07 January 2015

River

The introduction of John the Baptist

Click here to read Matthew 3

Discussion questions

This short chapter includes the introduction of John the Baptist

  • Do you think it is possible to be forgiven if there is no repentance?
  • Jesus was baptised by John, but John’s baptism was for repentance.
  • Do you think Jesus needed forgiveness or that his baptism was for other reasons?

Share your thoughts below, or tweet with the hashtag #boundlessbible.

Going Deeper - From 'Words Of Life' 

We travelled into the country of Jordan today, going to Bethany Beyond Jordan or, as John’s Gospel puts it, ‘Bethany on the other side of the Jordan’ (1:28). This is not the same Bethany where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived. It’s on the east  side of the River Jordan.

This river now divides the countries of Israel and Jordan. In the time of Jesus, the River Jordan was roughly half a kilometre wide. Now, it’s not wide at all. It’s the same area where Elijah ministered, and where Elisha asked for a double portion of his mentor’s spirit: ‘Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan’ (2 Kings 2:7). Soon after, Elijah was taken up to Heaven in a whirlwind (v 11).

Wilderness (courtesy of FreeBibleImages.com)Hundreds of years later we read that John the Baptist lived in this area – a very rugged, dry terrain. It wasn’t heavily populated then, nor is it now. We stood today where people gathered to be baptised by John. He was careful to tell them that One greater was soon to come, who’d baptise not with water but with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus came one day. To the same area where I stood. As soon as he was baptised by John, Heaven opened. The Spirit descended upon him. And God spoke: ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17).

The Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Undivided in essence. The inauguration of Jesus’ public ministry. Anointed by the Spirit. Bernice King, the daughter of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, was a speaker at The Salvation Army’s International Congress held in 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia, at which she said: ‘It’s not about the appointment, but rather the anointment !’ We’re God’s anointed – to go forth and minister in his name.

As I put my hand into this same River Jordan today, I prayed for a fresh anointing of God’s Spirit. Perhaps you wish to pray likewise.

Beverly Ivany
'Wilderness' courtesy of freebibleimages.com

Tags: Matthew