In Jesus day if you wanted to convert to Judaism you would be baptised. But here was John the Baptist baptising Jewish people. Surely this was unnecessary since they were born Jewish and the males had been circumcised also? Being a Christian is not about being born one, or even about being Christened or baptised. It’s a position of submission to God’s will, which goes some way to explaining why Jesus was himself baptised. Being a true Christian, or Jew for that matter, is shown by admitting God’s way is best (a change of heart) and this in turn is reflected in what we actually do. It’s easy to put external behaviour first, but that is religion not faith! Religion easily gives way to hypocrisy whereas faith breeds humility.
- How do you feel when people refer to you as religious?
- Why does John major on John the Baptist at this point in his story?
- John talks about being baptised with the Holy Spirit (v33). What does this mean?
- John the Baptist initially didn’t recognise Jesus as the Messiah it was only the presence of the Spirit in dove form that gave the game away. How can the Spirit help us recognise Jesus today?
- John the Baptist publicly stated that Jesus was the Son of God (v34); it eventually got him killed. It takes bottle to stand up for Jesus. Where could you be bolder in your faith?
May we live out of changed hearts submitted to God today.