Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:13

Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Baptism;   Jesus, the Christ;   John;   Jordan;   Scofield Reference Index - Gospel;   Repentance;   Thompson Chain Reference - Baptism;   Christ;   John the Baptist;   Sacraments;   The Topic Concordance - Baptism;   Holy Spirit;   Jesus Christ;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Baptism;   Humility of Christ, the;   Jordan, the River;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Galilee;   Jesus christ;   John the baptist;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   John the Baptist;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Hutchinsonians;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Ordinances;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bethabara;   John the Baptist;   Jordan;   Mss;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Atonement (2);   Bethabara ;   Character of Christ;   Confession (of Sin);   Doctrines;   John the Baptist;   Joram;   Ministry;   Nazareth ;   Premeditation;   Providence;   Redemption (2);   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Kingdom of christ of heaven;   Kingdom of god;   Kingdom of heaven;   Levi;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - John, the Baptize;   Jesus of Nazareth;   Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Baptism (Lutheran Doctrine);   John the Baptist;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Baptism;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;   Jesus of Nazareth;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for March 26;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Then cometh Jesus - The Saviour is now introduced as about to enter on his work, or as about to be solemnly set apart to his great office of Messiah and Redeemer. The expression “cometh” implies that the act was voluntary on his part; that he went for that purpose and for no other. He left the part of Galilee - Nazareth - where he had lived for nearly 30 years, and went to the vicinity of the Jordan, where John was baptizing the people in great numbers, that he might be set apart to his work. The occasion was doubtless chosen in order that it might be as public and solemn as possible. It is to be remembered, also, that it was the main purpose of John‘s appointment to introduce the Messiah to the world, Matthew 3:3.

To be baptized of him - By him. Baptism was not in his case a symbol of personal reformation and repentance, for he was sinless; but it was a solemn rite by which he was set apart to his great office. It is true, also, that although he was personally holy, and that the baptism in his case had a different signification, in this respect, from that which is implied when it is administered now, yet that even in his case the great idea always implied in the ordinance of baptism had a place; for it was a symbol of holiness or purity in that great system of religion which he was about to set up in the world.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Matthew 3:13

Baptized of him.

The baptism of our Saviour

I. The circumstance of title.

1. Seasonable. Men were at this time being baptized and confessing their sins. People were expecting the Christ (John 1:19). Let man be diminished, but let God arise. The truth is revealed that the servant may not rob the Master of His honour.

2. This adverb of time points to the age of Christ. Mature age. He taught the need of well-seasoned timber to make pillars for the Church of God. As Christ attained perfect age in nature, His servants should be perfect in grace and glory.

II. After what manner he would be baptized.

1. Upon what ground did John begin this new ceremony: It betokened the end of the old ceremonies. Superstitions turned into a blessing. Heathen used washings. Turned into an immortal laver.

2. The dignity of John’s baptism. It was the baptism of repentance. It did not lack grace. But Christ’s ministry is better than man’s.

Distinctions between the two baptisms.

1. John baptized in the name of the Messiah. Christ bade His disciples use another form.

2. They differ in extent-John baptized in the regions of Judaea, Christ bade His disciples to except none.

3. Christ’s baptism transcends John’s in the variety of persons.

4. Christ’s baptism is more operative since He has gone to His Father.

5. John’s baptism was good, Christ’s is necessary to the end of the world. (Hacket.)

1. John was jealous of our Saviour’s honour.

2. He confesses his vileness and inferiority. (Hacket.)

Faith is nothing else but a long-continued astonishment, which knows not how to utter itself, because the Lord hath done such marvellous things for us. (Hacket.)

Christ baptized

What so Divine an instigation to press us all to come unto the flood of living waters, to thirst for that immortal spring of grace than this, that the Son of God Himself did not decline to be partaker of the baptism of repentance. To make the sacrament virtuous and powerful for them that should take it after Him. That by His example, to undergo a new rite and ordinance, men might be drawn from old customs to newness of life. (Hacket.)

The baptism of Christ no degradation

As Caesar did not lessen his own dignity, because he would both command as General, and yet work in the trenches like the meanest pioneer, Dux confilio, miles exemplo; and as Helen, the mother of Constantine, was not under the honour of a princess, because she would dress the blains and ulcers of poor cripples in the hospital; so the mighty Son of God was not diminished in His glory, because He put Himself into the rank of abject ones by His own yielding and accord, not by compulsive necessity. (Hacket.)

