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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the meaning of baptism,
ii. Indicate the purpose of Jesus baptism,
iii. Compare the synopsis’s account of Jesus baptism,
iv. Indicate lessons learnt from Jesus baptism,
Lesson Summary Aids: See reference materials below contents.
Lesson Summary / Discussions
The Baptism Of Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:13 – 17, Mark 1:9 – 11, Luke 3:21 – 22)
The synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, all have the account of baptism of Jesus Christ. The accounts are similar but with a few variations. Matthew alone reported that John did not want to baptize Jesus, rather he preferred Jesus to baptize him. In his account after Christ had been baptized and he was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in a bodily form as a dove. Apart from these few variations, the narrations of the synoptic gospels are virtually the same. For this topic, we would base our discussion on the account of Matthew.
According to Matthew, Jesus Christ came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John. When John saw Jesus, he hesitated to baptize him saying “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is befitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Based on these statement, John consented to baptize Jesus.
After Jesus has been baptized, he went up immediately from the water and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and a lighting on him. Immediately, a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son, with whom i am well pleased”.
The Significance of the Baptism of Jesus
i. The baptism by John the Baptist was for the forgiveness of sin. Christ was without sin, yet he went to John to be baptized to show the believers (that is the church) that baptism is necessary for the new life that we would live in Christ and that it is divinely necessary to fulfill all righteousness.
ii. The baptism marked the call to his earthly ministry and it was equally a way of identifying with the sinners whom he came to redeem. It was also intended to show the public that John’s baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin was necessary for everybody who wished to live a new life in Christ. The essence of John’s activities was to prepare the way for Christ hence, John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ.
iii. Christ said in John 3:5 “unless a man is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. The reason being that it is the Holy Spirit that enables a man to do the will of God which qualifies him to enter the kingdom of God.
iv. Christ, on his part, fulfilled this condition by going to John the Baptist to be baptized. Immediately after the baptism, the Holy Spirit that aided him in his earthly ministry descended upon him like a dove.
v. Christ, being in the flesh, was prone to temptation to sin, but the Holy Spirit of God that came upon him after the baptism helped him to overcome temptation and to do the will of God all through.
vi. The baptism of Jesus Christ by John marked the first public confirmation of the messiahship of Jesus Christ when a voice was heard from heaven saying, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased”.
John’s Description Of Christ As The Lamb Of God And The Significant Of This To Christians
John was baptising at the river Jordan when Jesus came to him. John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who was to take away the sins of the world. John confessed that Jesus was greater than him for he (Jesus) had existed before him.
At first, John did not know Jesus, but he came baptizing with water that Jesus might be revealed. The spirit of the Lord had told John that he would identify Jesus as the man whom the spirit would descend. At the baptism of Jesus, the spirit descended as a dove from heaven and rested on him. John bore witness that Jesus is the son of God.
The Significance of Jesus’ Baptism to Christians include:
i. As the lamb of God, his crucifixion takes away man’s sins by faith.
ii. Having accepted this, we must turn away from our sins.
iii. We have to bear testimony, that is, spread this happy news to others who have not known him.
iv. Jesus is the final sacrifice.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. Explain the meaning of baptism.
ii. Indicate the purpose of Jesus baptism.
iii. Compare the synopsis’s account of Jesus baptism.
iv. What lessons can Christians learn from Jesus baptism?
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