Matthew 3:11-17 Following Jesus Through Baptism

11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Following Jesus Through Baptism

Jesus, you came in humility to John and asked to be baptised.  I still find that a bit baffling.  Baptism shows repentance, but you didn’t need to repent.  Maybe through baptism you were identifying with the people; maybe you were affirming their commitment to change.  You passed through the River Jordan which showed that you were living out a history of Israel:  Out of Egypt and through the Jordan.  You were not the land of promise but the man of promise.

Jesus, I follow you as you lead.  I have been baptised in water, but I still need to daily wash away the distractions that come from an old pattern of life that I am no longer called to live.  As you lead us into all righteousness and the peaceful power of The Spirit cleanses us, help me like John to submit to the circumstances and the surprises that do not make sense.


  1. How does John describe Jesus?
  2. How does Jesus’ arrival contrast with the description?
  3. Why did John object to baptising Jesus?
  4. Have you followed Jesus in preparing yourself for a radically different life?
  5. How has Jesus surprised you in the way his plans for you have played out?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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