Matthew 3: The Kingdom of Heaven is Coming

I hope your Easter was a truly blessed one!  I spent much of the weekend in solitude and with family (in part, because I was sick on Sunday), but it was a very good weekend of reminders of frailty and new life.  I did spend time with Henri Nouwen, one of my favorites especially on Easter.  If you would like to read my Easter mediations click here to go to my personal blog.

We have just made a huge jump in time in Matthew 3.  Kids have grown up to be adults.  The time for ministry has come.

"John baptizing Christ" by Guido Reni

This is the first mention of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, in Matthew.  He is one unorthodox bloke, to put it mildly.  He must have failed his seminary class on seeker-sensitive preaching:

He saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized by him.  “You brood of vipers!” he said to them.  “Who warned you to escape from the coming wrath?  You better prove your repentance by bearing the right sort of fruit!” (3:7-8)

His first words are what strike me in this chapter:

Repent!” he was saying.  “The kingdom of heaven is coming!” (3:2)

John’s first words introduce us to what will be a major theme in Matthew, actually the biggest idea Jesus and his followers ever talked about.  What is this kingdom?  It is coming here?  When?  One’s understanding of the Gospels is sadly deficient if one does not come to understand what the “kingdom” is.

What struck you in this chapter?

Categories: Matthew | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Matthew 3: The Kingdom of Heaven is Coming

  1. Melanie Semore

    First, I have to say I’ve never understood the reason for Jesus’ baptism. If anyone can shed some light there, that’d be great.

    I do find it interesting that John definitely got it–he got Jesus, the Kingdom, his own role as compared to that of Jesus–all of it. I wonder how. Was it revelation from God? Had he spent his growing up years with Jesus and learned from him? Either way, he was in 100%, and I find was struck by that, maybe more than in the past.

    • I have always wondered about Jesus’ baptism too. I was taught long ago that he was baptized as an example to us. Maybe so. Rhetorically, it is clear that his baptism (and all baptism in the NT) was as much about receiving the HS as about forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ baptism sets up the next scene with the coming of the HS and the voice of God, which seems to be the biggest point in this story. Still, this is one I would like to know more about. If I am able to dig around a bit, I’ll add more.

  2. “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight on my life.”

    What an incredible thing for God to say about a person! How I hope he can say that about me on my last day!

    This is also an incredible thing for a father to say to a son. My sons need to know I think this way about them.

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