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The Inauguration - Questions & Guide (Week 2)

Below is a selection from this week's Growth Group questions from Matthew 3:13-17 with some additional helps. If you enjoy this, please get connected into a Growth Group so you can share your thoughts, hear from others and apply God's Word into each others' lives.

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Read Matthew 3:13-15

1. How does Jesus answer John’s question? How would you put His answer into your own words?

  • Jesus answers John by saying, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” 

NOTE ON “FULLFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS”: This is a particularly tricky phrase to understand. “Righteousness” in this case, is probably not talking about the moral quality, but rather should be understood as the whole purpose of God for His people. That is to say that Jesus needed to submit himself to the baptism of repentance, not because he was sinful, but because he was “getting on the same level” as sinners and accomplishing all that they were supposed to accomplish.

  • In your own words (some examples):
    • I know you don’t understand, but let’s go ahead and do it to fulfill God’s purposes.
    • Let’s do this now, because God wants me to.
    • John – this is part of God’s plan for me to save sinners by doing everything God wants me to do.

2. Why would Jesus use baptism to identify Himself with sinners? What if someone got the wrong impression about Jesus?

  • Jesus could have stood with John calling on sinners to repent, but instead he went down into the water to show his solidarity with them. He made himself one of them as part of his process that would eventually lead to his taking on their sin so He could save them.
  • I don’t think Jesus (or John!) was very concerned about impressions or pleasing the expectations of the masses. This wouldn’t be the last time that he was seen as a “friend of sinners.” (See Luke 7:31-34)

QUOTES:

“…the purpose of His Advent and Ministry will never be fulfilled unless He identifies Himself with those He came to rescue” – Coggan

 “in being baptized, the Messiah, God’s Son, shows his solidarity with mankind whom he came to save, a sinner (by imputation) among sinners. But, at the same time, as God’s agent for salvation, he brings it about that people have the righteousness God demands of them, but which they themselves could not produce or effect for themselves.” - Hamann

Read Matthew 3:16-17

3. How would you explain to an unbeliever the stark contrast present in Jesus’ baptism? How does this event set a pattern for what we should expect from the rest of Jesus’ ministry? See also: Philippians 2:8

  • The contrast that this question is referring to is Jesus identifying with sinners through a baptism that also highlights his deity (as Son of God) and his rescue mission as the anointed Messiah. To explain this to an unbeliever you might need to find other common language:
    • When Jesus was baptized he was showing us that He was willing to get on our level, but at the same time God was showing that Jesus is someone altogether different – and we need Jesus to be exactly both – Holy God who was willing to be the friend of sinners.
  • Jesus regularly makes a pattern in his ministry of seeking out the lost, the sinner, the sick. He eats with sinners and stands up for prostitutes. He lowers himself, in humility, as part of his plan to be the Savior who takes away their sin and lifts them up. (See Matthew 9:12)

QUOTE:

“Here is God with us. ‘Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient even unto’ – Baptism, that symbol of death without which there can be no Resurrection-life.” – Coggan

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