The Significance of Baptism

This week our new study series entitled Follow Me takes us to Matthew 3 where we are introduced to a man who would become known as John the Baptizer (a.k.a. John the Baptist). It is the New Testament’s earliest mention of the practice of baptism and gives us a window into its significance. Does baptism save? Is it a means of special grace? Is it an optional practice? Through the actions of John and then Jesus himself we’ll shed light on the discussion. In a broader view, we’ll also see John as the way maker and explore the importance of that title (and see how we are called to do no less today).

May these questions take us to the depth of the text and help it make sense to us:

1. What are some of the collective (even sometimes divergent) Christian ideas about baptism?
2. Which is more important the message or the messenger… why?
3. How was John “preparing the way” for Jesus?
4. In what ways can we also do the same for other people today?
5. What do you make of John’s treatment of the sitting “religious leaders” of the day (vv. 7-10)?
6. How (if at all) do we translate John’s handling to modern day religious leaders?
7. What is your understanding of the differences between the baptism that John offered vs. what Jesus would bring (vv.11-12)?
8. Play the part of John… what’s going through your head when Jesus asks you to baptize him?
9. Why do you think Jesus submitted himself to be baptized by John?
10. So… now… what do you see as the significance of baptism? Why is it important?
11. What can the value of baptism be to someone who is an onlooker?

Finally, as a reflection question… if you have not been baptized in this manner, will you prayerfully consider the impact it might have on your own story as well as the story of others if you were to be baptized with these things that we’ve studied in mind?

If you’d like to dig a little deeper, follow the link to this commentary… Matthew 3.

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