Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:15

But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he *permitted Him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Baptism;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   John;   Obedience;   Scofield Reference Index - Christ;   Thompson Chain Reference - John the Baptist;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Baptism;   Humility of Christ, the;   Jordan, the River;   Obedience to God;   Righteousness;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Jesus christ;   John the baptist;   Justification;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Baptize, Baptism;   Church, the;   Jesus Christ;   Righteousness;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Hutchinsonians;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Baptism of Christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Alpha;   Baptism;   Covenant;   Jesus Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Fulfill;   John;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Ordinances;   Righteousness;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Holy Spirit;   John the Baptist;   Jordan;   Law;   Mss;   Righteousness;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Atonement (2);   Authority in Religion;   Boyhood of Jesus;   Brotherhood (2);   Confession (of Sin);   Cosmopolitanism;   Doctrines;   Endurance;   Enthusiasm;   Fulfilment;   Humanity of Christ;   John the Baptist;   Lawlessness;   Manuscripts;   Naturalness;   Obedience (2);   Old Testament (I. Christ as Fulfilment of);   Old Testament (Ii. Christ as Student and Interpreter of).;   Prayer (2);   Premeditation;   Presentation ;   Propitiation (2);   Redemption (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Righteousness;   Simple, Simplicity ;   King James Dictionary - Call;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   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 - Become;   Fulfil;   John the Baptist;   Law in the New Testament;   Obedience of Christ;   Self-Surrender;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Baptism;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for September 5;   Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for February 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

To fulfill all righteousness - That is, Every righteous ordinance: so I think the words πασαν δικαιοσυνην should be translated; and so our common version renders a similar word, Luke 1:6. The following passage, quoted from Justin Martyr, will doubtless appear a strong vindication of this translation. "Christ was circumcised, and observed all the other ordinances of the law of Moses, not with a view to his own justification; but to fulfill the dispensation committed to him by the Lord, the God and Creator of all things." - Wakefield.

How remarkable are the following words of Creeshna (an Incarnation of the Supreme God, according to the Hindoo theology) related in the Bhagvat Geeta, p. 47. Addressing his disciple Arjoon, he says, "I myself, Arjoon, have not, in the three regions of the universe, any thing which is necessary for me to perform; nor any thing to obtain, which is not obtained; and yet I live in the exercise of the moral duties. If I were not vigilantly to attend to those duties, all men would presently follow my example. If I were not to perform the moral actions, this world would fail in their duties: I should be the cause of spurious births, and should drive the people from the right way. As the ignorant perform the duties of life from a hope of reward, so the wise man, out of respect to the opinions and prejudices of mankind, should perform the same without motives of interest. The wise man, by industriously performing all the duties of life, should induce the vulgar to attend to them."

The Septuagint use this word often for the Hebrew משפת mishpat, judgment, appointment. And in Ezekiel 18:19, Ezekiel 18:21, the person who δικαιοσυνην και ελεος πεποιηκε - hath done righteousness and mercy, is he who sacredly attended to the performance of all the religious ordinances mentioned in that chapter, and performed them in the genuine spirit of mercy. Δικαιωματα is used 1 Maccabees 1:13, 49; 2:21, and in Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:10, to denote religious ceremonies. Michaelis supposes that חק כל kol chok, all religious statutes or ordinances, were the words used in the Hebrew original of this Gospel.

But was this an ordinance? Undoubtedly: it was the initiatory ordinance of the Baptist's dispensation. Now, as Christ had submitted to circumcision, which was the initiatory ordinance of the Mosaic dispensation, it was necessary that he should submit to this, which was instituted by no less an authority, and was the introduction to his own dispensation of eternal mercy and truth. But it was necessary on another account: Our Lord represented the high priest, and was to be the high priest over the house of God: - now, as the high priest was initiated into his office by washing and anointing, so must Christ: and hence he was baptized, washed, and anointed by the Holy Ghost. Thus he fulfilled the righteous ordinance of his initiation into the office of high priest, and thus was prepared to make an atonement for the sins of mankind.

Then he suffered him - In the Opus Imperfectum, quoted by Griesbach, there is the following addition, which, at least, may serve to show the opinion of its author: Et Johannes quidem baptizauit ilium in aqua, ille autem Johannem cum Spiritu. "Then John baptized him with water, and he baptized John with the Spirit."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/matthew-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thus it becometh us - It is suitable and proper. And though you may feel yourself unworthy, yet it is proper it should be done.

All righteousness - There was no particular precept in the Old Testament requiring this, but he chose to give the sanction of his example to the baptism of John, as to a divine ordinance. The phrase “all righteousness,” here, is the same as a righteous institution or appointment. Jesus had no sin. But he was about to enter on his great work. It was proper that he should be set apart by his forerunner, and show his connection with him, and give his approbation to what John had done. He submitted to the ordinance of baptism, also, in order that occasion might be taken, at the commencement of his work, for God publicly to declare his approbation of him, and his solemn appointment to the office of the Messiah.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Matthew 3:15

Then he suffered Him.
-When the pilot of a ship will not turn his sail to the winds, nor observe how to let a turbulent wave pass by him, he splits his vessel; therefore the conclusion of the point shall be with Solomon, A haughty spirit goes before a fall; and it savours much more of a Christian mildness to be easily drawn off from our own imaginations than to hold a stiff opinion in our teeth,
in despite as it were of all wise persuasions. (Hacker.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 3:15". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But Jesus, answering, said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

This was equivalent to saying, "Yes, I know I have no sins to be repented of and that I might claim an exemption from this duty proclaimed by the authority of God and binding upon all men; but, since this is God's ordinance, I wish to honor it anyway and am delighted to do so by obeying the commandment now."

