The Baptism of Jesus

Notes From Pastor Kevin Stowe

Matthew 3:13-17

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

  • In this verse 13 it is important to realized that Jesus was not coerced to come to John to be baptized, but rather He came on His own.
  • Mark 1:9 tells us that Jesus had come from Nazareth of Galilee.
  • This is a distance of about 70 miles from Galilee to where John was baptizing near Jerusalem.

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.

  • John recognized Jesus as the Messiah and as such he was aware of his own sinfulness and knew his need to be baptized by Jesus rather than to be the one to baptize the Messiah.
  • However, Jesus insisted that rather than he baptize John that John must baptize Him.
  • The fulfilling of the righteousness was perhaps the beginning of the fulfillment that John was preaching concerning the message of repentance as the “Kingdom of Heaven” is at hand.  In the case literally at hand as he baptized Jesus.
  • This event set into motion the pubic ministry of Jesus.
  • Jesus had no need to repent and be baptized, however John was the forerunner of the Messiah and was proclaiming the message that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.
  • In Matthew 3:3 we see the OT reference of what John is fulfilling in this text from Isaiah 40:3 – A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
  • It is Jesus that John is preparing the way for and as such, Jesus comes to the modern Elijah who is calling Israel to repentance.
  • The message of repentance calls for a conscious decision to stop living in sin and self-centered living and follow the scriptural way of living a God-centered life.
  • Here we find the sinless God-Man Jesus who has not need for repentance, willing to show others the way through humble obedience and a willingness to completely align Himself with fallen humanity and have John baptize Him.
  • Considering the “fulfillment of righteousness” phrase that Jesus spoke Gary Burge says, “God’s saving activity prophesied throughout the Old Testament is now being fulfilled with the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry, culminating in his death on the cross.”
  • Simply put, Jesus is the completion and the absolute fulfillment of the thread of salvation that runs the length of the OT.
  • I love what Leon Morris says, “Jesus might well have been up there in front standing with John and calling on sinners to repent. Instead he was down there with the sinners, affirming his solidarity with them, making himself one with them in the process of the salvation that he would in due course accomplish.”
  • 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.”
  • When Jesus came out of the water the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus.
  • This act is the fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1 – “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
    My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him;
  • Jesus is full of the Spirit and the baptism the filling of the Spirit and God speaking and confirming the prophesy of Isaiah is the inauguration and anointing of Jesus for His ministry.
  • Jesus is the one who fills, and was filled.
  • If Jesus the God-Man needed the power of the Holy Spirit you can only imagine what you and I need to survive in this sin filled world.

The Temptation of Jesus

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

  • Here we are given a glimpse into the temptation of Jesus.  He is being tempted in this passage by the hunger that he feels after not having any food for 40 days.  The enemy is coming to Jesus and tempts Him to use His “God” power to turn a rock into a piece of bread. 
  • None of us in this room has the ability to turn a rock into sourdough, so in this instance Jesus refrained from the temptation and answered by using the scriptures.
  • His quote comes from Deuteronomy 8:3 – He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
  • The Israelites were given the miracle of manna and still they grumbled and complained at a daily miracle of provision of food.
  • Jesus refused to perform a miracle for Satan and instead used an example of a miracle that the people rejected and pointed that the true food is the Word of God.

Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command His angels concerning You’;


‘On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” (Psalm 91:11-12)

Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

  • Just like with you and I when tempted the Devil doesn’t stop even knowing who he is standing in front of.
  • Jesus is quoting a portion of Deuteronomy 6:16 – “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.
  • Massah simply means test.
  • It was here that Israel became angry because God had brought them to a place with no water. 
  • They had witnessed the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea and manna and yet here was angry not able to believe God for the provision of water.
  • Moses is teaching the Israelites how to live and obey God and he tells them to, “not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.”
  • Jesus is telling the enemy I don’t have to test God to know that He is His keeper and provider. 
  • In simple terms trust God and don’t put Him to the test, He has, is and will always provide for His own.

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

  • Here we see Jesus quote Deuteronomy 6:13 – “It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve”
  • Here we may see a bit of a glimpse into who Satan is and his real desire and that is to be worshipped. 
  • He would like to deter us from our time with God and our worship with God as he wants the glory in our life rather than the glory that is due to our Heavenly Father.
  • Jesus is done and rebukes Satan and again retreats to the scriptures for authority.
  • He has been tempted with using His God power to make bread from a stone, then he tempted with trying to get Jesus to test God, and finally he tries to get Jesus to deny God by switching His worship to Satan for a kingdom of stone instead of a kingdom of the Spirit. 

Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

  • Jesus has been baptized John.
  • He has been filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • God has spoken that Jesus is His Son and that He is pleased with Him.
  • He retreats to the desert for 40 days of fasting followed by His time of temptation.
  • He now moves back to the area of Galilee and begins His ministry that follows the pattern that John had established. 
  • Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

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