I. We should sincerely feel the want of a divine redeemer. When Jesus demands baptism of John, the latter -publicly declares: “I have need to be baptized of Thee.”

II. We should acknowledge the wise counsels of God.

III. We should admire the grandeur and majesty with which jesus was encompassed. “We beheld our Saviour encompassed by a glory which transcends the most enchanting pageantry of nature. (From the Danish of Dr. Balle.)

The baptism of Jesus by John

I. The office of John was to awaken the conscience of mankind.

II. John had a ministry of separation.

III. John was a forerunner in pointing to Christ.

IV. John was to identify Christ. (Sermons by the Monday Club.)

The significance of our Saviour’s baptism

We can only allude to meanings which have been discovered in it; all of them, it may be, parts of its largest import. It “was to ratify the mission of John; it was to purify the water of baptism. Christ was ceremonially unclean, as representing sinners. St. Bernard sees in the baptism the exhibition of perfect humility; and Meyer, of perfect obedience. Still others look upon the baptism as an inaugural announcement, a formal identification, of His Person as the Messiah-an inauguration of His Messianic ministry. It is important to notice certain respects in which the baptism was unlike that of the people.

1. It was at the close of the day. He waited until all the penitents of that day had been baptized; in this, as in all else involving sin, separate from sinners.

2. John did not treat Christ as a sinner. He gave Him the remarkable testimony, “I have need to be baptized of Thee.”

3. At Jesus’ baptism there was no confession of sin. In the place of confession was a prayer.

4. The promised token, the descent of the Spirit as a dove, which abode upon Him, while a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Sermons by the Monday Club.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 3:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto John to be baptized of him.

Matthew Henry saw in the baptism of our Lord a mark of his wonderful humility. He said, "As soon as ever Christ began to preach, he preached humility, preached it by his example; designated for the highest honors; yet, in his first step, he thus abases himself."[6">Matthew 3:17.">[6]

With reference to WHY Christ was baptized, it should be noted that he was not baptized for the remission of sins (Hebrews 4:15), nor to set an example for people as to how they should "follow Christ in baptism" (Jesus was about 30 years of age). The reason assigned by the Lord was that it became him to "fulfill all righteousness." RIGHTEOUSNESS, in the Scriptural view, refers to keeping God's commandments or ordinances (Psalms 119:172 and Luke 1:8). Although Christ was sinless and needed not to be baptized for the usual reasons, yet he submitted to John's baptism because God had commanded it. How worthy of emulation is that sublime attitude of Jesus; and how unlike that attitude is that of men who set aside even the baptism that is greater than John's, making it a non-essential, an elective privilege, rather than receiving it for what it is, namely, a divinely-imposed condition of eternal salvation, which if spurned cannot fail to bring everlasting remorse.

The very fact that the ordinance of baptism was to be brought over into the New Covenant by the Lord Jesus and elevated to an even higher status than the ordinance enjoyed under the preaching of John would lead the student of the Bible to seek in Christ's baptism some traces or suggestions of that expanded significance that would accrue to baptism in the New Covenant. After Jesus was baptized, he began to pray publicly (Luke 3:21); the Holy Spirit descended upon him as he came forth up from the water (Matthew 3:16); and, immediately upon his baptism, God the Father publicly proclaimed Jesus as his Son. These facts certainly suggest that the Christian's baptism marks the beginning of a significant new prayer life, the reception of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6), and immediate enrollment in the Lamb's book of life!

ENDNOTE:

[6">Matthew 3:17.">[6] Matthew Henry, Commentary (Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell) on Matthew 3:17.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/matthew-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then cometh Jesus,.... That is, when John had been some time preaching the doctrine of repentance, and administering the ordinance of baptism; for which, time must be allowed, since he went into all the country about Jordan, and preached unto them, and baptized such large numbers: very probably it might be six months from his first entrance on his ministry; since there was this difference in their age, and so might be in their baptism and preaching. Now when John had given notice of the Messiah's coming, and so had prepared his way; had declared the excellency of his person, the nature of his work, and office, and had raised in the people an expectation of him,

