Unit 20. Session 1: Jesus' Baptism
Zechariah’s son, John, grew up in the wilderness. His ministry began when God’s word came to him, and he began preaching near the Jordan River. John worked to get people ready for the coming of Jesus, fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy, “A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness” (Isa. 40:3a).
John called people to repent of their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River. John also instructed people on right living. (See Luke 3:10-14.) Some of the people suspected that John might be the Messiah, but John insisted, “One who is more powerful than I am is coming” (Luke 3:16).
Before His ministry began, Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John at the Jordan River. But John was calling people to a baptism of repentance. Jesus never sinned (see Heb. 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:21), so why did Jesus come to be baptized? John recognized this when he said, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” (Matt. 3:14).
Commentators’ ideas vary about why exactly Jesus was baptized. Perhaps He was affirming John’s work. Maybe He was identifying with sinners or showing them how they would be saved—through His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus answered John, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Jesus completely obeyed God, and God audibly confirmed His sonship.
As you share with your kids, allow time for them to ask questions about repentance, salvation, and baptism. Emphasize that baptism is not what saves us; baptism is a way we show that we have been saved. Jesus never sinned, but He obeyed God and was baptized like sinners are baptized. Baptism reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It reminds us that when we trust in Jesus, we turn from sin and start a new life—a life lived for Jesus.
Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1
Jesus never sinned, but He obeyed God and was baptized like sinners are baptized. Baptism reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It reminds us that when we trust in Jesus, we turn from sin and start a new life—a life lived for Jesus.
- What does the word repent mean?
- Why did John think it was odd for him to baptize Jesus?
- Why is baptism important and what does it mean?
- Who should be baptized?
- If you have witnessed a baptism or been baptized, describe what it was like.
Play out the Story
-Fill the bin with a couple inches of water to represent the Jordan River.
You're never too young to serve Jesus!
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