March 10 – The Gospel of Matthew – Chapter 3

Read Matthew 3:1-17

Matthew 3 has much to consider, much more than we can cover in this short devotional. So, my goal will be to hit some highpoints and hopefully give you, the reader, something to think about.

Chapter 3 starts by talking about John, his message and that he is a fulfillment of prophesy. John is encouraging all to repent, to turn from the way they have been living and to live the way God would have us live. He, then, is baptizing those who repent, as an outward expression of the change inside.

We also get an idea of where he is at – basically the middle of nowhere-  and yet people are coming from all over. His appearance is very different from what the people are used to seeing when it comes to religious leaders. And speaking of religious leaders, we are told that the Pharisees and Sadducees have come to see what is happening. It would appear, based on John’s response, that they aren’t interested in repentance or baptism and probably don’t think they need it because they are trusting in their lineage and “good works”. In verses 9 and 10 John is clear that what they are trusting in doesn’t produce the life and relationships that God wants for us.

Next, John lets the people know that his baptism is just a start and he is more interested in pointing them to the one who is coming – Jesus. When Jesus does come to John to be baptized, John is hesitant because he knows that Jesus is much greater than he and he doesn’t feel it’s appropriate for the lesser to baptize the greater.

Jesus insists and John obeys.

I just love what we see in verses 16 and 17. To me, this is such an incredible picture of the Trinity. Jesus the Son is clearly there, the Holy Spirit comes down on Him, and God the Father speaks about the Son (Jesus). It would have been so amazing to be there to see and hear this happening.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So, in summary, I want to challenge us to think about how we are living and who we are more like. Do I feel that God accepts me based on what I do or don’t do, like the religious leaders? Or, am I like the people who were being baptized, knowing that they needed forgiveness and trusting in God for their righteousness? Another way to think about righteousness is how God sees me. If I’m trusting in Jesus for forgiveness, then, when God sees me, He sees the righteousness of Jesus – perfect and without sin.

I pray that we will all see our need for forgiveness and trust in God to take care of it.

Mike Molter

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