Jesus: Our Ultimate Example

Matthew 3:17

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying,

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is He who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ”

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John Baptizes Jesus

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying,

“I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Then he allowed Him.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying,

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

— Matthew 3:1–4:11

Page after page of the New Testament shows us how Jesus is our ultimate example. In Matthew 3, we see Him submit to baptism to fulfill all righteousness and to identify with all those He came to save. We’re called to submit to baptism, just like Jesus did. Here we also see Him overcome Satan’s temptations by putting faith in specific truths from God’s Word. We can do the same! The next time you face temptation, remember that Jesus overcame the world, He is in you, and He gave you an example to follow of allowing God’s Word to defeat temptation. Ask Him to help you, empower you, and make you more like Him.

—Dr. Johnny Hunt, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA

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Your Turn

Why do you think Jesus chose to be baptized? Why does He set that example for us as believers? Do you tend to think of Jesus as super-human in the face of temptation? He dealt with real temptation just the way that we do and in every way. How did Jesus respond to Satan? How does He model for us to respond? Join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear your thoughts about Jesus’ baptism by His cousin, John, and about His temptation in the wilderness. ~ Devotionals Daily

Thomas Nelson

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