Thursday, October 8, 2020

Adult Bible Study on Matthew 3:13-4:11 – The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus

Matthew 3:13-4:11

(New International Version)

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.


1. Why did Jesus say it was proper for Him to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness?


Jesus is our example. He did everything that we’re supposed to do to show us the way.



2. What is the significance of the Holy Spirit coming down on Jesus in form of a dove?


Genesis 8:10-11 - He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.


The dove in the story of the Flood signifies a new beginning for the earth. The Holy Spirit alighting on Jesus is a visible signal that God is again making a new beginning as Jesus starts His ministry.



3. Why does God allow the devil to tempt us?


God gave us free will. He allows the devil to tempt us to give us a choice of whether we will choose to love and obey God or not.



4. What is the purpose of fasting?


Someone fasts to seek God. Their hunger is a reminder to turn their attention away from physical comforts and to pray to God. They may be in a mindset of repentance or asking God to do something or seeking God’s will. In this case, Jesus may have been seeking intimacy with God and preparing for His ministry.



5. What is the devil tempting Jesus with in each of these temptations?


In the first temptation, he’s tempting Jesus to fulfill His physical needs. In the second, to prove and take pride in His identity. In the third, to wield power.


How does this compare to the devil’s temptation of Eve?


Genesis 3:5-6 - “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”


When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.


The devil tempted Eve with something that was good for food (physical need), with wisdom (taking pride in her own knowledge and decision-making), and with being like God (power). All temptations can fall into these categories – physical desires, pride, and some sort of power. The devil has no new tricks, so once we recognize these temptations, we can resist them.



6. What do all three of Jesus’ answers have in common?

He used Scripture to refute the devil, showing our need to know God’s Word. He also relied on and honored God in His decisions. He put God above anything else He might have desired in those moments.



What to do after reading this passage

Think about the last time you were tempted. Identify what the root of the temptation was: physical need, pride, or power. 



Do you have another insight into this passage? Please share below!