Read: Matthew Chapter 3:13-17 and your notes from Sunday morning’s sermon.
Intro: This week we are picking up where we left off in Chapter 3. This is where Jesus finally comes on the scene. Jesus comes to John for a specific purpose: to be baptised by him. John of course objects. John recognizes that he is the sinful one, not Jesus. After all, baptism was for sinners, not for someone who needed no repentance. Even though Jesus was no sinner, he was there with the sinners being baptised. What a beautiful image. Then, we see that God speaks and is so pleased with his son. This is the start of Jesus’ ministry and the perfect way to begin. We know that God has approved this and has encouraged Jesus as he begins his ministry.
- Why do you think Jesus chose to be baptized even though he wasn’t a sinner?
2. There is a lot of obedience modeled in this scripture by both Jesus and John. How are each of them practicing obedience?
3. What is the purpose of baptism today? Read romans 6:1-4 and discuss.
Feel free to discuss or ask additional questions as they arise
Spiritual Practice: We are continuing are spiritual practice of Meditation. Last week we talked about finding that time and place during your week or your day that you could even make room for christian meditation. You should have an idea of where and when you might be able to do this. For me, it would be on my back porch surrounded by nature in the early morning before my kids wake up and before my phone starts dinging with messages and distractions. I would leave my phone inside and head outdoors where I can both have peace and quiet, and be surrounded and inspired by God’s creation. So what do we do with that time when we create the space for it? The main focus of meditation will always be scripture. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.” When we meditate over scripture we should not be hurried. We should let the words take root in us. You may even meditate on the same few verses for a couple of days in a row. Place yourself into the story and truly experience it and imagine what it would be like to be there. For example, you might imagine what it would be like to be John in the scripture above, and then imagine how Jesus would have felt when being baptized, and how the crowd of onlookers would have been amazed.
This week practice meditation at least once or twice if not more if possible. Do not be discouraged. Our culture does not encourage us to do things slowly and contemplatively, so this may feel unnatural at first. We live in a world of hurry, stress, and chaos. Meditation is also a discipline that has no exact recipe or steps so you mat change your surroundings or time as you practice. Still, do this in faithful expectation. Be open to whatever God is trying to teach you or speak to you. Come to group next week ready to share your experience meditating.
Closing verse: Psalm 119:97-102 “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.”