Summary: Matthew gives the testimony of three witnesses to the person of Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God and King (John, the Spirit, & the Father).
Matthew gives the testimony of three witnesses to the person of Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God and King (John, the Spirit, & the Father).
(v.1) Why was John in the “wilderness?”
3 Facts about John (3:1-15)
1. His Message – (3:1-2; 7-10) John’s message centered on repentance and the “Kingdom of Heaven.”
- “Repent” means to change one’s mind and act on that change.
- John wasn’t satisfied with regret or remorse; he wanted evidence of repentance (v.8).
??? What is the difference between regret and repent?
- When we have sinned, we must repent. It’s easy to feel bad. It’s easy to regret doing something. It’s easy to feel remorseful. All of these things are good, but not good enough. We must change our thinking and act on it!
- Although many came in true humility and repentance (v.5), the religious leaders refused to submit. They assumed that they were good enough to please God (v.8).
??? Why did the Pharisees assume that they were good enough to please God?
- They followed the law to the tee.
- John was saying, “The law does not justify you.”
??? If the law doesn’t justify you, why was it given?
- The law reveals our sin (Romans 3:20); shows God’s holiness.
- The law reveals our Savior (Galatians 3:24-25).
- Although the Pharisees appeared to be Godly, there heart was not in the actions. John required repentance of the heart.
??? The Pharisees (religious leaders and traditionalists) and the Sadducees (liberals) usually bumped heads on everything, but on the issue of Jesus they joined forces.
- John’s message was also one of judgment. Israel had sinned and need to repent. The religious leaders should have been leading the way!
- The axe was lying at the root of the tree (Israel); and if the tree did not bear good fruit, it would be cut down.
- If the nation repented, the way would be prepared for the coming of the Messiah.
2. His Baptism – (3:5-6; 11-12) John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.
His baptism fulfilled two purposes:
- It prepared the nation for Christ.
- It presented Christ to the nation.
John mentioned two other baptisms:
- Spirit; which came at Pentecost (Acts 1:5). Today, whenever a sinner trusts Christ, he is born again and immediately baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ (the church).
- Fire; which refers to the future judgment (3:12).
3. His Obedience – (3:13-15) John tried to stop Jesus, but the Lord knew it was the Father’s will.
Jesus was not baptized because He was a repentant sinner.
??? Why was He baptized?
- His baptism gave approval to John’s ministry.
- He was identifying himself with the very people He came to save.
The Spirit (3:16)
The dove is a beautiful symbol which was an important witness to the people who opposed Christ.
- The dove is a symbol of purity and peace.
- It is important to observe each word. “Like” is a simile.
The Father (3:17)
- The Father’s statement approved all that Jesus had done up to that point.
- His “hidden years” were years of pleasing the Father.
- We are to delight in what the Father delights in (Jesus). When we put our delight in anything else, we are belittling God.