My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Matthew 3

John the Baptist and baptism

Summary:
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus, preaching repentance before God's dominion came. He baptised people and wore camel skin and ate locusts. He judged the Pharisees and Sadducees for being arrogant and relying on their ancestry for salvation. God can turn stones into children of Abraham!

John proclaimed that he baptised with water, but the Messiah would baptise with fire. John reluctantly baptised Jesus, and the Spirit came down on him like a dove and God stated his approval.

Key verse:
9. I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

My thoughts:
A cool idea at the beginning of the New Testament. In many senses the Jews were proud of their ancestry, and truly God had great honour for Abraham and his descendants. But in God's eyes, being a descendant of Abraham is nothing to do with lineage and family trees. All true worshipers of God are sons of Abraham. Even stones!

So Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit.

So Jesus' baptism is interesting. Some Gnostics believed that the 'Christ' came upon Jesus at the baptism and left him before he was crucified. It probably was a significant moment of self-realisation for Jesus. Interesting differences in the gospel stories of baptism are John's response to seeing Jesus, and who sees the manifestations of the Spirit and hears God's voice. John seems much more amorous of Jesus in some supposedly later passages, and sometimes the signs are publicly visible, other times not. Here it appears that only John sees them.

Anywho... Here we have all three parts of the trinity. Jesus, the Spirit, and the Father, all in one setting. This can't work in modalism, where God is like water that swaps between three forms (steam, water, ice).

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