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Sunday School

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THE LESSON BACKGROUND. Almost 30 years after the events surrounding Jesus’ birth in Matthew chapter 2 (see Luke 3:23), chapter 3 opens up abruptly by introducing John the Baptist saying that in those days (when Jesus would come to John to be baptized) he was preaching in the wilderness of Judea calling on the people to repent because the kingdom of heaven was at hand (see Matthew 3:1-2). The Gospel of Mark tells us that this was the beginning, of the gospel, for at that time Christ began first to appear to John, and then appeared by John to the world (see Mark 1:1; Acts 1:22). Chapter 3 goes on to say that John’s presence was the fulfillment of prophecy in Isaiah 40:3 (see Matthew 3:3). Then Matthew speaks of John’s manner of life, (see Matthew 3:4) including the coming of multitudes to him and their submission to his baptism (see Matthew 3:5-6). He also preached to the Pharisees and Sadducees, trying to bring them to repentance and to Christ (see Matthew 3:7-12). In verses 13-17 we see Jesus coming to John the Baptist to be baptized followed by the Father’s approval of His Son. Our lesson begins with Matthew chapter 4.

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