Jesus Was Baptized – Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:19-34

Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that “in Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would do good works. God had planned in advance those good works for us.” Imagine that! For every believer, God has already planned good works for us to do; we just have to decide to submit to God’s plans for us and do those good things He has already planned for us. 

But what if those good things include painful or hard things? That’s when it’s really hard to submit to God’s plans. And that’s the dilemma Jesus faced. As He grew in His knowledge and understanding of the Law and the Prophets, He must have become aware of what God’s plans for Him included. At some point, He knew that God’s good plans for Him included pain, suffering and death. And, at that point, even Jesus had to decide whether or not He would submit to God’s plans for His life.

That’s what makes Jesus’ baptism such an incredible moment. For everyone else, baptism demonstrated repentance (turning from their sin), but Jesus never sinned, so His baptism couldn’t have been a baptism of repentance. Instead, for Jesus, baptism was a public announcement that He had decided to submit to God’s plans for His life. As He went under the water, Jesus was announcing His decision to die to His own desires and to live for the glory of God His Father. No wonder as He emerged from the water that heaven opened, the Spirit alighted on Him, and God the Father broke out in audible praise, “This is My beloved Son. With Him I am well-pleased.”

This moment of Jesus’ baptism marked the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry and set an example for all believers who followed that we must die to ourselves; we must seek the will of God the Father regardless of the personal pain and suffering that might follow. In the words of Jesus, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is that those who die to themselves find blessing and fulfillment while those who seek their own self-interests reap emptiness and dissatisfaction.

Activity – The Price Is Right – show kids a series of 2 items you might find in the store. Have kids vote for the item they think costs more. For the last pair, show kids a card, one which says, “serving Jesus” and compare it to something super expensive, like a car or a house. Which one costs more? Serving Jesus will cost you everything. Because in serving Jesus, you must die to yourself, following Him costs the most.

Give kids pictures of Jesus being baptized to color as you discuss:

1 – When people are baptized and they get dipped under the water, what does that symbolize? It shows that people would die if they stay under the water and reminds us that when we follow Jesus, we die to ourselves, to sin, and to our desires.

2 – What does that mean “to die to your desires?” Share an example of when you have died to your desires.

3 – What does it mean to die to sin? When we give our lives to Jesus, He gives us power to say no to sin. Sin no longer masters us; we have the ability to resist sin. Sometimes people say that certain sins are no longer attractive. Others say that fighting sin continues to be a battle, but Jesus promises that He will provide a way for us to escape from sin when we give our lives to Him.

4 – What does it mean when someone is baptized and comes out of the water? It is a picture of Jesus rising from the dead and reminds us that when we give our lives to Jesus, He makes us alive. The power that raised Him from the dead becomes available to us as we fight sin in our lives.

5 – When Jesus was baptized, what did it mean when He was going under the water and coming back out? He was telling everyone that He was dying to His own desires and that He was going to live for one thing: to do God’s will – die for the sins of every person who has ever lived. He died for my sins and yours.

6 – When we decide to follow Jesus, we also must decide to die to our own desires. Why does Jesus ask us to do that? When we give our lives to Jesus, we are telling Him that He can be the boss of our lives. If that’s true, we can’t continue to do just what we want to do. We must think first of what Jesus would want. Those who follow Jesus are filled with joy when they make decisions that please Jesus.

7 – How does someone give his/her life to Jesus? Just talk to Jesus in prayer. Tell Jesus that you want to belong completely to Him and follow Him. Tell Jesus thank you for dying on the cross and paying for your sins. Ask Jesus to show you what He wants you to do as you live for Him.

8 – Share with kids your story of how you gave your life to Jesus.