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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

And Jesus answering, said unto him,.... This is an Hebrew way of speaking, often used in the Old Testament, and answers to ויאמר יען; see Job 3:1. He replied to John, who had made use of very forbidding words, after this manner,

suffer it to be so now; let me have my request; do not go on to object, but comply with my desire; let it be done now, immediately, directly, at this present time; do not put me off with any excuse; it is a proper season for it, even "now", since the time is not yet come that I am to baptize with the Holy Ghost; and besides, thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. It became John to administer the ordinance of baptism to Christ, as he was his forerunner, and the only administrator of it, and that he might fulfil the ministry which he had received; and as it became Christ to fulfil all righteousness, moral and ceremonial, and baptism being a part of his Father's will, which he came to do, it became him to fulfil this also. And since it became Christ, it cannot be unbecoming us to submit to this ordinance; and since he looked upon it as a part of righteousness to be fulfilled by him, it ought to be attended to by all those who would be accounted followers of him. Christ having strongly urged the conveniency and equity of the administration of baptism to him, which showed his eager desire after it, and the lowliness of his mind; and John being convinced, and overcome by the force of his reasoning, agrees to his baptism;

then he suffered him, i.e. to be baptized in water by him, as he had requested, and accordingly did administer it to him.

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil n all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

(n) All such things as it has appointed for us to keep.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now — “Let it pass for the present”; that is, “Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for the seeming incongruity is startling; but in the present case do as thou art bidden.”

for thus it becometh us — “us,” not in the sense of “me and thee,” or “men in general,” but as in John 3:11.

to fulfil all righteousness — If this be rendered, with Scrivener, “every ordinance,” or, with Campbell, “every institution,” the meaning is obvious enough; and the same sense is brought out by “all righteousness,” or compliance with everything enjoined, baptism included. Indeed, if this be the meaning, our version perhaps best brings out the force of the opening word “Thus.” But we incline to think that our Lord meant more than this. The import of circumcision and of baptism seems to be radically the same. And if our remarks on the circumcision of our Lord (see on Luke 2:21-24) are well founded, He would seem to have said, “Thus do I impledge Myself to the whole righteousness of the Law - thus symbolically do enter on and engage to fulfil it all.” Let the thoughtful reader weigh this.

Then he suffered him — with true humility, yielding to higher authority than his own impressions of propriety.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

15. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

[Thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.] That is, 'that we fulfil every thing that is just.' Now in the baptism of Christ there were these two just things especially:--I. That this great priest, being initiated into his ministerial office, should answer the type of the admission of the Levitical priests, who were initiated by washing and anointing; so was he by baptism, and the Holy Ghost. II. When, by the institution of Christ, those that entered into the profession of the gospel were to be introduced by baptism, it was just, yea, necessary, that Christ, being to enter into the same profession, and to preach it too, should be admitted by baptism.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/matthew-3.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

Suffer it to be so now. The term "now" implies that the relation of Jesus to his work made it proper that now he should be baptized. It is true that baptism was for sinners; Jesus was sinless; but he humbled himself, accepted the burden of human duties, and must set a perfect example to men. He obeyed the Jewish law, and it was needful also that he obey the Divine rite that John had inaugurated.

Thus it becometh us. In order to fulfill all righteousness, show forth a perfect obedience, set a perfect example, it became him to submit to the institution of baptism, and it became John to administer it to him. "Us" refers to Jesus and John.

Copyright Statement
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 3:15". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

To fulfil all righteousness (πληρωσαι πασαν δικαιοσυνηνplērōsai pāsan dikaiosunēn). The explanation of Jesus satisfies John and he baptizes the Messiah though he has no sins to confess. It was proper (πρεπονprepon) to do so else the Messiah would seem to hold aloof from the Forerunner. Thus the ministries of the two are linked together.

Copyright Statement
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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness — It becometh every messenger of God to observe all his righteous ordinances. But the particular meaning of our Lord seems to be, that it becometh us to do (me to receive baptism, and you to administer it) in order to fulfil, that is, that I may fully perform every part of the righteous law of God, and the commission he hath given me.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it] now1: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness3. Then he suffereth him5.

  1. But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it] now. Permit me for this moment to appear as your inferior. The future will make plain and clear the difference between us, both as to our missions and our natures. The words show a Messianic consciousness on the part of Jesus.

  2. For thus it becometh us us. Some take the word "us" as referring to Jesus and John, the clause "to fulfil all righteousness" shows that "us" refers to Jesus, and he uses the plural to show that it also becometh all of us.

  3. To fulfil all righteousness. Jesus came not only to fulfill all the requirements of the law, but also all that wider ranger of righteousness of which the law was only a part. (1) Though John's baptism was no part of the Mosaic ritual, it was, nevertheless, a precept of God, given by his prophet (John 1:33). Had Jesus neglected or refused to obey this precept he would have lacked a portion of the full armor of righteousness, and the Pharisees would have hastened to strike him at this loose joint of his harness (
  4. Mt 21:23-27). (2) It was the divinely appointed method by which the Messiahship of Jesus was to be revealed to the witness John (John 1:33,34). We should note here that those who fail to obey God's ordinance of baptism fail (1) to follow the example of Jesus in fulfilling the divine will and precepts (2) to obey one of the positive commands of almighty God spoken by his own Son.

