Sunday, January 21, 2024

Matthew 3:1-12

Starting Out:

  1. Have you ever misjudged a person based on their appearance? 

Read Matthew 3:1-3:

  1. What does it mean to repent? Does repentance mean the same thing to us as it did to John the Baptist’s audience?

  2. What is the kingdom of heaven? How would you explain the kingdom of heaven to someone who has never heard of it?

  3. Why do you think it was necessary for John the Baptist to precede Jesus in his ministry?

Read Matthew 3:4-10:

  1. Why are baptism and confession of sin linked together in verse 6?

  2. John does not mince words addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees. How is his message to them emblematic of interactions Jesus and his followers would have with Jewish religious leaders elsewhere in the New testament? 

  3. Do you think John really cares about the fate of the Pharisees and Sadducees, or is his warning to them more for the benefit of others?

Read Matthew 3:11-12:

  1. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?

  2. What does it mean to be baptized with fire?

  3. John prophesies that Jesus’s ministry will result in sorting/separating. What does this mean, and is it something to celebrate or something to mourn?

Taking it Home:

  1. People’s hearts were made soft for the arrival of Messiah Jesus through John’s baptism of repentance. What does a properly repentant heart look like for followers of Jesus today?

  2. The Pharisees and Sadducees depended on their knowledge of and zeal for the law as well as their spiritual birthright to be right with God, but John told them that wasn’t good enough to be a part of the kingdom of heaven. How can followers of Jesus come to resemble Pharisees and Sadducees?  What excuses might such Christians give to justify their attitudes and behavior?

  3. John made paths straight for the coming Messiah. How might we make paths straight for people to find Jesus?

Other Scriptures to engage with this week:

Acts 3, Isaiah 40:1-5, Matthew 13:36-43