A Few Thoughts From: Matthew 3

With John’s preaching of repentance there was a proclamation of God’s kingdom being at hand (near). How near was God’s kingdom? John does not tell us, but with Jesus’ coming and His demonstration by signs, it was that near (cf. John 5:31-40). It was a kingdom that demanded repentance; repentance is a change of thinking that leads to a change in life. It does not matter that one’s behavior does not change all that much (for some this is the case); the lifestyle change may not be all that drastic, but just the same, there is a new foundation from which his thinking process begins. For others the change in life is so much that people on the outside believe they are looking at a person they never knew. Jesus requires all to repent (Acts 17:30-31), so when John muted those who might have thought of lineage as being adequate for entry into God’s kingdom, he did so with illustrative force (3:9-10).
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Have you wondered about why Jesus was baptized by John? The answer is readily given by Jesus – to fulfill all righteousness (3:15). Yet, in one’s thinking, there just seems to be something odd about the Son of God, one who had no sins (Hebrews 4:15), that he would need to be baptized unto repentance for the remission of sins. John demanded fruits worthy of repentance, but Jesus did not need to repent. John’s baptism of “unto repentance” was for (with a view to) the remission of sin, but for what sins did Jesus need to be forgiven? In Jesus’ coming to John He did at least two things: 1) He attested to John’s baptism as being from God (Luke 7:29-30), 2) He associated Himself with man, and, if we might add another reason, 3) It was the start of His public ministry to the nation of Israel.

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