  5. Then he suffereth him. John's humility caused him to shrink from this duty, but did not make him willfully persist in declining it. Humility ceases to be a virtue when it keeps us from performing our allotted tasks.

Copyright Statement
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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

To fulfil all righteousness; to carry into full effect every divine institution.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/matthew-3.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Suffer it to be so

Why one who needed no repentance should insist upon receiving a rite which signified confession (Matthew 3:6) and repentance (Matthew 3:11) is nowhere directly explained. It may be suggested:

(1) That Jesus was now to receive His anointing with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16) unto His threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. In the Levitical order Exodus 29:4-7 the high priest was first washed, then anointed. While Christ's priestly work did not begin till He "offered Himself without spot to God" Hebrews 9:14 and His full manifestation as the King- Priest after the order of Melchizedek awaits the kingdom (See Scofield "Genesis 14:18") yet He was then anointed, once for all.

(2) But John's baptism was the voice of God to Israel, and the believing remnant responded (Matthew 3:5). It was an act of righteousness on the part of Him who had become, as to the flesh, an Israelite, to take His place with this believing remnant.

righteousness (See Scofield "1 John 3:7").

Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Matthew 3:15". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/matthew-3.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Ver. 15. Suffer it to be so now] Or, let be now: for the Baptist seems to have laid hands upon Christ to keep him off. {a} Our Saviour assents to that John had said, but yet shows cause why he should suffer it so to be for the present.

To fulfil all righteousness] Not legal only, and of equality, but that of his present condition also, and of equity; to the end that all kind of sinners might have all kind of comfort in Christ, an absolute and all-sufficient Saviour.

Then he suffered him] The wisdom from above is gentle, and easy to be persuaded, when better reason is alleged, ευπειθης, James 3:17 : as in Peter, John 13:8, first peremptory, but after conviction pliable. A humble man will never be a heretic: show him his error, and he will soon retract it. Joannes Bugenhagius (a reverend Dutch divine) lighting upon Luther’s book de Captivitate Babylonica, and reading some few pages of it as he sat at supper, rashly pronounced him the most pestilent and pernicious heretic that ever the Church had been troubled with since the times of Christ. But a few days after, having seriously read over the book, and well weighed the business, he returned to his collegioners, and recanted what he had said among them; affirming and proving that Luther only was in the light, and all the world besides in gross darkness, so that many of them were converted by him to the truth. (Scultet. Annal.) Joannes Denckius (a learned Bavarian) held this heresy, that no man or devil should be damned eternally, because God willeth that all should be saved: and Christ saith, "There shall be one shepherd and one sheep-fold." But being a humble minded man, he was convinced and converted by Oecolampadius, and died of the plague (but piously) at Basil, A.D. 1528. Of Swenckfeldius the heretic, because he prayed ardently, and lived unblameably, Bucholcerus the chronologer was wont to say that his heart was good, but his head not well regulated. {b} But how that could be, I see not, so long as he lived and died in his detestable opinions, and would not forego them. If the leprosy were gotten into the head, the priest was to pronounce such utterly unclean, Leviticus 13:44. And the prophet pronounceth his soul that is lifted up with pride and pertinace not to be upright in him, Habakkuk 2:4.

{a} Consentaneum est, iniecta manu Ioannem conatum vetare Iesum. Erasmus.

{b} Non defuisse Swenckfeldio cor bonum sed caput regulatum.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-3.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

So Jesus overrules John's objection:

v. 15. And Jesus, answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.

Obedience and fulfillment were the outstanding traits of the Messiah's vicarious work. In applying these, He could brook no opposition. Every righteous ordinance, all religious usages that were enjoined upon the people. He wanted to fulfill. This Jesus gently, but firmly urged. It was the proper, the right, and the expedient thing to do. And so John acquiesced.

From ancient times the teachers of the Church have found here a wider, larger reference. "Jesus says:... If that shall be performed that the poor sinners may come to righteousness and be saved, you must baptize Me. Because for the sake of sinners I have become a sinner, must therefore do what God has charged the sinners to do, in order that they may become just through Me."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/matthew-3.html. 1921-23.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:15

I. We see from the text how faithfully Jesus observed the forms and duties of religion. Nothing invests the ordinary means of grace with such importance as to see our Lord, like one of ourselves, observing them. He was independent of all means, and stood in no need of such aids. Yet, able to walk without these crutches, He stoops to our condition, that He may teach us, by His own example, the devout, diligent use of all the means of grace. (1) He prayed. (2) He punctually attended worship in the house of God.

II. Let me exhort you to the diligent use of these means of grace. Can anything be plainer than this, that if our blessed Lord did not neglect the means of grace, much less should we, can we, afford to do so?

III. Let me exhort you to a devout use of these means of grace. For true religion does not lie in them. If religion be not in the heart it is nowhere. Trust not in mere outward duties, the most scrupulous and punctual attention to them. We are to use the means of grace diligently, yet devoutly, in dependence on the grace of God, that, bringing us into His presence and under His sanctifying power, we may be saved, not only from the punishment, but from the thraldom and love, of sin.

IV. In setting Christ before you as your pattern as well as propitiation, I am not calling you to a hopeless task. It is not by fits and starts that men become holy. It is not occasional, but prolonged, continuous, and lifelong efforts that are required; to be daily at it, always at it; resting but to renew the work; falling but to rise again. It is not with a rush and a spring that we are to reach Christ's character, attain to perfect saint-ship; but step by step, foot by foot, hand over hand, we are slowly, and often painfully, to mount the ladder, that rests on earth and rises to heaven.

