encouraged the people, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Still today, Jesus needs folks who will prepare the people around them for Him. It may be a family member, or a close friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker. They still need to hear the message of repentance. Not because the kingdom is “at hand,” or nearby, but because the kingdom has arrived! Those who die without repenting and putting on Christ in baptism, without placing their citizenship in heaven (Philippian 3:20), cannot be admitted there.

Before we teach anyone, we must “bear fruits worthy of repentance” ourselves. One who teaches others about Christ must live a Christ-like life themselves. You have little chance to convert someone to a way of life that you are not willing to live yourself. If you have sin in your life, repent! “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

Make a list of people who need Jesus in their lives. Put your own name at the top of the list. Look for ways to infuse Christian character in everything you do, and encourage those around you to do the same.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 5:9. “________________ are the peacemakers, for they shall be called ________________ of God.”


Pray for opportunities to prepare someone else for Jesus.

The Life of John the Baptist: John Baptizes Jesus

The Life of John the Baptist

JOHN BAPTIZES JESUS // Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22

I. Why did Jesus submit to baptism?

    A. John tried to prevent Him
    B. It was not “for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3; cf. Hebrews 4:15)
    C. “To fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15)

      1. “He learned obedience” (Hebrews 5:8)
      2. He came to do the will of God (Hebrews 10:7)
      3. “There are two aspects of baptism; first, it was an act in connection with the remission of sin, and an act of obedience to a positive command of God. Jesus had no sin to be forgiven, but he must obey the command of God.” (Boles, Matthew)
      4. “Could He have gone on in His sinlessness as heretofore and have remained sinless to the end if at this point He did not do everything God had commanded? No, perfect holiness involves doing all God says to do, without rationalizing. Had Jesus refused or neglected to obey this precept of God, He would have failed, coming short of perfect righteousness.” (Fowler, Matthew)
      5. “Our Lord came to set us a perfect example, hence it was needful for him, having taken the form of a man and a servant, to set us an example of obedience. He was baptized, not unto repentance, for he had no sins, but to fulfill all righteousness, and thus to show us how every disciple ought to do.” (Johnson and DeWelt, Mark)
      6. “How worthy of emulation is that sublime attitude of Jesus; and how unlike that attitude is that of men who set aside even the baptism that is greater than John’s, making it a non-essential, an elective privilege, rather than receiving it for what it is, namely, a divinely-imposed condition of eternal salvation, which if spurned cannot fail to bring everlasting remorse.” (Coffman, Matthew)

    D. Why are we supposed to be baptized today?

      1. “For the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38)
      2. “Wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16)
      3. “Into His death” (Romans 6:3-6)
      4. “Put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27)

II. The Spirit “descending like a dove”

    A. John 1:32-34
    B. “As in all Scriptural symbolism, the dove was a creature most admirably suited to serve in that situation as a vehicle for suggesting the Holy Spirit. Note: (1) The dove was a ‘clean’ creature under the ceremonial laws of the Jews; (2) it was used in their religious sacrifices, two, in fact, being offered upon the presentation of our Lord in the temple (Luke 2:24); (3) it is a monogamous creature! (4) it is a symbol of peace; (5) it is a marvel of gentleness, love, and affection; (6) it is a messenger (the homing pigeon is a dove); and (7) the dove has no gall, suggesting that there is no bitterness in the service of God.” (Coffman, Matthew)
    C. Jesus called doves “harmless” (Matthew 10:16)
    D. “The coming of the Spirit performed these all-important functions:

      1. “The divine authentication of His identity: HE, and no other, is God’s Son and Messiah;
      2. “His public anointing as God’s Messiah (Ac. 10:38);
      3. “The reinforcement of the human nature of Jesus for the great work and suffering which He must shortly commence.” (Fowler, Matthew)

III. The Father’s voice from heaven

    A. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
    B. Two other instances of the Father speaking from above in the New Testament

      1. At the mount of transfiguration: Matthew 17:5, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
      2. At the feast: John 12:28-29, “‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered.”

    C. Jesus’ status as the Son of God is different from other sons (and daughters) of God

      1. “Only begotten” (John 3:16-18; 1 John 4:9)
      2. Jesus is a unique, one-of-a-kind type of Son
      3. We are children through adoption (Galatians 4:4-7)

IV. The trinity

    A. “Here at the baptism of Jesus, we have one of the clearest and most complete revelations of the three Persons who make up the Deity: the Son of God standing incarnate upon earth, the Spirit descending out of heaven, and the Father speaking from heaven. Again, our obedience to the divine will brings together those mighty names in connection with our baptism.” (Fowler, Matthew)
    B. Matthew 28:19-20
    C. 2 Corinthians 13:14

The Life of John the Baptist: The Message of John the Baptist

The Life of John the Baptist

THE MESSAGE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST // Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18

I. When (Luke 3:1-2)

    A. The fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar

      1. Ascended to the throne of the Roman Empire in 14 AD
      2. However, was joint-emperor beginning in 11 AD

    B. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea (26-36 AD)
    C. Herod, tetrarch of Galilee (4 BC-39 AD)
    D. Philip, tetrarch of Iturea (4 BC-34 AD)
    E. Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene
    F. Annas (7 BC-15 AD, but still considered by Jews as the true high priest after 15) and Caiaphas (18-37 AD), high priests

