|understand your bible|
This 5-day devotional study on Matthew 3 looks into a not-so typical day in the life and ministry of John the Baptist.
Bible Reading: Matthew 3:1-2
- To “repent” is to change one’s mind & purpose; indicating one’s complete change of attitude towards God. Primarily, it means to turn to God, which means a change of mind and attitude towards everything that has been a hindrance (sin) towards a relationship with God.
- This prerequisite to the Kingdom was contrary to popular Jewish belief that because they were all children of Abraham, they automatically would enter the Kingdom.
- As John prepares the way for Christ, he destroys the Jewish belief of national salvation due to their race.
- Today, many people believe in universal brotherhood & salvation. The passage clearly shows that even the Jews needed to change their thinking (eventually about Christ) for them to have access to the Kingdom.
- All the more that we see the necessity to show people the only way to heaven.
Bible Reading: Matthew 3:3-6
- John preached a very strong message. It was not made to sound good or acceptable in the ears of many, it was a plain serious rebuke… and people responded.
- Today, preachers do everything to water down the message of God’s Word. They do everything to tickle the ears of their audience and allow them to hear what they want to hear so that they would keep coming back.
- The Bible is God’s Word and its truths will always be hurtful to those who insist on living life as they please.
- As we preach the Word, we should leave the convicting part to the Holy Spirit and allow the plain sense of Scriptures to be heard, without the fear of how people will respond.
Bible Reading: Matthew 3:7-10
- As John warns of judgment, he corrects their wrong notion of automatic salvation for Jews (just because they were descendants of Abraham).
- Genuine repentance manifests fruits that are in keeping with faith in Christ. John wanted them to make sure that they have truly placed their faith in Christ and not in anything else.
- Today, we have many who think that their being a part of a group or a member of a religion/ church secures them a place in heaven; much like how these Jews believed their security as children of Abraham. Christ clarifies it later on in His ministry that He is the only way to heaven.
Bible Reading: Matthew 3:11-12
Marked: vs.11b, 12
- To the Jews, removing another person’s sandal was very demeaning. John was literally saying he was unworthy of doing even the most humiliating service for Jesus.
- John warns of the coming judgment where the Lord will separate the believers (for preservation, and into the kingdom), from the unbelievers (for punishment in everlasting fire).
- Serving God is a great honor and an undeserved opportunity.
- We were chosen and equipped specifically for the tasks we are to do. Many times we take it for granted and treat it like God owes us, or like He is the one who needs us.
- Like John, we are unworthy of even the most humiliating service. That’s why it is a great honor given to us by grace.
- We are reminded here again of the Lord’s preservation of His own… that our labors will never be in vain for much await us in the coming Kingdom.
Bible Reading: Matthew 3:13-17
- John objected to him baptizing Christ, feeling that he was unworthy; and feeling that it was Christ who should baptize him instead.
- John felt so, because he knows that his baptism for repentance wasn’t applicable to Christ, for He was sinless.
- Christ’s baptism was important because (1) He identified Himself with sinners, and (2) He was introduced publicly as the Messiah.
- Like John, sometimes we are told to do things we feel we are unworthy to do, or we feel doesn’t make sense. But if it is God’s task for us, in due time its importance will be manifested.
More on Matthew:
Matthew 1 on Lessons from Messiah's Family Tree