T. Guthrie, The Way to Life, p. 175.


References: Matthew 3:15.—J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 3rd series, p. 74. Matthew 3:16.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 63. Matthew 3:16, Matthew 3:17.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvi., No. 909; A. Barry, Cheltenham College Sermons, p. 243. Matthew 3:17.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 289. Matt 3—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 79.



Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/matthew-3.html.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

These words contain our Saviours's reason why he submitted to John's baptism, because it became him to fulfil all righteousness; that is, to own every divine institution, particularly the righteousness of the ceremonial law, which required the washing of the priests in water, when they entered upon their office, Exodus 29:4.

Learn hence, 1. That whatever the law required in order to perfect righteousness, that Christ fulfilled in most absolute perfection.

2. That as it became Christ to fulfil the righteousness of the ceremonial law for himself, so it is our duty and interest to fulfil the righteousness of the moral law for ourselves, as an exidence of our being righteous in God's sight, He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 1 John 3:7

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". 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

15. ἀποκριθείς] Bp. Wordsworth remarks, on this, the first occurrence of this very common form, that it is stigmatized by the grammarians as a solecism. The passage is in Phrynichus, Eclog. ed. Lobeck, p. 108,— ἀποκριθῆναι διττὸν ἁμάρτημα. ἔδει γὰρ λέγειν ἀποκρίνασθαι, καὶ εἰδέναι ὅτι τὸ διαχωρισθῆναι σημαίνει, ὥσπερ οὖν καὶ τὸ ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ, τὸ συγκριθῆναι, εἰς ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸν ἐλθεῖν. εἰδὼς οὖν τοῦτο, ἐπὶ μὲν τὸ ἀποδοῦναι τὴν ἐπερώτησιν, ἀποκρίνεσθαι λέγε, ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ διαχωρισθῆναι, τὸ ἀποκριθῆναι.

ἄρτι] The exact meaning is difficult. It cannot well be that which the E. V. at first sight gives, that something was to be done now, inconsistent with the actual and hereafter-to-be-manifested relation of the two persons. Rather—‘though what has been said (Matthew 3:14) is true, yet the time is not come for that:as yet, ἄρτι, now, are we in another relation (viz. our Lord as the fulfiller of the law, John as a minister of it), therefore suffer it.’ So Chrysostom: οὐ διηνεκῶς ταῦτα ἔσται, ἀλλʼ ὄψει με ἐν τούτοις οἷς ἐπιθυμεῖς· ἄρτι μέντοι ὑπόμεινον τοῦτο (Hom. xii. 1, p. 161), ‘This ἄρτι is spoken from the Lord’s foreknowledge, that this relation of subjection to John was only temporary, and that hereafter their relative situations would be inverted.’ Meyer. Stier remarks (Reden Jesu, vol. i. p. 14, edn. 2), that now was fulfilled the prophetic announcement of Psalms 40:7-8.

ἡμῖν] not for μοί, but for μοὶ καὶ σοί. I cannot help thinking that this word glances at the relationship and previous acknowledged destinations of the speakers. It has however a wider sense, as spoken by Him who is now first coming forth officially as the Son of Man, extending over all those whose baptism plants them in his likeness, Romans 6:1-23. See Stier, ibid.

δικαιοσύνην] requirements of the law. See ch. Matthew 6:1, where the sense is general, as here.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-3.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1285

FULFILLING ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS

Matthew 3:15. Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.

TO consult, in difficult circumstances, the judgment of wise and good men, is doubtless very advisable: but to place implicit confidence in any is not expedient; since even the best of men may err. We have a very remarkable instance of the fallacy of human judgment, in the case of the Apostle Peter; who would have dissuaded the Lord Jesus from subjecting himself to those sufferings which were about to come upon him; and who, on account of the carnality of his sentiments, incurred the marked displeasure of his Lord [Note: Matthew 16:21-23.]. We do not impute any measure of such blame to John the Baptist, for the unwillingness he expressed to comply with the wishes of our Lord: for he was evidently under the influence of a most becoming spirit, and had good grounds for the advice he offered: but still he erred; and our blessed Lord overruled his objections, declaring, that the administration of baptism to him at that time was a measure not only expedient, but necessary: for that “thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness.”

The precise force of our Lord’s assertion not being perfectly clear, I shall,

I. Confirm it as a truth, in relation to our Lord—

John, feeling his own utter unworthiness to administer baptism to our blessed Lord, and having in his mind a persuasion that, however needful baptism was for others, it could not be so for Jesus, declined to execute the office that was assigned him. And, so far as Jesus alone was concerned, the judgment of John was right: for the rite of baptism imported, that the person receiving that ordinance needed to be washed from sin, and to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and to be saved by the Messiah who should come. But Jesus had no sin to wash away, nor any need to be either regenerated or saved; and, consequently, he could have no need of this ordinance, which was intended to shadow forth, and to impart, those blessings unto men. Yet did our Lord say what was strictly true, when, in reference to this very ordinance, he spoke of the observance of it by himself as a necessary part of that righteousness which he had come to fulfil. It was so,

1. Because he stood in the place of sinners—

[The Lord Jesus Christ having undertaken the great work of our redemption, had “the iniquities of the whole world laid upon him; and therefore, as the representative of sinners, he needed all which was needed by those whom he undertook to save. Hence he had in his infancy submitted to circumcision, which was of precisely the same import as baptism. So, at the close of his ministry, he endured the full penalties of the broken law, suffering all that we deserved to suffer at the hands of a righteous and offended God. He needed not on his own account to drink this bitter cup: but, when he was found in the place of sinners, those sufferings could not be dispensed with. “Seeing, therefore, that the cup could not pass away from him,” he drank it to the very dregs. Every part of his humiliation, from the first to the last, was necessary, for the full attainment of his end: and therefore baptism, as an essential part of that humiliation, was required by him, in order to the completion of that righteousness which he had undertaken to fulfil.]