then cometh Jesus from Galilee; from Nazareth of Galilee, Mark 1:9 where he had lived for many years, as the JewsF17Toldos Jesu, p. 6. themselves own; in great obscurity, in all obedience to God, in subjection to his parents, exercising a conscience void of offence towards God and man, and employing his time in devotion and business: from hence he came to Jordan to John, who was baptizing there; which shows the great humility of Christ, who comes to John, and does not send for him, though John was his servant, and he was his Lord and Master; and also his cheerful and voluntary subjection to the ordinance of baptism, since of himself, of his own accord, he took this long and fatiguing journey; for Nazareth, according to David de PomisF18Tzemach David, fol. 141. 2. , was three days journey from Jerusalem, though somewhat nearer Jordan; the end and design of his coming was

to be baptized of him. It may reasonably be inquired what should be Christ's view in desiring to be baptized; it could not be to take away original or actual sin, since he had neither; nor has baptism any such efficacy to do this, in those who have either or both: but, it was to show his approbation of John's baptism, and to bear a testimony of it, that it was from heaven; and also that he himself might receive a testimony both from heaven, and from John, that he was the Son of God and true Messiah, before he entered upon his public ministry, into which he was in some measure initiated and installed hereby; and moreover, to set an example to his followers, and thereby engage their attention and subjection to this ordinance; and, in a word, as he himself says, to fulfil all righteousness.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

7 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

(7) Christ sanctified our baptism in himself.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Matthew 3:13-17. Baptism of Christ and descent of the Spirit upon Him immediately thereafter. (= Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21, Luke 3:22; John 1:31-34).

Baptism of Christ (Matthew 3:13-15).

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him — Moses rashly anticipated the divine call to deliver his people, and for this was fain to flee the house of bondage, and wait in obscurity for forty years more (Exodus 2:11, etc.). Not so this greater than Moses. All but thirty years had He now spent in privacy at Nazareth, gradually ripening for His public work, and calmly awaiting the time appointed of the Father. Now it had arrived; and this movement from Galilee to Jordan is the step, doubtless, of deepest interest to all heaven since that first one which brought Him into the world. Luke (Luke 3:21) has this important addition - “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus being baptized,” etc. — implying that Jesus waited till all other applicants for baptism that day had been disposed of, ere He stepped forward, that He might not seem to be merely one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem upon an ass “whereon yet never man sat” (Luke 19:30), and lay in a sepulchre “wherein was never man yet laid” (John 19:41), so in His baptism, too. He would be “separate from sinners.”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Then cometh Jesus. Not named by Matthew since he was taken to Nazareth in childhood. From Luke we learn that he was subject to his parents, at twelve years of age astonished the doctors in the temple by his wisdom, and was now thirty years of age. He had worked in Nazareth as a carpenter.

Galilee. The northern part of Palestine, containing at this time, according at this time, according to Josephus, 240 towns and villages and an immense population.

To be baptized. He came for this purpose. He sought the rite.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Then cometh Jesus (τοτε παραγινεται ο Ιησουςtote paraginetai ho Iēsous). The same historical present used in Matthew 3:1. He comes all the way from Galilee to Jordan “to be baptized by him” (του βαπτιστηναι υπο αυτουtou baptisthēnai hupo autou). The genitive articular infinitive of purpose, a very common idiom. The fame of John had reached Nazareth and the hour has come for which Jesus has waited.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/matthew-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him2.
    JESUS BAPTIZED BY JOHN IN THE JORDAN. (Jordan east of Jericho, Spring of A.D. 27.) Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22

  1. The cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan. Tradition fixes upon a ford of Jordan east of Jericho as the place where Jesus was baptized. It is the same section of the river which opened for the passage of Israel under Joshua, and later for Elijah and Elisha. This ford is seventy or eighty miles from Nazareth.

