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Baptist ; the baptizer, a title given to John because he baptized.
The wilderness of Judea ; bordering on the Jordan and the Dead sea. It was a rough and thinly settled region, occupied chiefly as a place for pasturage.
Repent ; repentance is a change of mind with regard to sin, especially as committed against God, which leads a person to hate, confess, and forsake it.
Kingdom of heaven ; the Messiah’s reign as predicted by the prophets, or the sway of Christ’s gospel and dispensation over the hearts, lives, and destinies of men, both in this world and in the next. This kingdom is spoken of in the Scriptures variously, in reference to its several aspects: first, in this world, as affecting the individual disciple in whose heart it is set up, as affecting the churches whom it gathers, and as influencing human society generally, even when not brought into the Christian church; and next, as extending from this world, through the judgment day, when it will be universally acknowledged, into the heavenly world, where it will reach its crowning glory. John the Baptist was its herald. Christ, after his resurrection and just before his ascension, declared his induction into it. Matthew 28:18 . The millennium and the judgment are stages in its continuous progress; and the consummation of the mediatorial kingdom is described. 1 Corinthians 15:24 ; 1 Corinthians 15:28 . Some texts in which the phrase is used refer mainly to one stage, and others to another, of its onward course. Men must hate and forsake their sins in order to be prepared for the kingdom of God. Proverbs 28:13 .
Of the Lord ; in the original it is, "Prepare ye the way of Jehovah." Isaiah 40:3 . Christ was coming: "Make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Whenever the word Lord in the Old Testament is printed in capitals in our common English Bible, it is Jehovah in the original Hebrew; and the application by the Holy Spirit of what is said of Jehovah in the Old Testament to Jesus Christ in the New, is evidence that he is God. Malachi 3:1 ; John 1:1
All Judea ; people from all parts of the country.
Confessing their sins ; the baptism of John was adapted to impress the minds of the people with a conviction of their pollution by sin, and of the necessity, through repentance, of spiritual cleansing by the Holy Ghost, in order to a right reception of the coming Saviour.
Pharisees ; a sect among the Jews who were very strict in their outward forms of religion, but were inwardly corrupt, proud, and hypocritical.
Sadducees ; they denied a resurrection and the existence of angels and spirits, and generally were sceptical, and loose in their habits.
Vipers ; men who were malignant and bitter in their opposition to the character and will of Christ.
Fruits ; show the reality of your repentance by forsaking your sins and obeying the commands of God. In order that repentance may be shown to be sincere, it must produce good works.
Think not ; depend not on the piety of your ancestors, but become pious yourselves. Piety is not hereditary, and none can safely depend on the goodness of others; but in order to be saved, each one must become pious himself.
Hewn down ; those who continue to neglect known duty will be destroyed.
He ; Jesus Christ.
Not worthy ; though among all who were born of women none were greater in condition and honor than John. Matthew 11:11 , yet so much greater was Jesus Christ, even in his deepest humiliation, that John was not worthy to untie, or carry his shoe.
Holy Ghost ; by his Spirit he will purify all who believe in him, as gold is purified by the fire. The greatest and most honorable among men are so much less honorable than the Lord Jesus Christ, that they are not worthy to perform for him the most lowly service.
Wheat ; the good.
Chaff ; the bad. He will make an endless separation between the righteous and the wicked. Matthew 25:46 . A knowledge of this should lead all to break off their sins by righteousness, and their iniquities by turning unto the Lord.
I have need to be baptized of thee ; John, being a sinner, needed that spiritual renovation, the necessity and practicability of which were taught by baptism; but Jesus Christ being perfectly holy, did not need it. John therefore did not know why he should come to him to be baptized. But Christ showed him that under the circumstances in which they were placed, it was proper. Then John baptized him.
To fulfil all righteousness ; all the requirements of God. Since Christ had taken upon himself the nature of sinful men, and put himself in their stead, it was proper that he should submit himself to every ordinance of God’s appointment.
Lighting upon him ; in token of his being endowed with the Holy Spirit for his work. Compare John 3:34 . vs Matthew 3:16-17 . At the opening of the Saviour’s ministry we have a manifestation of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, all cooperating in the great work of man’s salvation.
A voice ; the voice of God the father, acknowledging Christ as his beloved Son, and expressing his approbation of his character, office, and work.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 3". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30