2. Because it became him to give his public attestation to the divine mission of John—

[John had been sent into the world as his forerunner, to announce his advent, and to call men’s attention to him as the true Messiah [Note: John 1:31.]. Moreover, John had been informed, that the person who was to sustain that high office should be made known to him by a visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon him [Note: John 1:29-33.]: and this descent was to be at the time of our Saviour’s baptism. Now, if Jesus had not submitted to the ordinance of baptism, the ends of John’s mission would have been defeated. For Jesus was not personally known to John: and it was only by this miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost upon him that he was to be distinguished: and, consequently, the plan which Jehovah had adopted for the manifestation of his Son would, so far as the Baptist’s testimony was concerned, have been altogether frustrated. In order, therefore, that the mission of John might produce the effects proposed, Jesus overruled the objections of John, and received at his hands the ordinance which he was commissioned to administer.]

3. Because it was the appointed means of his own solemn consecration to God—

[There were two ways in which the Lord Jesus was to be consecrated to his office: the one was by an effusion of the Holy Ghost upon him (as the typical high priests were by a holy unction); and the other was by an audible voice from heaven, bearing testimony to him as the person sent of God to be the Saviour of the world. Now these two attestations from above were of vast importance, not only for the satisfaction of John, but also for the satisfaction of the whole world. Besides, this effusion of “the Spirit, which was given to him without measure [Note: John 3:34.],” was given in order to qualify him, as it were, for the discharge of his high office. It had been said by the prophet, that God would “anoint him” to his office [Note: Isaiah 61:1.]: and that there “should rest upon him a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of might, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and that God would make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.” Now though, as God, he possessed “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily [Note: Isaiah 11:2-3.],” yet, as man, and as Mediator, he needed to be thus qualified by the gifts of the Holy Spirit: and therefore on this account, as well as for the reasons before mentioned, it was necessary he should comply with the ordinance that had been enjoined, and not be diverted from his purpose by the well-meant, but mistaken, scruples of the Baptist. In truth, from the administration of this ordinance to him, and the consequent testimony borne to him by the Father and the Holy Spirit, we have an evidence of his Messiahship, which ought to carry conviction to every mind of man [Note: 2 Peter 1:16-18.].]

Having explained our Lord’s assertion, as referring personally to him, I shall,

II. Enforce it as a duty, in reference to ourselves—

When our Lord says, “It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness,” we must consider the obligation as extending, of course, to every child of man. And certainly this obligation does attach to us,

1. As creatures of God—

[The whole intelligent creation are under obligation to serve and obey the Lord. Whether the command given them be moral, and necessarily arising from their relation to him, or merely positive, arising from the arbitrary appointment of heaven, it makes no difference: they are equally bound to fulfil whatever they know to be his will. Adam was as much bound to abstain from eating the forbidden fruit, as he was to love his God. And so it is with us: we must fulfil all righteousness: however humiliating the command be, or whatever our obedience may expose us to, we have no alternative: we must yield a cheerful and determined obedience to it. It was beyond measure humiliating to the Lord Jesus Christ to submit to a rite which made him appear to be a sinner like unto us, and gave reason to all around him to suppose that he needed a Saviour like unto us. Yet he regarded not what men might say or think respecting him: he determined to submit to the ordinance, and would not be dissuaded from his purpose. Thus men may think and say of us, that we are weak, enthusiastic, absurd: but we must know no authority but God’s, and have no standard for our actions but his revealed will: and our determination, through grace, must be to “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God [Note: Colossians 4:12.].”]

2. As followers of Christ—

[Though the Lord Jesus Christ has purchased for us the remission of our sins, and we have been “baptized into his name for the remission of sins [Note: Luke 3:3. with Acts 22:16.];” yet we are in no respect absolved from our obedience to God, nor is any one duty we owe to him in any measure relaxed. On the contrary, our obligations to holiness are, if possible, increased; since the very end of Christ’s mediation was “to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works [Note: Titus 2:14.].” Besides, he came to “set us an example, that we should follow his steps [Note: 1 Peter 2:21.].” Was “he then without sin; and was he without guile [Note: 1 Peter 2:22.]?” We should, as far as possible, resemble him; and neither do any thing, nor forbear any thing, but in perfect accordance with the commands of God. If we profess to belong to him, we must “walk in all things as he walked [Note: 1 John 2:6.].”]

