Baptism of Jesus

Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
9 Jan 2011
Bible Base: 
Matthew 3:1-17

Read Matthew 3:1-17
1)      John the Baptist urged the people to ‘repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand’ (v 2). What does the phrase ‘the kingdom of God’ mean for you?
2)      Synagogue worship of Jesus’ day ended with the prayer “ May God let his kingship rule in your lifetime and in your days and in the whole lifetime of the house of Israel, speedily and soon”.[1]   How would you hope for that prayer to be fulfilled this year (a) in your own life (b) the life of St John’s (c) in the life of our nation and world?
3)      What priorities might need to change in our lives for the prayer in 2) to be fulfilled? (In other words, where might we need to repent?)
4)      Jesus baptism was the ‘go’ of ‘on your marks, get set, go’. How do you think he had been preparing for this moment?
5)      The voice of God says to Jesus and the onlookers “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Did Jesus need to hear those words? If you think he did, say why. If he didn’t, why did God say them anyway?
6)      The words in 5) have echoes of passages from the Old Testament. Have a look at (a) Psalm 2:6-7; (b) Isaiah 42:1-4; (c) Genesis 22:1-2. How do they connect with the words to Jesus? What do these words say about who Jesus is and what he will do?
7)       Have a closer look at Isaiah 42:1-4. Ask each member of the group to pick out a phrase from this passage that speaks to them most about Jesus as the Servant King.
8)      Why did Jesus need the Holy Spirit to descend on him at this point? Was the Holy Spirit already dwelling in him? What does this event teach us about our own need of the Holy Spirit?
9)      What happened to Jesus following this experience? What do we learn from this?
10)   How can we learn to hear God’s voice? (think about Jesus’ years of preparation).
11)   I believe that Jesus’ understanding of his mission was formed by his study of scripture. What scriptures have formed your own understanding of what God calls you to do and be?

[1] Quoted in R.T.France The Gospel of Matthew(Eerdmans 2007) p103