Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 3:
Jesus came at just the right time. People were ready to respond to the preparatory call of John in the wilderness, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." And this call helped fulfill the words of Isaiah 40 by preparing the hearts and lives of the people for Jesus.
A contrast was drawn by John between an earthly judgment and a heavenly judgment. According to John, Jesus carries the "winnowing fork" that separates the wheat from the chaff. The wheat is gathered, but the chaff is burned. The wheat is baptized by the Holy Spirit, but the chaff is baptized by an unquenchable fire. Repentance and water baptism is just preparation for what is to come through Christ.
Jesus, the Lord, is far more powerful than John and even John is not worthy enough to carry his sandals. Yet, in order to fulfill all righteousness, Jesus is baptized in water by John. And at his baptism, "the heavens are opened to him," God's Spirit descends upon him, and the voice of God proclaims from heaven, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."
Big Idea: God introduced Jesus to the world by sending John with an important preparatory message of repentance and baptism by water. When Jesus responded to this message, God verbally announced, "This is my Son."
- The nearness of the kingdom of heaven is somehow related to the life of Jesus (Matthew 3:2).
- Repentance is somehow connected with the nearness of the kingdom of heaven and Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:2).
- John came to prepare and make the path straight for Jesus (Matthew 3:3).
- Jesus is the Lord (Matthew 3:3).
- Jesus is more powerful than John the baptist (Matthew 3:11).
- John is not worthy to carry Jesus' sandals (Matthew 3:11).
- Jesus will baptize with both the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).
- Jesus carries a winnowing fork and will "clear his threshing floor" (Matthew 3:12).
- Jesus will gather "his wheat into the granery; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12).
- Jesus traveled from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13).
- John seemed to think it was more appropriate to be baptized by Jesus then to baptize Jesus and was reluctant to baptize Jesus (Matthew 3:14).
- Jesus said that it was proper for John to baptize Jesus in order "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15).
- Jesus said "Let it be so now,.." (Matthew 3:15).
- Jesus was baptized in water by John (Matthew 3:16).
- As Jesus came up out of the water the following took place: "the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him" (Matthew 3:16).
- At the conclusion of his baptism, " a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:17).
- Jesus is God's Son (Matthew 3:17).
- God is pleased with and loves His son, Jesus (Matthew 3:17).
Sometimes God I forget how important repentance is in preparing for You. I also sometimes desire to deny Your coming wrath. Thank you for reminding me of these two things in a context that announces Your Son, whom You love. Amen.
This blog entry is one of a series of entries in my quest to go chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament answering the question "Who is Jesus?"