3. As hoping for a testimony from God in the last day—

[We all of us look for a future judgment, wherein “the inmost counsels of our hearts will be made manifest,” and “every man will be dealt with according to his works.” Then will God bear witness to his faithful and obedient servants; saying, “Well done, good and faithful servants; enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” But how can we hope for such a testimony from him, if we have any reserves in our obedience to him? How can he say, “This is a beloved son of mine, in whom I am well pleased,” if he has seen in us any wilful departure from his ways? How can he acknowledge us as “Israelites indeed, if we have not been without guile?” Know then, my brethren, what your duty is, and how it must be performed, if ever you would be approved of your God in that day. Verily, “it becometh every one of us to fulfil all righteousness:” and if there be any reserve whatever in our minds, instead of being approved of God as his children, we shall be condemned by him as hypocrites. “A right hand or a right eye” that is retained contrary to his command will inevitably subject us to his everlasting displeasure. It will be to no purpose to say, that, whilst following our superiors in rank and learning, we concluded we were acting right: for “the rulers of the Jewish nation rejected the counsel of God against themselves, by refusing the baptism of John;” whilst the publicans and harlots availed themselves thankfully of the proffered benefit [Note: Luke 7:29-30. Matthew 21:31-32.]. And, if Christ himself thus withstood the current of public example in his day; and sanctioned, by his conduct, the more duteous deportment of the lower classes; so should we, unawed and uninfluenced by the whole world, determine, with God’s help, to “follow the Lord fully,” and to sanction nothing which God himself will not approve. We should prefer entering heaven with publicans and harlots, to the being excluded from it with the great and mighty of the earth. To the approbation of God alone should we look; and with the prospect of that we should be content.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/matthew-3.html. 1832.

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

Matthew 3:15. ἄρτι] now, suffer it just now. The antithesis of time is here not that of the past (see on Galatians 1:9), but of the future, as in John 13:37; 1 Corinthians 13:12. Chrysostom: οὐ διηνεκῶς ταῦτα ἔσται. ἀλλʼ ὄψει με ἐν τούτοις οἷς ἐπιθυμεῖς· ἄρτι μέντοι ὑπόμεινον τοῦτο.

The meaning: “sine paulisper” (Fritzsche), comp. de Wette: “let it be for once,” is not sufficient. Schneckenburger, p. 122, regards the ἄφες as having been inappropriately transferred from the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Erroneously, as it there belongs (in the sense: let it remain) to the apocryphal addition, according to which John, after the baptism of Jesus, prays the latter to baptize him; and Jesus answers: ἄφες, ὅτι οὕτως ἐστὶ πρέπον πληρωθῆναι πάντα (Epiphanius, Haer. xxx. 13). This apocryphal outgrowth is manifestly a farther spinning out of the tradition, as recorded in Matthew. Several of the Fathers likewise inferred from ἄρτι, in our verse, that John was afterwards baptized by Jesus.

ἡμῖν] to thee and to me. To refer it merely to Jesus (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Glöckler), or, in the first place to Jesus (de Wette, Bleek), is opposed to the context. See Matthew 3:14.

πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην] all righteousness, all which as duty it is obligatory on us to do. Ch. F. Fritzsche in Fritzschior. Opusc. p. 81. Comp. πληρ. εὐσέβειαν, 4 Maccabees 14:15. If I do not allow myself to be baptized, and thou dost not baptize me, there remains something unfulfilled (therefore, οὕτω) which ought to be done by us, in accordance with the divine will; then satisfaction is not made by us to all righteousness. Comp. on πᾶσαν the plural expression δικαιοσύναι in Sirach 44:10; Job 2:13.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 3:15. ἄφες, permit) He courteously reduces John to silence. The word ἀφίησιν, he permits, at the end of the verse, refers to this.— ἄρτι, now) sc. without delay, this once.— οὕτω, thus) as I have come to thee.— πρέπον, becoming) That, which did not to John appear becoming, was in reality especially so, because it was righteous. The propriety which is manifested in all the counsels and works of God, claims our attention and admiration. See Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 7:26. The discourses and actions of Christ are pre-eminently conspicuous for that propriety, which, so well expressed by the Evangelists, affords a proof that they wrote under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, since it could not have been the product of human genius, however exalted.— ἡμῖν, to us) Our Lord speaks as if He were not yet fully known by John. It becomes Me, as the principal; thee, as the minister. In the mind of Jesus it might also have this sense, “It becomes Me and My Father that I should fulfil all righteousness.” See Matthew 5:17, and cf. Hebrews 2:10.— πληρῶσαι, to fulfil) all righteousness. This is effected, not by John and Jesus, but by Jesus alone, who undertook that very thing in His baptism; whence the appellation, “baptism,” is transferred also to His passion, Luke 12:50.— πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην, all righteousness) i.e. all the component parts of righteousness; and therefore this part also, the earnest of the other greater parts. In accordance with the particular view of righteousness, it would seem that John should be baptized by Jesus: in accordance with the universal compass of righteousness, the matter was inverted. Jesus uttered the words here recorded, instead of that which others who were baptized, being sinners, confessed concerning their sins. Such a speech suited none save the Messiah Himself. In matters even the most humble, the Son of God watches over the right of His own majesty. See John 13:7, seqq., John 14:30, John 18:5, John 20:36.— τότε, then) sc. forthwith.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Jesus said unto him, Suffer it to be so now. The question is not whether thou or I be more excellent. It is thy duty to baptize, for my Father hath sent thee to baptize. It is my pleasure and duty to be obedient to my Father, whose will I know, though it be hidden from thee. Baptism is a new law of the gospel church, of which though I be the Head, yet I must be conformed to the members of it, concerning which my Father’s will is, that they should be baptized with water, as well as with the Holy Ghost. Besides that, I am to put an end to the Jewish typical circumcision, and to put a new face upon the church, by instituting another sacrament of initiation. It is therefore both just and equal that I should be baptized (though not for those ends for which others, that are my members, are baptized, not for remission of sins, but) for the fulfilling of all righteousness, in obeying my Father’s will.

