The Baptism of Jesus

Hi everybody, it’s Pastor Dave. Welcome to another “Daily Journal” guide today. We started in our last journal guide taking a survey of the New Testament, which I am really excited to do. We’re using the format of a book called “The Story,” which goes through the entire Bible in survey fashion using the NIV text. It’s a very cool book to go through. So, I’m going to follow through it. We’re doing it at church on Wednesday night, so I thought I would follow through on these journal guides.

If you’ve got your Alone With God journal, grab it. Turn it to a “Daily Journal” page. If you don’t have an Alone With God journal, then get one at Or get any journal. I’ll walk you through the steps. And if you don’t journal, then just get ready for God. Like, sit down, focus, pray. Get ready. And Get your Bible. No matter what you’re doing journal-wise, get your Bible.

Open your Bible to Matthew Chapter 3 today. We’re looking at verses 13-17. This is the baptism of Jesus. And it’s a really, really important text to understand. More important, I think, than sometimes we realize. We’ll start by reading the text, and then I’ll talk you through it, and then I am going to send you off to do your journal time alone with God.

Matthew 3:13-17 (NLT)
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires. ” So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.
17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Oh, man, that’s an awesome text! I read from the New Living Translation. “The Story” uses the NIV – you read whatever version you have, as long as it’s a good, solid translation.

Let’s talk about this. The question is, “Why?” Why was Jesus baptized? John the Baptist was baptizing for repentance from sin to prepare the way of the Lord for salvation. But listen, this is what I want you to understand. Baptism pictures identification. When we are baptized, we are baptized into Jesus Christ, meaning we are fully identified with him. And so, check this out. Jesus came to be fully identified with us. His baptism represents his willingness to be fully identified with us as sinners.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) says that God made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we can become the righteousness of God in him. Both sides of that verse speak of identification. Jesus was identified with our sin. He became our sin so that we could become the righteousness of God in him. And so, the point in the baptism is Jesus is identifying with you and with your sin. And so, when Jesus came to John, John knew who he was. He recognized. He says, “I need to be baptized by you.” Jesus says, “No. This is important because I want the sinners of the world to know that I came to be identified with them. I want to live as they live without sin. I want to experience what they experience. I’m not coming to be above them. I am coming to be with them.” So, Jesus is baptized to be identified with us as sinners so that when he goes to the Cross to pay for our sin, our sin is paid for through his identification with us. Man, that is heavy.

As we continue in these verses, 16 and 17, at the same time that Jesus was demonstrating his unity with us, his becoming one of us and taking on our sin, at the same time, the Holy Spirit and the Father demonstrated their Trinity identification with Jesus as “God in Expression.” We say “God in The Flesh.” The Apostle John, we said in our last devotion that John calls Jesus LOGOS – The Word. And that word LOGOS means “God in Expression.” “God Communicated to Man.” And so, now, the Father and the Holy Spirit are going to show their identification with Jesus.

So, as Jesus is coming up out of the water, verse 16 says, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God (that’s the Holy Spirit – notice the capital “S”) The Holy Spirit of God descends like a dove and settles on him the NLT says. But John actually says he remained on him, permanently. Honestly, the Holy Spirit had been with Jesus since conception. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. But now, the Holy Spirit was showing up to show his identification with Jesus, but also to represent this special anointing that Jesus would need as he began his ministry and as he began walking through life in our place, but without sin. Right after the baptism, Jesus is going to go into the Temptation, and so the Holy Spirit comes down and settles on him, abides with him.

And then, right after that, the voice of the Father God is heard from Heaven in verse 17: And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” And if you haven’t heard anyone explain that (I’m explaining a lot today), Son doesn’t mean that Jesus was born in the sense that we call born. It means the “One Come From God.” And Jesus is the Unique, the Beloved Son, the Son of God, the One Who Comes From God in that “God in Expression,” God becoming Man. God Communicated to Man. And so, the Father says, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” The entire Trinity is there. This is the first time that God clearly identifies himself as the Triune God, One God in Three Persons. The Son is there in obedience to the Father to be identified with us. The Holy Spirit is there to empower the Son. And the Father speaks of his love, his dear love for the Son. And so, in this one scene, we see the entire Trinity, which is super great. But really, today, this is an incredible text. I pray that you would see the power of Jesus being identified with you, being willing to be one with you to take on your sin so that he could pay for it in your place.

So, in your journal, the three steps are Meditate. That says, “What is God’s Word saying? What are the spiritual principles here?” I think I just did that for you.

And then Apply. How does this apply? How does this apply that Jesus chose to be identified with you as a sinner all through his ministry. So, under Apply, it says, “How does this apply to my life today, personally and specifically?”

And then Respond. Respond. “What action will you take?” I hope it’s to be in awe and thank God and receive the phenomenal gift of God becoming Man and being identified with you so that he could live a perfect life, and die in your place, and pay the full penalty for your sin. I hope your response is something in that range.

And then Pray. The last step in the journal is Pray. It says: “My prayer to align my heart with the will of God is:”

Alright, I’ve talked enough today. Man, that’s a great text! Let’s pray. Please, when we’re done praying, if you can, take some time to continue to meditate or to write in any journal you have. And best of all, to write in the Alone With God journal.

Let me pray. Lord, Jesus, we’re overwhelmed at this. We’re overwhelmed at this concept, Lord. God, we pray that we would know it. That we would know it more and more and more what you did, what you were willing to do to be identified with us in order to save us. And thank you for this incredible picture of the Trinity as you began your ministry on earth. We pray, Lord, it would be meaningful to us today. In your name, Jesus, amen.

Alright, guys, that’s a bit of a long one, but I hope you stuck with me through it. Listen, text us. Contact us. You can contact us at You can text us at (877) 790-WORD (877) 790-9673. Order yourself a journal at and keep going through these journal guides with us. God bless you. See you tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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