The students will be able to describe the water baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, and will recognize that this was done as an example for us.
Introduction: Open your class time by asking your students to name some things they have learned by example; for instance, to tie a shoe, fold a paper airplane, etc. You may even wish to teach them some sample things by showing them how to do it!
Progression of Events:
Climax: God the Father and the Holy Spirit gave their approval to Jesus' baptism.
Conclusion: Jesus' water baptism was blessed by God. We, too, should be baptized when we have been saved.
Response: Your students will be able to tell how Jesus was baptized and how we are baptized today.
When Jesus was thirty years old (Luke 3:23) it was time for Him to begin the work God had sent Him to do. According to Jewish law one could not begin his public ministry before the age of thirty (Numbers 4:3). Six months prior to this His cousin, John, began his own ministry. John was a rugged individual who lived a simple life and preached a simple message. The message was, "Repent" (Matthew 3:2). Large crowds went out to hear him, and after accepting his message, were baptized in water. The pious Jews, however, had a difficult time accepting his message. Believing they were God's chosen people, children of Abraham and keepers of the Covenant of Moses, they felt no need of repentance (Matthew 3:9). God, however, was about to move in a fresh new way and unless they were willing to turn from their trust in the old religious practices and accept God's plan they would be in danger of judgment (Matthew 3:1, 10, 12). John's message was not the culmination of this fresh move of God, but only a preparation for it. He was very aware of this and declared, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11).
Then Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized. Why would He want to be baptized by John? He certainly did not need to repent. John knew this (Matthew 3:14). There was a spiritual awakening taking place throughout Israel because of John's preaching. He had been telling the people to prepare their hearts for the coming of their Messiah. By being baptized, Jesus demonstrated by action, and not by words only, His full agreement with John's message. He was, in fact, saying, "All that John has said is true. His message is from God."
At this time Jesus received the special anointing of the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:34) and the blessed word of His Father that His thirty years in Nazareth had pleased Him. Now He could go forth in confidence and accomplish all of His Father's will.
Take two apples. Inject one of them with food coloring. (Syringes are available at drug stores.) Before class get both of them muddy on the outside. Bring to class a washcloth and water. Tell a little story about the apples—how they both look the same, etc. After washing them, cut them both open. Bring out the fact that it takes more than just washing our bodies or even being baptized to make the inside clean. This is a good way to tie in the memory verse.
Tell your students that they are going to have the chance to interview someone who has been baptized in water. Help them list some questions they would like to ask: for instance, when and where it took place, how old the person was at the time, what happened first (salvation), how they dressed for baptism, how many others were baptized, how they felt walking into the water, how they felt afterwards, how their family and friends felt about their experience. Then bring in someone who has agreed to do the interview.
Prepare an overhead presentation or a chalktalk showing the events of the lesson.