Then Jesus, coming from Nazareth in Galilee, arrived at the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let me pass now, for we must fulfill every right requirement.” Then John let him pass. When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. As Jesus was coming out of the water, he was praying, and heaven opened to him, and a Spirit from God descended like a dove, alighting upon him. And a voice out of the heaves, saying, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I have delighted.” Now, Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he set out. (Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-23a; Mark 1:9-11)

Jesus Being Tested

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was guided by the Spirit in the wilderness full of wild animals to be tried by the Slanderer for forty days. During those days, he ate nothing and was hungry when they reached their end. The Tempter said to him, “If you are God’s Son, command that this stone become a load of bread.” Jesus, however, answered by saying, “It has been written, ‘Man shall not live upon bread alone but by God’s every word.’” [Deuteronomy 8:3] (Luke 4:1-4; Matthew 4:1-4; Mark 1:12-13a)

And leading Jesus upward, he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the inhabited world and all their glory in a single instance of time, and the Slanderer said to him, “All the power and glory of these things I shall give to you because it has been delivered over to me and I give it to whomever I wish. Prostrate yourself before me, and it will all be yours.” Jesus replied to him, “Get behind me, accuser! It has been written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you adore.’” [Deuteronomy 6:13] (Luke 4:5-8; Matthew 4:8-10)

And he led Jesus to the Holy City Jerusalem and stood him upon the highest of the Temple and said to him, “If you are God’s son, cast yourself down; for it has been written that ‘He will command his angels concerning you to keep guard over you’ that ‘they will catch you up in their hands, that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’” [Psalm 91:11-12] Jesus answered him, “It is also written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” [Deuteronomy 6:16] Having exhausted every temptation, the Slader departed from him until an opportune time, and the angels came and attended to him. (Luke 4:9-13; Matthew 4:5-7,11; Mark 1:13b)

John’s Testimony About Jesus

This is John’s testimony when the Judaeans of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him and asked, “Who are you?” John did not deny but confessed that “I am not the Anointed.” So they asked him again, “What then? Are you Elijah?” and John said, “I am not.” Following up, they asked, “Are you the Prophet?” John answered, “No.” So they pressed again, “Who are you? Answer those who have sent us. What do you say concerning yourself?” He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ [Isaiah 40:3] as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1:19-22)

Some who had been sent were of the Pharisees. They questioned him and said to him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Anointed, Elijah, or the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize in water, but among you, there stands one who you do not know, the one coming after me, who has surpassed me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” These things occurred in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (John 1:23-28)

The next day, John sees Jesus approaching him and says, “See the lamb of God who is taking away the sins of the cosmos. This is who I was talking about when I said, ‘the one coming after me, who surpassed me, for he was before me.’ Although I did not recognize him, I came baptizing in water so that he might be made manifest to Israel.” John also testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove from the sky and rested on him. I did not recognize him; rather, he who sent me to baptize in water said, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit descending and resting upon, he is who baptizes in a Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and given witness that this man is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

Discussion Questions

  1. John the Baptist initially hesitated to baptize Jesus, feeling unworthy. Why do you think Jesus insisted on being baptized by John? What does this teach us about the importance of humility and obedience to God’s will?
  2. After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended on Him like a dove, and a voice from heaven declared Him as God’s beloved Son. How do these events affirm Jesus’ identity and mission? What significance does the Holy Spirit have in this moment and in our own lives?**
  3. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Why do you think it was necessary for Jesus to face these temptations, and what can we learn from His responses to each of them? How can we use God’s Word to resist temptation in our own lives?
  4. John the Baptist described himself as a “voice of one crying in the desert” and pointed people to Jesus, the Lamb of God. What does it mean to be a witness for Jesus, and how can we point others to Him in our daily lives?
  5. When John saw the Spirit descend on Jesus, he knew Jesus was the Son of God. How can we recognize and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our own lives? What role does the Holy Spirit play in helping us understand and fulfill God’s plan for us?
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