Study Notes

Matthew 3:13-4:11


Our last study of Matthew introduced us to John the Baptist. He was the one prophesied in Isaiah as the one crying in the wilderness, telling people to make ready the way of the Lord in their hearts. He preached repentance from sin, and thousands of people were coming out to hear him. As they were convicted of their sin, they would come down to be baptized by John as they confessed their sins.

3:13-14 Jesus Coming For Baptism

In the midst of the crowds being baptized by John, Jesus shows up. Now remember, Jesus has not yet begun His public ministry. He is virtually unknown to anyone but the people in His hometown. And yet when He came to the Jordan to be baptized, John's attitude completely changes. He has been pointing out everyone's sin, and challenging them, commanding them, to repent.

But now, as Jesus is standing in front of John, John tells him, "I shouldn't be baptizing You. You should be baptizing me!"

You see, John's baptism was a baptism of repentance, for people who were turning away from sin in their lives. But Jesus hadn't sinned - not at all (2Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1Pet .2:21-22; 1John 3:5). Certainly, He had no reason to be baptized. John thought that Jesus should be baptizing him!

3:15 Baptized By John

Jesus said something that convinced John to allow the baptism:

Matt. 3:15 " this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness..."

What does that mean? It means that if Jesus wasn't baptized, all righteousness would not be fulfilled. Which part of righteousness? There are several possibilities.

The two most likely candidates for explanation are: 1) Jesus was baptized to fulfill the righteousness of those who believed but were not baptized. Or,that when Jesus began His public ministry, He would be open to accusation by everyone. "Well, WE were baptized by John in the Jordan. Why weren't YOU?"

3:16-17 After Being Baptized

Matthew and Mark both describe Jesus as coming up out of the waters of baptism "immediately" (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10). It is probable that his baptism was quick compared to everyone else's because He had no sins to confess as the others did.

As Jesus came up out of the water, something supernatural happened: the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. And God the Father spoke from heaven,

Matt. 3:17 ..."This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."

4:1 Led By The Spirit Into The Wilderness

Right after His baptism, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness for a time of temptation and testing by the devil.

This is something I'd like to focus your attention on this morning. Many times in our lives, we find ourselves in wilderness experiences. Times when life is so incredibly difficult, we can't imagine going on one more step.

And we often don't understand what we've done to upset God, that He is punishing us in this way.

But I want you to notice this. The Father said,

Matt. 3:17-4:1 ..."This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

The season in the wilderness did not start because Jesus upset God. It was quite the opposite. The Father was well-pleased in Him, and it was the Holy Spirit Who led Him into the wilderness for this testing.

Saints, I want you to remember this the next time your life seems to take a horrible turn for the worse. Because if you remember that God is your friend, and not your executioner, then you will remember to deal with the tests and temptations the way you're supposed to. How do you deal with them? Jesus is about to give us the perfect lesson in dealing with them.

4:2-10 Three Temptations

Jesus was alone and hungry. He seemed defenseless when the devil came to Him with three temptations. But He was not defenseless. He was packing a massive broadsword, the Word of God (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12).

Every time the devil attacked with a temptation, Jesus quoted the Word of God to deflect the attack.

The devil said, "You're hungry, so turn these stones into bread." Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3.

The devil said, "Jump off this high place to prove that God will protect You." Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16.

The devil said, "Take the easy way out, and I'll give you the world." Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13.

Saints, the Word of God is your offensive weapon against the devil. God has given it to us to wage war against tests and temptations.

4:11 Angels Ministering To Him

The end result of Jesus' successful battle was twofold. First, the devil left Him. This is how we are to obey James' command:

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Secondly, after the devil left angels came and ministered to Him.

You might think, "Well, Jesus was special, so He was ministered to by angels. But I'm a nobody. What makes you think that I would ever qualify to be ministered to by angels?

Well, the writer of Hebrews says that angels are...

Heb. 1:14 ...all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation

Are you going to inherit salvation? If so, then angels will render service to you.

How can you know that you will inherit salvation? The Bible says,

Rom. 10:9-11 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

Maybe life has offered you a lot of disappointments. Jesus never will. He died to pay the price of your sin, and then rose from the dead, alive today. If you believe Him and tell others of your belief, you will inherit salvation.

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