  2. Unto John, to be baptized of him. He set out from Nazareth, intending to be baptized. Such was his intention before he heard John preach, and he was therefore not persuaded to do it by the preaching. His righteousness was not the result of human persuasion.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Here we have, at this verse, the introduction of the LORD of life and glory, in his public entrance upon his divine office, as the GOD-MAN Mediator. Luke, in his relation of this wonderful event, tells the Church, that at this time, JESUS himself began to be about thirty-years of age. Luke 3:23. Hence we learn that the SON of GOD waited the appointed time for the being manifested unto Israel. But let not the Reader suppose, that the long interval from his birth, to this public entrance upon his ministry, was spent without an eye to the redemption-work he became incarnate to perform. No doubt every act, and every incident, in the life of CHRIST, had respect to the great object for which he came. The poverty of his birth, the humbleness of his calling, as a carpenter, the meanness of his companions, to one who from all eternity had lain in the bosom of the FATHER No doubt, some great and special ends were intended from the whole. That sweet and precious scripture answers every enquiry, though it enters not into the full investigation of the cause: Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren. Hebrews 2:17. Precious JESUS! how ought such views to endear thee to thy people!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/matthew-3.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Ver. 13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee] Our Saviour came far to seek his baptism. Let not us think much of any pains taken, that we may partake of the ordinances. The Shunammite went (ordinarily) every sabbath and new moon, on horseback, to hear the prophet, 2 Kings 4:23. The good people in David’s time "passed through the valley of Baca," Psalms 84:6, from strength to strength, to see the face of God in Sion, though but in that dark glass of the ceremonies. And in Daniel’s time they ran to and fro "to increase knowledge," Daniel 12:4. In Zechariah’s days the inhabitants of one city went to another, saying, "Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also," Zechariah 8:21. Our Saviour took it ill that men came not as far to hear him as the queen of Sheba did to hear Solomon, Matthew 12:42. The eunuch came as far to worship in the temple, Acts 8:27. And of our forefathers in King Henry VIII’s time Mr Foxe saith thus: "To see their travels, earnest seeking, burning zeal, readings, watchings, sweet assemblies, love, concord, godly living, faithful marrying with the faithful, may make us now in these our days of free profession to blush for shame. George Eagles, martyr in Queen Mary’s days, for his great pains in travelling from place to place to confirm the brethren, was surnamed, ‘Trudge over the world.’" (Acts and Mon.)

To be baptized of him] Not for any need he had (for he was a Lamb without blemish of natural corruption, and without spot of actual transgression, 1 Peter 1:19), but merely for our benefit, to sanctify baptism to us, and to grace his own ordinance for us.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-3.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Baptism of Jesus.

The time had now come for Jesus to enter upon His ministry, to be inducted into His office by a public ceremony:

v. 13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

He now came forth from His concealment, while John was at the very height of his evangelistic career. He came down to John, not like the Pharisees and Sadducees, who really all the while rejected God's counsel against themselves, Luk_7:30, but in an open, friendly manner, to enter into amicable relations with him, and incidentally to receive Baptism at his hands. So far as His coming in itself was concerned, there was no difference between His desire for Baptism and that of the multitudes.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/matthew-3.html. 1921-23.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:13

The baptism of Christ was—

I. The proclamation of His human relationship to man, and of His human relationship to God. His development had reached its height. He was clearly conscious of His Divine nature. He was clearly conscious of His complete union with our nature. But His Divine nature, so far as its omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience—so far as all that could separate Him from sharing perfectly in our humanity—was concerned, was to remain uncommunicated as yet to His natural, growing humanity; while the perfect holiness, the perfect spiritual character of God, were to be exhibited unmarred, through the medium of His humanity. Hence His baptism was the formalized proclamation of His sinless human nature. He declared by that act that, as man, He submitted Himself to the will of His Father, as shown in the mission of the Baptist.

II. John's baptism prepared those who underwent it for admission into the kingdom which was at hand; it consecrated them to the new work of the new kingdom. In their case two conditions had to be fulfilled—repentance and a sense of sin. But these conditions were impossible to Christ. He had no sense of sin. He needed no repentance. The import of the rite was then different in His case. It consecrated Him King of the theocratic kingdom, and proclaimed to all men that His organization of that kingdom had begun. Thus, while the historical meaning of the rite varied with the subjects to whom it was administered, there was an element of preparation in it which was common to both. It consecrated the people to be members of the theocratic kingdom; it consecrated Christ to be the theocratic King; but it marked for both the commencement of a new course of life, in which the subjects of the Kingdom were to receive pardon and life; in which the King was to accomplish the work of salvation, and to bestow life upon His followers.