II. The general message of repentance

    A. Baptism of repentance for the remissions of sins (Luke 3:3)

      1. Repentance “is a change of the human will that issues a reformation of life….It is the basic condition of God’s forgiveness; and, as long as one is under the probation of life, the need of repentance is constant” (Coffman, Luke)
      2. “Benjamin Franklin, pioneer Restoration preacher, proclaimed that God appointed three changes in conversion and three actions designed to effect those three changes. These are FAITH to change the heart (mind); REPENTANCE to change the will; and BAPTISM to change the status.” (Coffman, Matthew).
      3. “He did all his preaching near water since response to his message required immersion (baptism).” (Butler, Luke)
      4. “The word baptizo in Greek means immerse; it can only mean immerse. There is a Greek word for sprinkle, rantizo; there is a Greek word for pour, cheo. Neither of these words are used in the Greek text for the action of baptism—only the word baptizo. All Greek lexicons, ancient and modern, give the definition of baptizo to be, ‘dip, plunge, immerse.’ The practice of sprinkling for baptism was not officially sanctioned by Christendom until the fourteenth century! To make changes in the mode of baptism is nowhere sanctioned in the Bible!” (Butler, Luke)

    B. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

      1. During his lifetime, John was never a member of the Lord’s kingdom
      2. The kingdom (the church) was not established until about 33 AD – after John’s death

    C. Fulfillment of prophecy (Mark 1:2; Luke 3:4-6)

      1. Malachi 3:1
      2. Isaiah 40:3-5
      3. “The conceit that physical descent from Abraham would entitle them to Messiah’s blessing, the foolish notion that the Messiah would be a secular king like Solomon, the conviction that he would drive out the Romans and execute a vindictive and punitive judgment against their Gentile enemies, and the widespread hypocrisy and immorality of the people, the selfishness and hardheartedness of the rich, and the greedy gouging of the people by the concessioners in the temple itself, the gross ritualism and secularism that had buried God’s true law under the priestly traditions—all these cried out to God for correction; and thus it was no small task that challenged the son of Zacharias!” (Coffman, Luke)

    D. Widespread acceptance of the message (Mark 1:5-6; Luke 3:7; Matthew 3:7)

      1. “Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to hear him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5, emphasis added)
      2. This is obvious hyperbole, as one discovers from further reading that there were still many who did not believe and did not submit to John’s baptism
      3. “Multitudes” (Luke 3:7)
      4. “Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 3:7)

    E. Addressing the religious elite (Matthew 3:7-10)

      1. “Who warned you?”

        a. “Who indeed but the father of lies could have prompted these hypocrites to believe they could actually escape the wrath of God by mere outwardly religious, hypocritical acts?…Baptized hundreds of times, they would never be able to escape the wrath of God!” (Fowler, Matthew)
        b. Just as faith alone cannot save, neither can baptism alone
        c. It takes a life of submission, sacrifice, and service, to live faithfully
        d. “True repentance is inward but it must affect all the issues of life.” (Fowler, Matthew)

      2. Do not trust in your heritage (Luke 3:7-9)

        a. “We have Abraham as our father”
        b. “God is interested is character, not color of skin or cultural circumstance.” (Butler, Luke)
        c. Individual responsibility (cf. Ezekiel 18:20)
        d. The importance of bearing fruit (cf. Matthew 7:15-20; Galatians 5:22-23)
        e. How was the “ax…laid to the root of the trees” prophecy fulfilled? The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD

    F. Take care of those in need (Luke 3:10-11)

      1. Matthew 25:31-46
      2. James 2:14-17

III. Teaching to specific groups

    A. Tax collectors (Luke 3:12-13)

      1. John teaches them to practice fairness
      2. Society had a low opinion of tax collectors – in Scriptures, they were often mentioned in the same breath as sinners/heathens/harlots (Matthew 9:10-11; 11:19; 18:17; 21:31-32; Mark 2:15-16; Luke 5:30; 7:34; 15:1)
      3. The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14)
      4. The example of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:8)
      5. “Significantly, John did not suggest that they resign their jobs….Not tax collecting, but dishonest extortion was viewed as sin.” (Coffman, Luke)

    B. Soldiers (Luke 3:14)

      1. Do not intimidate
      2. Be content with wages
      3. “They were not commanded to leave the army but to exhibit attitudes of restraint, truthfulness, and contentment.” (Coffman, Luke)
      4. “He keeps his life free from the love of money (cf. Heb. 13:5; I Tim. 6:6-8). He does not have to give up a perfectly normal and socially useful vocation to come into a right relationship with God—he just has to let God’s revealed will give sovereign direction to whatever vocation or avocation he chooses in life.” (Butler, Luke)
      5. Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 6:5-9

IV. John denies that he is the Christ (Luke 3:15-18)

    A. “One of the things that made John the Baptist such a great man was his unfeigned humility. He was great because he was a servant.” (Butler, Luke)
    B. John baptized with water; Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire

      1. Those baptized with the Holy Spirit were the apostles on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)
      2. Those baptized with fire are those who refuse to repent in this life
      3. The fire, as indicated in verse 17, is “unquenchable”