Today's Bible Reading: Matthew 3
Selected Biblical Text
1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him'...."
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:1-3, 13-17 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Matthew declares Jesus' identity in ways that would speak to a Jewish audience as he describes John the Baptist's preaching as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy and as he recounts the voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism, "This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased." In the early chapters of Matthew, Jesus' identity is set forth clearly: as Son of David, Savior, Immanuel (God with us), Christ (anointed, king), fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, Son of God (see also 2:15, "Out of Egypt I called my son;" and 4:3,6 in the context of the temptation), and as a human being (in the temptation of Chapter 4, see also "Son of Man" in 8:20, 9:6; 10:23, and 11:19).
On a normal day, what do you think of when you think about Jesus? How often do you think about Jesus? The descriptions we are discussing may seem technical and theological -- what practical descriptions of Jesus are most meaningful to you (friend, intercessor, etc.)? On a scale of 1 to 10, how sure are you that Jesus is the divine Son of God? What would help increase that confidence (as applicable)?
Dear God, we thank you for clearly revealing yourself in your Son. We are grateful for the clarity with which you have made him known. We are not dependent on one or two pieces of evidence to believe in Jesus and understand his identity -- you have provided us many different ways to see and know him. Help us be more confident in sharing the message of Jesus with others. We pray in Jesus' name, grateful that he provides for us also the way to approach your heavenly throne, Amen.