The Baptism of Jesus
- When Jesus gives the reason for his baptism, He says its was “to fulfill all righteousness”. In the sermon, what explanation was given for the meaning of this statement? And, why was it important for Jesus to be baptized? (Leaders: Note that Jesus came as the representative King of Israel. He would succeed where Israel had failed – we’ll see more of this in chapter 4).
- From what the text (and scholars) indicates, Jesus was fully immersed in the Jordan River before rising up out of the water. Today we still conduct “full immersion” baptisms at Veritas. What is the significance of being fully immersed in baptism?
- Ask if anyone has a baptism story they’d like to share – was anyone here baptized at Veritas? Was anyone baptized as an adult – what led to that decision?
- In verses 16 and 17 the two other members of the Trinity make an appearance. Discuss what this must have meant for the ministry of Jesus (Leaders: It must have authenticated both John and Jesus’ ministry and shown people that Jesus was truly the Messiah).
- In verse 16 we read of the Holy Spirit “descending like a dove and coming to rest on him (Jesus)”. Whether or not this was an actual bird, can you think of another time a dove was significant in the Biblical narrative? Generally speaking, how have we come to think of what a dove symbolizes?
- Matthew finishes his account of Jesus’ baptism by relating the stunning occurrence of an audible voice coming from the sky – the voice of God the Father proclaiming that Jesus is His “beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” If you were there, what thoughts would have been running through your mind at this proclamation?
- As followers of Christ, we have been adopted by the Father, Christ sharing with us His great inheritance. Therefore what does it mean for us that God was “well pleased” with Jesus? (Leaders: Because the Father was “well pleased” with Jesus, we too have the Father’s favor, not by our own work, but by righteousness of Jesus. This means that not only have our sins been forgiven, but that God’s favor and joy rests upon us as adopted sons and daughters.)