S. A. Brooke, Sermons, 1st series, p. 236.


References: Matthew 3:13-17.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., pp. 65, 224; Parker, Inner Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 90.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/matthew-3.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Matthew 3:13. To be baptized him By this he intended to do an honour to John's ministry, and to conform himself to what he appointed for his followers. It was for this last reason, that he drank of the sacramental cup. See Diodati. And certainly our Lord's baptism tended to promote the ends both of his own mission and of his forerunner's, as it established the authority of both. It established John'smission; great honour being done him by the Messiah's receiving his baptism. It established our Lord's mission also; for after he was baptized, the testimonies of the Spirit and voice from heaven, were given him in the presence of the multitude assembled at Jordan. That these testimonies should have been given him on this occasion, rather than on any other, was fit, because it was an august manner of opening our Lord's ministry; was the most public occasion which could be found; and pointed him out as the Messiah to the Baptist, who was thereby qualified for the principal duty of his mission. See Macknight.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/matthew-3.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here we have our Savior's solemn inauguration and public entrance upon this prophetic office, by baptism, or washing with water, according to the manner of the priests under the ceremonial law, Exodus 29:4.

Where we have observable, 1. The circumstance of time: Then cometh Jesus: that is, after he had lain hid in Nazareth thirty years he comes abroad, and enters upon his public ministry.

Teaching us by his example, That when we are ripe and fit for public service, we should no less willingly leave our obscurity, than we took the benefit of it for our preparation.

Observe, 2. The action itself, Christ is baptized now, as he was circumcised before; not because there was any impurity in him, either filth, or foreskin, which wanted either the circumcising knife, or the baptismal water; yet purity itself condescends to be washed, Christ to be baptized; for these reasons:

1. That by this symbol he might enter himself into the society of Christians, as by circumcision he had done into the society of Jews; as a king condescends sometimes to be made a free man of a city or corporation.

2. That he might by his own baptism sanctify the ordinance of baptism unto his church.

3. That thereby he might fulfil the righteousness of the ceremonial law, which required the washing of the priests in water, when they entered upon their office as appears from Exodus 29:4.

Observe, 3. The great condescension of Christ, in seeking and submitting to the baptism of John; Christ cometh to John, not John to Christ.

Behold! the Lord seeketh to his servant, Christ will be baptized of his messenger! Our Savior's design hereby no doubt was, to put honour upon the ministry of John.

Oh! how dare the greatest upon earth despise the ministry of man being appointed by God, which Christ honoured in his own person, and graced with his own presence!

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/matthew-3.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13. τοῦ βαπτ.] Why should our Lord, who was without sin, have come to a baptism of repentance? Because He was made sin for us: for which reason also He suffered the curse of the law. It became Him, being in the likeness of sinful flesh, to go through those appointed rites and purifications which belonged to that flesh. There is no more strangeness in His having been baptized by John, than in His keeping the Passovers. The one rite, as the other, belonged to sinners—and among the transgressors He was numbered. The prophetic words in Psalms 40:12, spoken in the person of our Lord, indicate, in the midst of sinlessness, the most profound apprehension of the sins of that nature which He took upon him. I cannot suppose the baptism to have been sought by our Lord merely to honour John (Kuinöel), or as knowing that it would be the occasion of a divine recognition of his Messiahship (Paulus), and thus preordained by God (Meyer): but bona fide, as bearing the infirmities and carrying the sorrows of mankind, and thus beginning here the triple baptism of water, fire, and blood, two parts of which were now accomplished, and of the third of which He himself speaks, Luke 12:50, and the beloved Apostle, 1 John 5:8, where πνεῦμα = πῦρ.

His baptism, as it was our Lord’s closing act of obedience under the Law, in His hitherto concealed life of legal submission, His πληρῶσαι πᾶσ. δικ., so was His solemn inauguration and anointing for the higher official life of mediatorial satisfaction which was now opening upon Him. See Romans 1:3-4. We must not forget that the working out of perfect righteousness in our flesh by the entire and spotless keeping of God’s law (Deuteronomy 6:25), was, in the main, accomplished during the thirty years previous to our Lord’s official ministry.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-3.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:13. τότε] at that time, when John thus preached the advent of the Messiah, and baptized the people, Matthew 3:1-12.

ἀπὸ τ. γαλιλ.] See Matthew 2:23. It belongs to παραγ. The position is different in Matthew 2:1.

