Most people read right past Jesus’s baptism, never considering the colossal problem it presented to John the Baptist. In the first century, Jews would immerse themselves in water (“baptized”) for any number of reasons. But Matthew records that John is only doing a baptism for “the repentance of sins” (cf. Matt. 3:6, 11). So, when Jesus shows up to be baptized, John is utterly confused and tries to deter him from doing so. And yet, within a few short words from Jesus, John is convinced Jesus needs to be baptized. What is going on here? Exactly.
By engaging this story through the contextual lenses of history, geography, cultural backgrounds, literary design, and more, we’ll gain stunning new insights into this watershed moment in the ministry of Jesus and draw meaningful implications for our own lives.
Brad Gray is the Founder of Walking The Text, a non-profit organization that creates resources and study trips to the Bible Lands to help people understand the Bible in its original context. Gray is a national speaker, published author, and ordained minister with over 10 years of experience serving in the local church. He is also the host of a forthcoming global television series on the original context of the Bible called The Sacred Thread.
Gray has a degree in Business Management from Cornerstone University, an MDiv from Western Theological Seminary, and completed additional graduate work at Jerusalem University College from 2008-2009. He and his wife, Shallon, live with their four kids in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more about Brad and Walking The Text here.