Jesus' Baptism - Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1
Jesus never sinned, but He obeyed God and was baptized like sinners are baptized. Baptism reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It reminds us that when we trust in Jesus, we turn from sin and start a new life—a life lived for Jesus.
“He must increase but I must decrease” - John 3:30
- He (Point up with both hands)
- Must increase (Change to “praise hands”)
- But I (Point to chest with both thumbs)
- Must decrease (Put hands about one foot apart in front of chest to make “small” gesture)
He Must Increase
Bible Story Video
Bible Story Summary
- John the Baptist told people to repent of their sins.
- When people repented, John baptized them in the Jordan River.
- John baptized Jesus even though Jesus never sinned.
- God’s Spirit came down on Jesus like a dove.
Family Discussion Starters
- What does the word repent mean?
- Why was John surprised Jesus asked John to baptize Him?
- What does baptism remind us of?
Ask a friend or family member to tell how and why he or she was baptized. Emphasize faith and repentance.
For Preschool Kids
- Coloring/Activity Pages - Download PDF
- Activity: Respond through song and prayer
Say: Jesus told John, “Let Me be baptized. God says this is the right thing to do.” John baptized Jesus. Today, baptism reminds us that Jesus died and came back to life. People who know and love Jesus are baptized to show they are following Jesus.
Sing a song.
Say: God, thank You for sending Jesus to become human to rescue sinners. Thank You for leading Him to be baptized by John, even though He never sinned. Jesus’ baptism reminds us that He died and rose again for us. Help us to turn away from our sin and follow Him. Amen.
For Elementary Kids
- Personal Bible Study (3rd-5th Grade Class Handout) - Download PDF
- New City Catechism - Question 24
Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?
Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By his substitutionary atoning death, he alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.
- Discussion & Bible Skills
Help kids find Matthew 3. Remind them that Matthew is the first book in the New Testament in the Gospels division. Use a New Testament map to show where Galilee is.
Ask the following questions:
- Who was John the Baptist? (the one Isaiah prophesied about, the voice crying out in the wilderness; Matt. 3:3)
- How did John respond at first to Jesus’ request for baptism? (John tried to stop Jesus at first, Matt. 3:14)
- What happened after Jesus was baptized? (God spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove; Matt. 3:16-17)
- Does baptism save us? Guide the kids to understand that baptism is important, but it is only a symbol of what Jesus has done for us. A person is baptized because she is saved, not in order to be saved. Suggest an analogy, such as dressing like a doctor versus being a doctor. Dressing the part can suggest you are a doctor but cannot make you a doctor if you are not one.
- Why is baptism important? Help kids understand that God has commanded believers to be baptized, and Jesus provided an example of baptism for us to follow. We do not obey God to earn our salvation, but we want to obey Him out of love and worship. Baptism is a beautiful picture of our sinful lives dying with Jesus and our new life beginning when we are “raised” from the water. It shows the world we trust Jesus and identify with Him.
- When should someone be baptized? Discuss with your kids whatever policies your church has in place regarding baptism. Remind kids that baptism is a way to show they have trusted Christ; anyone who has not trusted Christ should not be baptized. Direct kids to continue the discussion with their parents to decide if or when they should be baptized.
- Jesus obeyed God by being baptized. When we trust Jesus for salvation, we obey God this way too.