τοῦ βαπτισθ. ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ] Jesus wished to be baptized by John (genitive, as in Matthew 2:13), but not in the personal feeling of sinfulness (B. Bauer, Strauss, Pécaut), or as the bearer of the guilt of others (Riggenbach, Krafft); not even because He, through His connection of responsibility with the unclean people, was unclean according to the Levitical law (Lange), or because He believed that He was obliged to regard the collective guilt of the nation as His guilt (Schenkel); just as little in order to separate Himself inwardly from the sins of the nation (Baumgarten), or make it certain that His σὰρξ ἀσθενείας should not be opposed to the life of the Spirit (Hofrnann, Weissag. und Erfüll. II. p. 82), or because the meaning of the baptism is: the declaration that He is subjected to death for the human race (Ebrard); not even to bring in here the divine decision as to His Messiahship (Paulus), or to lay the foundation for the faith of others in Him, so far as baptism is a symbol of the regeneration of those who confess Him (Ammon, L. J. I. p. 268), or in order to honour the baptism of John by His example (Calvin, Kuinoel, Keim), or to bind Himself to the observance of the law (Hofmann, Krabbe, Osiander); or because He had to conduct Himself, before the descent of the Spirit, merely as an Israelite in general. The opinion also of Schleiermacher, that the baptism of Jesus was the symbolical beginning of His announcement of Himself, and, at the same time, a recognition of John’s mission, is foreign to the text. The true meaning appears from Matthew 3:15, namely, because Jesus was consciously certain that He must, agreeably to God’s will, subject Himself to the baptism of His forerunner, in order (Matthew 3:16-17) to receive the Messianic consecration; that is, the divine declaration that He was the Messiah ( ἵνα ἀναδειχθῇ τῷ λαῷ, Euth. Zigabenus), and thereby to belong from that moment solely and entirely to this great vocation. The Messianic consciousness is not to be regarded as first commencing in Him at the baptism, so that He would be inwardly born, by means of baptism, to be the Messiah, and would become conscious of His divine destination, to full purification and regeneration as the new duty of His life; but the πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν, Matthew 3:15, presupposes a clear certainty regarding His vocation; and John’s relation to the same, as in general the existence of that consciousness, must have been the necessary result of His own consciousness, which had attained the maturity of human development, that He was the Son of God. But that baptism, to which He felt certain that He must submit Himself, was to be for Him the divine ordination to the Messiahship. It is clear, according to this, that His baptism was quite different from that of others, so far as in Him, as a sinless being, there could be no confession of sin; but the lustrative character of the baptism could only have the meaning, that from that moment He was taken away from all His previous relations of life which belonged to the earthly sphere, and became, altogether and exclusively, the Holy One of God, whom the Father consecrated by the Spirit. Although He was this God-sanctified One from the beginning, yet now, as He was aware that this was the will of God, He has, by the assumption of baptism, solemnly bound and devoted Himself to the full execution of His unique destiny,—a devotion which was already more than a vow (Keim), because it was the actual entrance into the Messianic path of life, which was to receive at the very threshold its divine legitimation for all future time. In so doing, He could, without any consciousness of guilt (Matthew 11:29), associate Himself, in all humility (Matthew 11:29), with the multitude of those whom the feeling of guilt impelled to baptism; because in His own consciousness there was still the negation of absolute moral goodness, to which He, long afterwards, expressly gave so decided expression (Matthew 19:17).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-3.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Christ, who now was about thirty years of age, Luke 3:23, cometh from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, where Joseph lived, Luke 2:4, and whither he went with, Joseph and Mary, Luke 2:39, and again after he had disputed with the doctors at twelve years of age, Luke 2:46; cometh from thence to Jordan, the great river, where John was baptizing disciples, offering himself to be baptized of him. He showed his humility by going to him, and also made the action public. If any ask to what end Christ, who had no sin, was baptized, himself gives us an account, Matthew 3:15, to fulfil all righteousness (of which more in its place). He thus owned John’s ministry and mission to baptize, and confirmed the institution of baptism by water, and offered himself to that testimony which he knew his Father would give of him. He thus initiated himself in the Christian church, as by circumcision he had made himself of the Jewish church, and so was the Head both of the believing Jews and Gentiles. He was not (as others) baptized in testimony of his repentance, or for the remission of sins, for he was without sin.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-3.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

§ 16. — BAPTISM OF JESUS, Matthew 3:13-17.

13.Then cometh Jesus — We have already remarked (Matthew 3:1) on the unacquaintance of John with Jesus, according to John 1:31-33.