Then he suffered him: he that erreth through ignorance will correct his error upon better information. We may learn from this example of Christ, that being baptized with the Holy Ghost will excuse none for contempt or neglect of baptism by water, because it is the revealed will of God, that all the members of his church should come under that ordinance; so as there is a fulfilling of righteousness in our case, as well as in Christ’s, though in a different measure.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

ибо так надлежит нам исполнить всякую правду Здесь Христос отождествляет себя с грешниками. В конечном счете Он понесет их грехи; в Нем они станут праведными пред Богом (2Кор.5:21). Крещение было необходимо для приобретения праведности, которую Он гарантировал грешникам. Это первое публичное событие Его служения также имело большое значение: 1) оно проиллюстрировало Его смерть и Воскресение (ср. Лк.12:50); 2) оно стало прототипом христианского крещения (см. пояснение к ст. 6); 3) оно ознаменовало Его первое публичное воссоединение с теми, чьи грехи Он понесет (Ис.53:11; 1Пет. 3:18) и 4) мессианское предназначение Иисуса Христа было подтверждено Небесами (см. пояснение к ст. 17).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/matthew-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.Suffer it — Gently the Baptist declines, gently the Saviour insists. He could command, he only requests. It becometh — Such is the divine propriety. Us — That is, it becometh not one alone, but both of us. It is becoming my mission to submit to humilities; it becomes your office to recognize my submission. To fulfil all righteousness — To meet every legal and official requirement.

In regard to our Saviour’s baptism, there are three difficult questions to be answered: 1. Being sinless, how could he be baptized with the baptism of repentance? 2. Being John’s superior, how could he receive baptism from him? 3. Being king, Messiah, how could he be prepared to become a subject of his own kingdom?

1. To the first question it is replied, that Christ’s whole life was a bearing the sins of others. He assumed humanity, that the penal liabilities of humanity might be imputed to him.

2. To the second question it is replied, that, however superior our Lord was in nature, John was at that moment his superior in office. So the priest who anoints the king, or the chancellor or judge who administers the oath to the president, is at that moment his official superior.

3. To the third question it is replied, that every candidate baptized for fitness for the coming kingdom, is baptized for his own place in that kingdom; the subject for subjection, the king for royalty. John’s baptism of Jesus, therefore, was, as it were, an unction for his kingship or priesthood.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-3.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But Jesus answering said to him, “Allow it now, for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness (or ‘do fully what is right’ or ‘advance the way of righteousness to the full’).” Then he allows him.’

But Jesus then set about persuading John. He clearly knew how baptising Him would make John feel, but He asked him to allow it. By this He was emphasising how important He saw His being baptised to be. It was not just to be a matter of doing what others did. It was to have a deeper significance.

We can understand John’s dilemma. How could he be expected to baptise One Whom he knew was so far above him morally? And for us the question comes with even more force, for we must ask, why should the One Who had come to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), and was Himself sinless and in no need of repentance, be baptised with a baptism which seemingly indicated repentance? But while we recognise the dilemma we should note what John’s problem was. It was not the same as ours. In his eyes the problem was not concerning whether Jesus should be baptised. Of that he seemingly had no doubt. His problem lay in the sense of his own unworthiness. This suggests that John did not quite see his baptism in the way that we interpret it.

It therefore initially raises the question of the significance of John’s baptism. It is true that it was a baptism ‘in view of (‘unto’) repentance and forgiveness of sins’, that is, because those who were baptised had repented of their sins and had been forgiven. But what was the baptism itself really signifying? John in fact in his proclamation makes this clear, for he parallels his baptism with the Coming One’s action in pouring out the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). This suggests that he saw his own baptism as a prophetic portrayal of the expected pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the drenching with the Spirit promised by the prophets (Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:1-5; Ezekiel 36:25-27). It was an acting out of what the prophets had promised in readiness for its final fulfilment, and by being baptised people were declaring their desire to have a part in His working. And this is confirmed in the remainder of John’s preaching where his emphasis is on fruitfulness and harvest, which are both the products of the pouring down of the rain. This would therefore indicate that by being baptised Jesus was simply indicating His desire to partake in the coming outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And as we know this is what He did then do in Matthew 3:16.

Note on the significance of John’s Baptism.

It is probable that whatever commentary or article you read on baptism, it will refer in explaining it, to being cleansed from sin (with the inference of being washed), and to Old Testament ritual washings, combined with the idea of proselyte baptism. And that is also how Josephus saw it. We must, however, remember in this regard that Josephus had among other things a Pharisaic background and we might therefore have expected him to see it in that way if he did not really stop to think about it. And modern men are steeped in long centuries of misinterpretation. But it is quite frankly difficult to see how anyone who considers it in its context, and does stop to think about it, can see it in those terms. For there is absolutely nothing in John’s preaching that would suggest this, nor interestingly is there any indication in the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees that would seem to confirm it. We will deal with this latter fact first.

