Saturday, October 14, 2023

2023.10.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 3:13–4:11

Read Matthew 3:13–4:11

Questions from the Scripture text: Who came from where (Matthew 3:13)? For what purpose? How did John respond (Matthew 3:14)? What does John need? Why does Jesus say John should baptize Him instead (Matthew 3:15)? Where does Jesus go, when He had been baptized (Matthew 3:16)? What open to Him at this place? Whom does He see? Doing what? Like what? Where does He rest? What suddenly comes now (Matthew 3:17)? From where? Identifying Jesus as Whom? And expressing what about Him? Where does the Spirit take Him now (Matthew 4:1)? For what purpose? What did He do there (Matthew 4:2)? How long? With what result? What does Matthew 4:3 call the devil? Where does he go? What does he ask? What does he say to do in answer? How does Jesus answer (Matthew 4:4)? By what does man live? Who takes Him where in Matthew 4:5? Upon what does he set Him? What does he ask (Matthew 4:6)? What does he say to do in answer? How does the devil rationalize this test? How does Jesus answer (Matthew 4:7)? Where does the devil take him in Matthew 4:8? What does he show Him? What does the devil promise (Matthew 4:9)? In exchange for what? What does Jesus command him now (Matthew 4:10)? With what justification? What does the devil do (Matthew 4:11)? Who now come and do what?

Who is Jesus? Matthew 3:13–4:11 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these sixteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us Jesus is God the Son, Who is also the human Son that Adam, Israel, and all of us ought to have been. 

Jesus, the mighty God Who baptizes with the Spirit, Matthew 3:13-15. Jesus comes to John to receive the baptism that declares need for a new heart (Matthew 3:13)—but Jesus doesn’t need a new heart. John does (Matthew 3:14)! What John doesn’t realize is that John needs Jesus to fulfill righteousness for John and all others (Matthew 3:15).  For you, too, dear reader. You need not only to get a new heart from Jesus, but for Him to be identified with you and to be your Righteousness.

Jesus, the Son, Who is perfectly righteousMatthew 3:16-17. Jesus comes up from the water, and the first thing He sees is heaven opened. So, when the appearance of the dove descends, we and He both know that this is a physical manifestation of God the Holy Spirit. The Spirit with Whom Jesus baptizes is the Spirit Who is His from heaven. Next, Jesus hears a voice from heaven. We learn the identity of the Speaker by what He calls Jesus: “My Son.” He is the Father. And He loves the Son. Jesus is the beloved Son, and the Father is the Father to Whom He is beloved.”  What is amazing is that the Son is a man! Not merely in the form of a man, as the Spirit was in the form of a dove, but a true man. A man, the first man(!), whose behavior is well-pleasing to God.

Jesus, the Son, Who Adam should have been in the gardenMatthew 4:1-4. God had provided richly for Adam in the garden, but the devil tempted him to prefer the one food that he didn’t have over the knowledge of God that he did have. Now Jesus is not in a garden but a wilderness. The Spirit prepares Him for His temptation by leading Him to fast for forty days. (We know there was food in the wilderness because John ate locusts and wild honey there!). Jesus enjoyed fellowship with God as His food, so that when the temptation came, He was more than ready to answer from Deuteronomy 8:3. We all should view the Lord this way, love the Lord this way, enjoy the Lord this way. We don’t. But if we trust in Christ, He is counted as our righteousness. What’s more, the Spirit with Whom He baptizes us will ultimately make us to be like this too.

Jesus, the Son, Who Israel should have been in the wildernessMatthew 4:5-7. God had promised Israel to take them into the promised land, but they put Him to test in the wilderness. Now the devil takes the promise from Psalm 91 and invites Jesus to put God to the test. But Jesus trusts the promise without the test. Israel was the firstborn son (Exodus 4:22) with whom God was grieved (cf. Psalm 95:9–10). But Jesus has succeeded where Israel failed. He continues to be the Beloved Son, with Whom God is well-pleased. And so also shall He be with us, if we are united to Jesus through faith and adopted in Him, indwelt by the Spirit of adoption.

Jesus, the Son, Who accomplishes His own unique missionMatthew 4:8-11. This time, Satan actually offers Jesus what Jesus came for: to be glorified as King of all nations (cf. Matthew 28:18). But Satan offers it without any further suffering, any further humiliation. All Jesus has to do is give one moment to the devil, and it would all be over. How often temptation comes to us in this way: “Just one moment of sin with a great big payoff.” Israel, as a kingdom, was offered to reign, but traded it for the worship of false gods. But, praise God, Jesus refuses to worship another for even a moment. Jesus refuses to be unrighteous even for a moment. He will continue to suffer until the suffering of the cross. He will continue to be humiliated until the humiliation of the cross and death. He will continue to obey and never stop. Not even for a moment.

How should you enjoy, trust, and obey God? Who has done so already? How can that come to be yours? 

Sample prayer:  Father, thank You that Your Son, our Lord Jesus, was well-pleasing even in His human nature. Consider us in Him, we pray, that He might be our worthiness, and our sin might have been put away by His cross. Grant the ministry of Your Spirit to conform us to Him, we ask, in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP78D “Yet in the Desert Still They Sinned” or TPH391 “Come, O Come, Thou Quickening Spirit”

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