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Daily Bible Reading (Wednesday, January 3rd)


Matthew 3 (ESV)


John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[a] For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare[b] the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[c] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[d] with whom I am well pleased.”


  1. Matthew 3:2 Or the kingdom of heaven has come near
  2. Matthew 3:3 Or crying: Prepare in the wilderness
  3. Matthew 3:16 Some manuscripts omit to him
  4. Matthew 3:17 Or my Son, my (or theBeloved


I used to be pretty confused about where this whole baptism thing came from, I read in MacArthur's notes that baptism was practiced by the Jews to bring gentiles into their people. It was a confession of sin and a commitment to the law.

So Jews then being baptized for the forgiveness of sins was a confession that they had lived like gentiles and a commitment to repentance. (Correct me if this isn't a good representation)

That in mind makes me pause at Jesus words regarding His baptism: "to fulfill all righteousness". It seems to me that the fulfilling of righteousness requires a confession of unrighteousness. (Not Jesus' unrighteousness, but His people's unrighteousness.)

Jesus confessed our unrighteousness, lived a perfectly righteous life and died to be our penal substitute before God.

Fulfilling all righteousness.

In summary, I find it neat that the fulfilling of all righteousness starts with a confession of unrighteousness.

I love that this passage reminds us that the first thing we must do is REPENT and that it is not just a one time deal yet a continuous lifestyle that bares fruit.

On Day 1, Dawn asked a question about the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus which is addressed in this chapter. Does anyone have a simple explanation of this? I assumed Jesus was born with the Holy Spirit (because He is God). In this passage is the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus a sign to all those that were watching? Kind of like a marker for the beginning of His ministry?

Verse 9 is a sobering reminder that we cannot trust in a spiritual heritage. Each individual must repent and see his need for salvation. Praying for our youth, that they would not trust in being a 'good kid', but trust in Jesus Christ as the Savior they need as much as anybody else.

Martha: Jesus was still speaking to the Pharisees at that point, so the immediate context of being baptized with fire would be the judgement by fire of the fruitless trees and the chaff (i.e. the fruitless religious people). My understanding would be that people would either be baptized with the fire of judgment, or in contrast with water and the Holy Spirit, but not both. Works will be judged for sure, but persons seem to be in view in this passage.

Summary: The coming kingdom of Jesus will establish righteousness with imminent judgment for fruitless, unrighteous descendants of Abraham and the gathering of the fruitful who are baptised with repentance. Jesus, the beloved son of God, fulfills all righteousness in his own baptism.

My post from Jan 1 never seemed to show up, but in that I had planned to make a brief summary of the main theme of each chapter this year. I hope it will help to in remembering where to find different topics or events in the New Testament, as well as to think through why these words were included--what the author was getting at.

Johns intensity and urgency define his ministry. Jason referenced verse 8 which stands out and forces me to reflect on my daily walk.

I pray this for my boys to turn and repent! I c the Lord working in them praise God! Never give up! The day of the Lord is near! Maranatha!!

I pray this for my boys to turn and repent! I c the Lord working in them praise God! Never give up! The day of the Lord is near! Maranatha!!

John's message of repentance and the faithful presentation of the same by pastor Blakey each week reminds me that repentance is not a one time thing. I need to repent every single day. The pride of the Pharisees and saducees kept them from seeing their sin. I must stay humble and see my need for my savior. I need Him every single day.

AMEN and AMEN. Well said. Keeping a repenting heart is so important. I keep this in mind daily that I will be before a Holy God, some day, guaranteed.
Also, God is well pleased with his beloved Son. Gods answer to our sin problem from Gen. 3 till Revelations.

John's simple message was to repent. It involves humility and sorrow of sin before a holy God. This isn't a superficial thing, as true repentance shows a change of thinking, conduct in life and desire. And a byproduct of this is fruit in one's life. May we humble ourselves daily and acknowledge our sins, giving our whole self- mind, will and emotions- to Him.

Does baptized with fire refer to the chaff being burned with unquenchable fire, or to the purification of the saints?

On the comments thus far: Amen! Father, please give Believers Fellowship the heart of daily repentance and that we would bear fruit in keeping with that repentance. Give us the boldness to evaluate the fruit of our brothers and sisters after we have done so with our own so that no one in our fellowship would be burned like chaff by your unquenchable fire.

Every time I read this chapter I am amazed at John’s faithfulness in spreading the message of salvation. We must share the good news as well; it is faith in our Lord that saves!

"Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume...". This applies to us today as much as it did the the Pharisees and Saducees that John was speaking to in this chapter. Pray that we will all evaluate our fruit and the fruit of our brothers and sisters in Christ and encourage and exhort each other to bear good fruit.

What a joy it is to feast on God's Word with the family of BF. I am encouraged in the chapter today by the faithfulness and boldness of John the Baptist. John preached repentance and called on people to live consistent with true repentance. That is the same message we need to proclaim today. I am praying that the Lord will help us even today to call people to repent and to turn to Jesus Christ. And we can do so knowing that it is God's testimony concerning Christ that, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

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