Today’s Passage: Matthew 3:1-12
- John the Baptist fulfills prophecies from Malachi 4:5-6 and Isaiah 40:3, he even has an appearance similar to Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), and served the Lord humbly (Matthew 3:11, John 3:30)
- This baptism was unique, not the same as Christian baptism (But similar).
- The only people who were baptized in the Old Testament would have been Gentiles who had decided to become followers of God.
- This baptism symbolized an acknowledgement of being an outsider, repenting of their sin and proclaiming faith and total dependence on God.
- The people who were getting baptized by John were Jewish people!
- The Pharisees and Sadducees had largely trusted in their Jewish heritage and stringent keeping of the Law. (Do you see the contrast here?)
- This is why John the Baptist calls for their repentance.
- This is why John the Baptist calls them a “brood of vipers” (The children of snakes).
- For the repentant, the coming of the King and His Kingdom is a time of salvation. (Jesus was coming to save his people from their sins)
- For those who would not repent, the coming of the King and His kingdom is a time of eternal judgment.
Questions to consider:
- Why did the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Jewish people need repentance? What were they placing their faith in?
- What are some ways we can still make those same mistakes today in the church? What might a child of faithful Christians believe is the reason for their salvation? What might a person who has been in church for decades begin to think their salvation is based on?
- Why does it make sense to see confession as a part of repentance? What news do you need to hear, and acknowledge, before you hear the good news?
- If the Pharisees and Sadducees already thought they were right with God, what do you think they would have expected the Messiah, or a prophet like John the Baptist, to say about them?
- What ways is John’s baptism the same as Christian baptism?
- Why would genuine repentance result in good fruit? Where might you need to repent and see a change in the fruit you are producing?