Matthew 3: Today’s Chapter

April 24, 2021 in Today's Reading by TGV

Matthew 3: Bible Reading Plan/ The Book of Matthew 3/ Theme: Preparation for the Messiah’s Coming; The Baptism of Jesus Christ.

 


Matthew 3 (NKJV) — 1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” 4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.


 

INTRODUCTION.

The Book of Matthew 3/ Introduction/ 40-BSG-3C, (Matthew 3:1-4:16) Jesus’ Preparation for Ministry.

“Matthew abruptly jumps from the events surrounding Jesus’ birth to the time of his adult life. Apart from the one episode of Jesus teaching in the temple at age twelve (Luke 2:41–52), none of the canonical Gospels describes anything about his intervening years. Apparently, they provided few clues to his true identity or coming mission. In striking contrast, the apocryphal gospels fill Jesus’ “hidden years” with all kinds of miraculous exploits, esoteric teaching, and exotic travels.

The events of chaps. 3–4 probably date from A.D. 27 and focus on God’s preparation for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. These necessary preliminaries include the emergence of the Messiah’s prophetic forerunner (3:1–12), his baptism of Jesus (3:13–17), and the Messiah’s temptation (4:1–11). Matthew 4:12–16 brings this period of preparation to a close with a characteristically Matthean fulfillment quotation and ushers in the second main section and largest portion of Matthew’s Gospel (4:17–16:20). In fact, Matthew’s predilection for Scripture quotations continues throughout this part of his introduction (3:3, 17; 4:4, 6, 7, 10, 15–16), but only the first and last of these speak of fulfillment (3:3; 4:14).” – [Craig Blomberg, Matthew, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 22:71].


 

TEACHING OUTLINE.

Bible Study Guide/ Teaching Outline/ Matthew 3, (40-BSG-3E)/ Theme: Preparation for the Messiah’s Coming; The Baptism of Jesus Christ.

An Overview: The purpose of Matthew’s Gospel is to draw our attention to the Messiah. Jesus Christ is indeed the King – not only King of the Jews, but of the whole Universe! Thus far, we have covered, the King’s Ancestry (Mt 1:1–17), the King’s Arrival (Mt 1:18–25), the King’s Adoration (Mt 2:1–12), the King’s Attestation (Mt 2:13–23). Today we are looking at the King’s Announcement (Mt 3:1–12), and the King’s Anointing/ His Coronation (that is, His Baptism at the Jordan). Tomorrow, God’s willing, we will look at the Testing of the King, (that is, the Temptation Mt. 4:1-11).

In the intro Section (3:1-12) John the Baptist set a blazing example for every minister and believer of the gospel. The content of his sermon is a message for all people — he speaks to the common person as well as to the religionist of the day. The chapter can be developed as follows: John’s ministry in the wilderness (v. 1); John’s message to the people: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near (vv. 2–6); John’s message to the religionists, the Pharisees and Sadducees (vv. 7–10); John’s message to all: Christ—the long awaited Messiah—is coming (vv. 11–12). The chapter ends with one of the most amazing facts about God as a Relational Trinity, namely, The Father, Son, Holy Spirit – All present and Each has a specific role in this divinely orchestrated event (the baptism of Jesus) at the Jordan (vv. 13-17).

Characters: God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, John, “Jerusalem and all Judea and all the country round about the Jordan” (v. 5), the Pharisees and Sadducees (v. 7).

Key Text: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11, NKJV)

Key Word: Confession of sins (Mt 3:6); Repentance (Mt 3:2, 8); Baptism (Mt 3:6, 13).

Striking Verses: Matthew 3:1-2, 3, 4, 5-6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13-14, 15, 16, 17.

Division of Main Points [a] John’s Ministry in the Wilderness (v. 1); [b] Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near (vv. 2–3); [c] The Person of John the Baptist (v. 4); [d] John’s message to the Pharisees and Sadducees (vv. 7–10); [e] John’s message to all: Christ is coming (vv. 11–12); [f] The Baptism of Jesus (vv. 13-17). Compare – (Mark 1:2–6; Luke 3:3–6// Mark 1:7–9; Luke 3:7–9, 16-17// Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23).

Biblical Events – [Events Occurring]: Jesus’ life before ministry, (Mt 1:18–3:12)/ Life of Jesus, (Mt 1:18–19:22)/ John the Baptist appears in the wilderness, (Mt 3:1–6)/ John the Baptist preaches, (Mt 3:7–12)/ John the Baptist calls for repentance, (Mt 3:7–10)/ John the Baptist tells about the Messiah, (Mt 3:11–12)/ The Baptism of Jesus, (Mt 3:13–17).

