Repentance of the Heart
February 12, 2017
Main Theme: No one is greater than Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Our passage shows this to be true by bringing forth the testimony of John the Baptist and Heaven.
I. The testimony of John the Baptist
“he who is mighter than I is coming (v.17)”
- John said this because his baptism was external; it was outward. It was symbolic of a repentant heart. But the baptism itself was powerless to change a person’s heart. On the other hand Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit had power to change a person’s life.
- It seems clear, this baptism in/with the Holy Spirit = regeneration, the new birth.
II. The testimony of heaven
“ Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,  and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
There is something deeply instructive, and deeply comforting in this revelation of the blessed Trinity, at this particular season of our Lord’s earthly ministry. It shows us how mighty and powerful is the agency that is employed in the great business of our redemption. It is the common work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All Three Persons in the Godhead are equally concerned in the deliverance of our souls from hell. The thought should cheer us, when disturbed and cast down. The thought should hearten and encourage us, when weary of the conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil. The enemies of our souls are mighty, but the Friends of our souls are mightier still. The whole power of the triune Jehovah is engaged upon our side. — JC Ryle
Questions for Discussion / Application:
- What was John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus?
- One lesson from how John confronted Herod (verses 18-20) is that though it can be costly, it is also absolutely necessary for God’s messengers to speak the truth about sin.
- What does it look like for believers today to be faithful to speak the truth about sin?
- What can keep God’s people from being faithful to speak the truth about sin?
- When we do speak the truth about sin, what should be our attitude?
- As Jesus’ mission was about to kick into high gear in c.4, here at his baptism we see Him praying (v.21). What can we learn from Jesus’ example of prayer here?
- In speaking of the baptism in/with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist was referring to New Covenant work of the Spirit called “regeneration” or the “new birth.” What does it mean to be born again? What difference does the new birth make in our lives?
- Re-read the JC Ryle quote above. How does what Ryle says hit home to your heart?