Matthew 3: The Trailblazer (6)
Pray Psalm 85.7-9.
Show us Your mercy, LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.
I will hear what God the LORD will speak,
For He will speak peace
To His people and to His saints;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Sing joyfully Psalm 85.7-9.
(Lyons: O Worship the King)
Lord, show us Your love; restore us, we pray!
And help us to hear the words that You say.
Speak peace to Your people; in truth let us stand.
We fear You; let glory and grace fill our land.
Read Matthew 3.1-17; meditate on verses 16, 17.
1. To what did Jesus emerge from His baptism?
2. What did God say concerning Him?
When Israel came through the waters of the Jordan, her fight had just begun. Securing the promised land would take many long years of battle. Only then would the people know God’s rest (Josh. 21.43-45). Yet even then, that rest would be fragile and fleeting (Heb. 4.8-10).
By contrast, when Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan, heaven opened to Him; the Spirit of God alighted on Him “like a dove”; and God declared His pleasure in His Son. It was as if He had already accomplished His great work, had already been anointed as King, had already fulfilled His mission, and was already putting His enemies under His feet. The reference to Psalm 2 is unmistakable; and the pleasure of God – that Jesus should accomplish the redemption of His people and the saving of the world – was as if it were already a done deal.
Much work remained to be done, of course. But the Word from heaven assures us that, whatever Jesus would have to face in the days ahead, He is God’s Son, and God is pleased with Him.
We can know the same assurance (Jn. 1.12). We are the children of God through faith in Jesus. He is well pleased with us, because we are in Jesus, and already the heavens have been opened to us. But there is much work to do, and there will be many struggles before we obtain all that God has promised and Jesus has secured for us. We look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, to help us run our race (Heb. 12.1-3). The Spirit that descended on Him dwells in us, and He will see us safely through every challenge and struggle to our home in heaven, where Jesus already reigns, and is even now preparing a place for us.
1. This passage gives some insight to the work of the three Persons of the Trinity. Explain.
2. What is the significance of Jesus’ seeing the heavens opened to Him? How would this have sustained Him through His ministry? Why does this matter for us?
3. How can we take courage from the Father’s pronouncement about His Son?
Here then we have the Trinity presented in a clear way: the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Spirit in the dove. This only needs to be barely mentioned, for it is so obvious for anyone to see. Here the recognition of the Trinity is conveyed to us so plainly that it hardly leaves any room for doubt or hesitation…This ineffable Divinity, abiding ever in itself, making all things new, creating, creating anew, sending, recalling, judging, delivering, this Trinity, I say, we know to be at once indescribable and inseparable. Augustine (354-430), Sermon 2.1-2
Jesus, You have gone before me into heaven; go before me into this day, so that I…
Pray Psalm 85.10-13.
Mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace have all come together in Jesus! Praise the Lord for sending His Son for our salvation, and ask Him to bring His goodness to light in all your words and deeds today.
Sing Psalm 85.10-13.
Psalm 85.10-13 (Lyons: O Worship the King)
In Jesus God’s grace and truth are combined;
both goodness and peace in Him do we find.
Truth springs from the earth as He walks in our midst,
and righteousness flows from the heav’ns as a gift.
The Lord by His grace will give what is good.
Our land will produce abundance of food.
And righteousness will go before the Lord’s face,
and make of His footsteps a way in this place.
T. M. Moore
The Gospel of Matthew will help us grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Two companion books can supplement our study of Matthew. To Know Him examines what it means to belong to Jesus and to love and serve Him (click here), while Be Thou My Vision enables us to gain an even larger perspective on Jesus (click here).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).