Though the visible descent of the dove-form Spirit was to be a complete token to John alone, that does not prove that the descent was visible to John alone, or that the scene itself of the baptism was (as some commentators think) secret. A similar testimony to his Divine Sonship (John 12:28-29) was certainly not secret.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-3.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Then comes Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptised by him.’

Having described what is to be, Matthew now moves on to the first stage of its coming into fruition. Jesus travels from Galilee to where John is preaching by the Jordan in order to be baptised by him. This was an act of deliberate and determined choice. By it Jesus demonstrated that He thoroughly approved of the ministry of John, and saw it as the work of God on behalf of Israel. It was the picture of what God was about to do in Israel and He wanted to indicate that He was at one with His people in it. Being baptised by John was the right thing for all men to do, and therefore it was necessary for Him to be a part of it. For He must demonstrate that He was fully a man among men, and at one with all who sought righteousness. It is probable that He also saw the need for Him to admit the need for repentance, not on His own behalf, but on behalf of His people, as the One Who stood in their place to act as their Representative in order to plead on their behalf (see Isaiah 59:16-17; Isaiah 59:20). His was a representative repentance as he manifested His people’s repentance before God on their behalf.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/matthew-3.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:13. Than. Probably about six months after John began to preach; comp. Matthew 3:1.

Cometh, as in Matthew 3:1, a coming forth into public view.

From Galilee, from His home in Nazareth, a long distance.

To be baptised by him. Jesus who was sinless, came to a baptism ‘unto repentance.’ This condescension formed a part of the obedience to the Divine law (see Matthew 3:15), rendered by Him as a member of the Jewish nation. The Jews were baptized in token of uncleanness, so He, ‘numbered with the transgressors,’ must needs go through the rites and purifications prescribed for them. This act closes the concealed life of quiet subjection and legal submission, opening the public life of mediatorial satisfaction. Hence He was baptized, both to fulfil all righteousness and to receive the Divine attestation; certainly not merely to honor John.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 3:13. . .’ : then, after John had described the Messiah, appears on the scene ( , the historical present again, as in Matthew 3:1, with dramatic effect) from Galilee, where He has lived since childhood, Jesus, the real Christ; how widely different from the Christ conceived by the Baptist we know from the whole evangelic history. But shutting off knowledge gathered from other sources, we may obtain significant hints concerning the stranger from Galilee from the present narrative. He comes . ., . These words at once suggest a contrast between Jesus and the Pharisees and Sadducees. They came to the baptism as a phenomenon to be critically observed. Jesus comes to the Jordan ( ), towards the Baptist ( ) to enter into personal friendly relations with him (videJohn 1:1, ), in order to be baptised by him (genitive of the infinitive expressing purpose). Jesus comes thoroughly in sympathy with John’s movement, sharing his passion for righteousness, fully appreciating the symbolic significance of his baptism, and not only willing, but eager to be baptised; the Jordan in His mind from the day He leaves home. A very different person this from the leaders of Israel, Pharisaic or Sadducaic. But the sequel suggests a contrast also between Him and John himself.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-3.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Matthew 3:13. Then cometh Jesus — Who was now about thirty years of age, from Galilee — Where he had long lived, in a retired manner, unto John, to be baptized of him — Not in testimony of his repentance, or for the remission of sins, for, being without sin, he neither needed repentance nor remission; but that he might honour John’s ministry, and acknowledge his commission to baptize, and might confirm the institution of baptism by water. He thus, also, offered himself to receive that testimony which he knew his heavenly Father would give him, and conformed himself to what he appointed for his followers; for which last reason he drank likewise of the sacramental cup. Thus the apostolical constitutions inform us that Christ was baptized, not that he needed any purgation, but to testify the truth of John’s baptism, and to be an example to us. We may consider this as a plain argument that baptism may be rightly administered to, and received by those that are incapable of many of the chief ends of it, provided they be capable of some other end for which it also was designed. For Christ, being without sin, could neither repent nor promise amendment of life; being the wisdom of the Father, he could be taught nothing; being the Christ, he could not profess he would believe on him that should come after him, that is, on himself. He, therefore, was baptized, 1st, to testify that he owned the Baptist as one commissioned by God to perform this office; 2d, that by this rite he might profess his willingness to fulfil all righteousness; and, 3d, that by this he might be initiated into his prophetical office, and consecrated to the service of God. Therefore, though infants can neither be taught, nor believe, nor give the answer of a good conscience, at baptism, yet they may be baptized; 1st, that by this ceremony they may be obliged to observe the laws of that Jesus, into whose name they are baptized, even as, under the Mosaic dispensation, the infant, by virtue of circumcision, became a debtor to observe the whole law of Moses, Acts 15:5; Galatians 5:3; Galatians 2 dly, that by this rite they may enter into covenant with God, of which they are declared capable by Moses, Deuteronomy 29:11.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/matthew-3.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jesus. See App-98.

from = away from. Greek. apo.

