The Baptism of Jesus

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Reading the Word

John 1:29–34 (ESV)

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22

Understanding and Applying the Word

As John the Baptist fulfills his role as the one who would prepare the way for the coming Messiah, Jesus shows up to be baptized by John. John tells us that when he baptized Jesus, he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus and remain on him. God had previously revealed to John that this would be a sign of who was the chosen one of God. In the parallel texts, a voice from heaven calls out, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” So John now bears witness that Jesus is the Son of God.

As Jesus approaches, John refers to him as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” This is an amazing statement that connects Jesus to the Old Testament Passover. When God brought the people out of Egypt, he commanded that the people slaughter a lamb and put its blood on their doorposts. When they did this, they would be safe from the angel that had been sent to kill the firstborn of every family. The blood of the lamb would protect them from the judgment of God. As the Lamb of God, Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). When we trust in him, his blood is applied to us and protects us from God’s judgment on the world for sin. He takes away our sin and gives us life through his sacrifice for us. What a great Savior!

**Read through the Life of Christ in 2019 by following along with Shaped by the Word. Just subscribe to this page and be sure to read along every day!

The Fruit of Repentance

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Reading the Word

Matthew 3:7–10 (ESV)

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Parallel Text: Luke 3:7-9

Understanding and Applying the Word

John the Baptist’s ministry was focused on calling people to repentance. When the Pharisees and Sudducees show up, he has harsh words for them. He calls them a “brood of vipers.” And warns them to bear fruit consistent with repentance. The Pharisees and Sudducees prided themselves in their ability to keep the Mosaic Law and follow religious rules. For this reason, they would have felt little need to repent. In their minds, they had done nothing wrong! They also would have thought, “We are biological descendants of Abraham. We are fine with God!” However, John warns them that being the physical descendants of Abraham will not be enough.

John’s warning to these two groups to bear fruit in keeping with repentance tells us that God is looking for more than external religious activity. He is looking for sincerity of heart. True repentance may be symbolized through baptism, but it is only real if there is a heart change. And when there is a heart change, it is reflected in how we live.

The gospel calls us to repent and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. When we do that we are saved. Have you done that? Does your life reflect it? If not, take the time right now to repent and call on the Lord. He is faithful and gracious to all who will turn to him.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts in 2019.