“Prepare the Way!” John the Baptist cries. “Repent and be baptized for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” People responded to John’s message in droves! They came from all around the region of Judea to be baptized by John.
What exactly was John preparing the way for? For who? For what? Matthew doesn’t waste any time in answering these questions. Immediately after 12 short verses about John the Baptist, Jesus comes on the scene. The text for Sunday is from Matthew 3:13-4:11.
Jesus comes to John to be baptized by him. And John objects, yet Jesus says this must happen ‘to fulfill all righteousness.’ What does that mean?
After Jesus is baptized a voice from heaven blesses Jesus, “This is my Son; whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” Why is this so important?
And immediately after Jesus baptism the Spirit leads him into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Why the desert? Why 40 days?
Notice how Jesus responds to every temptation. (Scripture). Where does Jesus quote from? What book of the Bible?
There is so much going on behind the text. I’m going to make a claim to you that someone made to me about 10 years ago… “There isn’t a word that Jesus said or a story he told or an action he made that doesn’t have some grounding in the Hebrew Scripture.” (Old Testament) If this is true, which I have come to believe it is, then dig a little deeper with me. Are there parallels with Jesus Baptism and Temptations that you can find in the Old Testament? Scripture references? Motifs? (like Israel being delivered from Egypt and then led into the dessert to be tested? – for example) I’ll point you in some directions… Psalm 2, Isaiah 42, Exodus 20 and 24, Deuteronomy 6 and 8… to name a few.
See you Sunday!