Biblical Phrases – Prepare the way of the Lord (3:3); Flee from the coming wrath (3:7); Fruit worthy of repentance (3:8); the Ax is laid to the root of the Trees (3:10); Baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire (3:11); “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (3:17)

Issues for Further Study – John the Baptist; Repentance; Jesus’ Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy; Major Groups in Jesus’ Time;  immediately (Eutheōs, 3:16); Prophetic Commissioning and the Divine Presence; The Spirit of God (Pneuma, 3:16);

Striking Facts: Note the following twelve Amazing Facts on the Message of John the Baptist, (3:1–12):

[1] Repentance (3:2) — Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

[2] The Kingdom of Heaven (3:2). If Messiah is the King then He must have a kingdom. God’s kingdom is the theme that will occupy most of our time in this Book. The kingdom is hereby introduced to us.

[3] Beware & Prepare, — for the LORD is coming! (3:3). “make His highways straight.” Beloved, are you preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming?

[4] Flee the wrath to come (3:7). Don’t be a brood of vipers! Beloved, God’s wrath and indignation is coming against disobedience. Get right with God now before it is too late!

[5] Exhortation – ‘Bear Fruit’ (3:8). Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance – (meaning: let your life prove your change of heart; cf. “by their Fruits you shall know them!”

[6] Do not be deceived over the merits of a godly heritage (3:9). Having “Abraham for our forefather” will not save you in the day of judgment. Identifying yourself with Christians will not save you! What God is looking for is true conversion and a change of heart — “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

[7] Judgment is at hand:the ax is laid at the root of the trees” (3:10). The Jewish nation is the tree, and the Romans the axe, which, by the just judgment of God, was speedily to cut it down – (Adam Clarke).

[8] Fruit is demanded now:every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (3:10).

[9] Fire — Everyone who bears bad fruit is condemned: “cut down and thrown into the fire” (3:10) — “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19, NKJV) “And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.” (Matthew 21:19, NKJV)

[10] Repent—be baptized with water by man (3:11). This is when we confess Christ publicly and follow in His footsteps in the waters of baptism. “Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4, NKJV)

[11] Repent—be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire (3:11). This is when we are cleansed by the Spirit of God. “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”(Acts 1:5, NKJV) Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5, NKJV)

[12] The Messiah shall “gather his wheat”–  separate the wheat from the tares (3:12). This is the process of separating the righteous from the wicked. It will take place at the “end of the world” (Mt. 13:30, 39–43, 49, 50; 25:31-46).


Key Thought: [1] John’s baptism was for repentance — symbolic of washing away the old and coming up clean.​​​​​​​ Our Baptism is for identification with Christ. Romans 6:3–6 (NKJV) — 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

To follow Jesus in the waters of baptism (by immersion) is to publicly acknowledge our separation from sin, determination to bring forth fruit unto God, and consecration to His service.

[2] Bearing fruits in keeping with Repentance (Mt 3:8). “The work of reformation here brought to view by John, the purging of heart and mind and soul, is one that is needed by many who today profess to have the faith of Christ. Wrong practices that have been indulged in need to be put away; the crooked paths need to be made straight, and the rough places smooth. The mountains and hills of self-esteem and pride need to be brought low. There is need of bringing forth “fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8). When this work is done in the experience of God’s believing people, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6)” — [Ellen G. White, God’s Amazing Grace, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1973), 249].

Admonitions: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38, NKJV) “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” (Acts 17:30, NKJV)


Warm Up Questions:

  1. What is the main content of this chapter?
  2. What does the chapter say about God?
  3. Who was John the Baptist (3:1–12)
  4. Why did John the Baptist dress so strangely? (3:4)
  5. Did John preach that sins are forgiven by baptism? (3:6)
  6. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” Did John invent baptism? (3:5,11)
  7. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire? (3:11)
  8. John is saying “He who is coming after me is mightier than I.” In what ways the Coming Messiah was greater than John? (3:11b).
  9. What is “the winnowing fan” in Christ’s hand? (3:12)
  10. How can we understand the doctrine of Trinity? (3:16–17)
  11. What do you think is the main point God is making by including this chapter in the Bible? What response do you think this chapter should inspires us to do?

THE END: Welcome for Answers, Comments, or further Discussion. Feel free to use the Bible, Commentaries, etc. Blessings!

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