Matthew 3:1 “In those days John the Baptist came preaching…”
We’ve jumped about thirty years. John was only a few months older than Jesus.
3 “…he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah…The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight”
Fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a forerunner of the Messiah.
4 “…clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey”
Interesting fellow. Not sure why he was such an unusual one unless it was to identify with the prophets of old. Rough cut material to wear with only a leather belt, and he ate what he found in the wilderness.
6 “…were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins”
I’ve heard that the unusual issue of John’s baptizing was that he was baptizing the people instead of them baptizing themselves. Has been a while since I encountered that so don’t know if that’s accurate. He was baptizing people as a means of showing that they were washing their sins away by confessing them. His message was for people to repent because the Messiah was coming. Don’t know if he understood that the Messiah was coming to die to save them from those sins. Something to ask him someday.
7 “…Pharisees and Sadducees…Who warned you to flee…”
What are you doing here. Seems he’d had run-ins with the religious leaders before and knew of their hypocrisy. And he calls them out on it.
8-9 “…bear fruits worthy of repentance…do not…say…We have Abraham as our father…”
If they are truly repenting, their lives and works should show it, otherwise they’re merely putting on an act like they normally do. And they can’t use the excuse that they’re children of Abraham. That won’t save them. They must repent for themselves.
11 “…baptize you with water unto repentance…”
The baptizing was only a symbol of them washing their sins away through repentance. It had no magical power to actually wash anything away other than dirt. They were identifying with the idea of true repentance.
11 “…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
The One who is to come will be able to actually remove those sins, something mere water can never do.
12 “His winnowing fan is in His hand…”
Until now, God had overlooked sin by covering it up through sacrifices of bulls and goats. But now with Jesus, sin must be dealt with completely. The perfect sacrifice will not cover up sin, but remove it completely for those who repent and ask for salvation. All those who refuse to repent of their sin will be dealt with.
15 “…thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness…”
Don’t know if I see everything that Christ is doing here with allowing Himself to be baptized, but it seems He does it to tie up all loose ends so to speak. He has come as a man to be the perfect sacrifice according to all the rules, regulations, and ordinances of God. I’m sure as a Jewish male, He was circumcised as a child even though He was God. He completed every aspect of the Law regarding a Jewish man. Even though baptism wasn’t an ordinance at the time, John as His forerunner is using it to usher in His ministry. As such, He allows Himself to be baptized to show He has completed all aspects of humanity and is worthy to be mankind’s substitution. He has shown Himself now to be the perfect man.
16-17 “…the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven…”
The appearance of all three persons of the Trinity somewhat. Jesus the Son having the Holy Spirit alight upon Him in a physical form while God the Father speaks from the opened door to Heaven’s throne room. His actions have placed Him on the road to be man’s sacrifice which pleases the Father. Jesus has been divine since birth. He didn’t just become divine when the Holy Spirit alighted on Him. But as a man, He had a choice. He chose to follow the path to man’s redemption, now and at the cross.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.