Jordan = the Jordan.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. Moses rashly anticipated the divine call to deliver his people, and for this was fain to flee the house of bondage, and wait in obscurity for 40 years more (Exodus 2:11, etc.). Not so this Greater than Moses. All but thirty years had He now spent in privacy at Nazareth, gradually ripening for His public work, and calmly awaiting the time appointed of the Father. Now it had arrived; and this movement from Galilee to Jordan is the step, doubtless, of deepest interest to all heaven since that first one which brought Him into the world. Luke (Luke 3:21) has this important addition - "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus being baptized," etc.-implying that Jesus waited until all other applicants for baptism that day had been disposed of, before He stepped forward, that He might not seem to be merely one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem upon an donkey "whereon yet never man sat" (Luke 19:30), and lay in a sepulchre "wherein was never man yet laid" (John 19:41), so in His baptism too He would be "separate from sinners."

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

13. At that time Jesus. Matthew does not speak about the time from Nazareth (Matthew 2:23) until now. Luke speaks of Jesus in the Temple at twelve years old (Luke 2:41-50). He had worked in Nazareth as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Galilee. Josephus (the Jewish historian) says this northern area of Palestine contained 240 towns and villages and a huge population. Nazareth was one of the towns. To be baptized. This was to set an example, but especially to be identified (John 1:33). Jesus walked 60 or 70 miles to come here to be baptized.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) Then cometh Jesus.—We are brought here face to face with the question which the legend just quoted sought to answer, and cannot altogether turn aside from it: Why did the Lord Jesus come to the baptism of John? The Sinless One had no sin to confess, no need of repentance. We cannot even ascribe to Him that consciousness of evil which weighs upon the hearts of the saints of God almost in exact proportion to their holiness; yet we must believe that His righteousness was essentially human, and therefore capable of increase, even as He increased in wisdom and stature. Holy as He was at every stage of life in proportion to its capacities, there yet rose before Him height upon height of holiness as yet unattained, and after which we may say with reverence He “hungered and thirsted.” And for that attainment the baptism, which to others was a stepping-stone out of the slough of despond, might well seem a means, if not a condition. It was meet that He should fill up the full measure of righteousness in all its forms by accepting a divine ordinance, even, perhaps, because it seemed to place Him in fellowship with sinners.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
2:22; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21
Reciprocal: Matthew 3:6 - were;  John 1:15 - bare;  John 1:33 - I knew

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-3.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Jesus had spent his life through childhood and early manhood with his parents at Nazareth which was in Galilee. The time came when he was to enter upon his life"s work and he had reason for starting it with being baptized. There was only one man baptizing people then and that was John the Baptist, hence Jesus left his home and came into Judea where John was baptizing in the Jordan.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-3.html. 1952.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 3:13.That he might be baptized by him. For what purpose did the Son of God wish to be baptized? This may be learned, in some measure, from his answer. We have already assigned a special reason. He received the same baptism with us, in order to assure believers, that they are ingrafted into his body, and that they are “buried with him in baptism,” that they may rise to “newness of life,” (Romans 6:4.) But the end, which he here proposes, is more extensive: for thus it became him to fulfill all righteousness, (Matthew 3:15.) The word righteousness frequently signifies, in Scripture, the observation of the law: and in that sense we may explain this passage to mean that, since Christ had voluntarily subjected himself to the law, it was necessary that he should keep it in every part. But I prefer a more simple interpretation. “Say nothing for the present,” said our Lord, “about my rank: (292) for the question before us is not, which of us deserves to be placed above the other. (293) Let us rather consider what our calling demands, and what has been enjoined on us by God the Father.” The general reason why Christ received baptism was, that he might render full obedience to the Father; and the special reason was, that he might consecrate baptism in his own body, that we might have it in common with him.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/matthew-3.html. 1840-57.