The Scribes and Pharisees do not appear to have questioned the act of baptism itself, for they seem to have assumed that had John been the Messiah, or the coming Elijah, or the coming Prophet it would have been explicable (John 1:25), although they do not say why. It would suggest, however, that they saw it as a prophetic action and not a priestly one. And the prophetic link with water is of it as a picture of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

There is nothing about John’s baptism which parallels Pharisaic washings, Old Testament washings or proselyte washing. In all cases but proselyte washing the washings had to be continually performed, and in all cases, including proselyte washing they were self-administered. In all cases they were ritualistic, and connected with other rituals. John’s baptism on the other hand stood alone, apart from all ritual, was administered by him, and was once for all. Furthermore in all cases ritual washings were not seen as cleansing from sin, but as removing defilement (the only exception is where the water is treated with sacrificial ashes). In the case of the Old Testament washings we have the constant refrain that the one who performed the act had then to separate himself and would ‘not be clean until the evening’. This indicates that the washing was not seen as cleansing, but as preparatory to later cleansing. It was a washing away of the ‘filth of the flesh’ so that the person in question could wait on God until the evening, the latter resulting in the cleansing. The Pharisaic washings were similarly for ritual purification, that is, for the removal of the defilement caused by contact with an impure world, that is, a world which did not conform to Jewish requirements for the maintenance of ritual purity. Proselyte washing was similarly a once for all act of removing the defilement of the Gentile world. There is nothing in all this about cleansing from sin (which was seen as resulting from the sacrifices). And in regard to all this we should note that Peter makes quite clear that baptism was not for the purpose of removing such defilement. It was not for the removal of ‘the defilement of the flesh’ (1 Peter 3:21). We would also suggest that if the Pharisees had considered that John was indicating the need for Jews to have a proselyte baptism they would have been more than irate. They were no doubt angry enough at his suggestion that being a child of Abraham was no grounds for their acceptance by God. To suggest beyond that that they required the same baptism as that required by Gentile proselytes would have added fuel to the fire. They would hardly have refrained from commenting on the matter.

John also gives no indication whatsoever in all his preaching that this is how he saw it. He certainly saw it as connected with repentance, that is, with a change of heart and mind and a turning to God, but the only actual indication of its significance lies in his paralleling it with the Coming One’s ‘drenching in Holy Spirit’ in accordance with the prophets (Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:1-5; Ezekiel 36:25-27, compare also Isaiah 35:6-7; Isaiah 55:10-11; Ezekiel 47:1-12). And this ties in with his constant reference to fruitfulness and harvest, both the results in Palestine of rain poured from above. In an agricultural community that was the main benefit of water.

We should also note in this regard that the main emphasis elsewhere in the New Testament is also of baptism as a sign of the renewal of life (e.g. Romans 6:3-4) and of the ‘washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit’ (Titus 3:5), rather than as cleansing by washing. Where washing is referred to it is as ‘the washing of water with the word’, which could again well signify the washing of regeneration (compare Isaiah 55:10-13 where word and Spirit are connected), but has to be manipulated in order for it to refer to baptism. The only possible exception in Acts 22:16 is ambiguous, for there the washing away of Paul’s sins connects more directly with his calling on the name of the Lord than with his being baptised (compare Romans 10:9-10 and see Isaiah 1:16-20 which is in total contrast with ritual activity as depicted in Isaiah 1:11-15) . It should be noted that in the parallel Acts 9:17-18 Paul’s baptism is connected with his receiving his sight and being filled with the Holy Spirit. Furthermore whatever the significance with regard to Christian baptism, this should not be read back into John’s baptism.

End of note.

Jesus’ reply to John’s questions as to why He should be baptised by John is that it is in order ‘for us to fulfil all righteousness’. So the question that we must then consider is as to what exactly He means by that.

We must first note that in any interpretation of these words we must take into account the ‘us’. By saying ‘us’ Jesus is indicating that He is involving more than just Himself in His action. Any interpretation cannot thus just be personal to Him. This ‘us’ may therefore be seen in one of two ways, either as linking Jesus with John in the action, or as linking Him with the crowds of believers gathered for baptism as He is being baptised along with them. If we see it as linking Him with John in the action there are at least two possible alternative explanations.

  • He may be indicating that just as it is right for all men to be baptised (assuming their repentance) then John must baptise Him along with them. This would be in order that He might do ‘what is right’ and be included, along with all those who are being declared to be acceptable to God, as a ready recipient of the coming Holy Spirit. (It is not to be forgotten that in His case the Holy Spirit did descend on Him once He had been baptised by John). And this because He Himself is above all others acceptable to God (Matthew 3:17). By it He would therefore, with John’s cooperation, be doing what was fully right, and putting the cap on all that He had done up to this point. He would be ‘filling to the full’ all righteousness.

  • He may be indicating that He is by it uniting Himself with John in his ministry and in his ‘coming in the way of righteousness’ (Matthew 21:32). By it He is capping what John has come to do. John has come ‘in the way of righteousness’ to turn the hearts of the people to God in preparation for ‘the great and terrible Day of the Lord’ (Malachi 4:5). He Himself is therefore now signifying His full part in this work by being baptised by John. He is making clear that He will be bringing to completion John’s work, by participating it and carrying it forward to its ultimate conclusion, and thus bringing to completion all righteousness.

If we see Him as linking Himself with the believing crowds in His action we may see in it that:

1). Jesus linking Himself with the people as their Representative. By it He is identifying with these sinners by being baptised along with them, in order that He might continue to represent them in the future. He had already ‘come out of Egypt’ on their behalf (Matthew 2:15). Now He will, as it were, ‘repent’ on their behalf, because of His oneness with their sins (compare Matthew 1:21; Matthew 8:17; Matthew 20:28), and all so that in the future He might die on behalf of their sins (Matthew 20:28). As a result of His baptism He will then on their behalf receive the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:17), Whom He will subsequently pour out on all who truly become His, and from this will result an even greater growth in the establishment of the way of righteousness, which will result in the ‘fulfilling of all righteousness’ as God’s ways are brought to completion. And through this means a new Spirit-endued Israel will be established as the prophets had promised. Thus His cooperation with John and his ministry is to be seen as a part of God’s overall plan without which that plan will not come to full fruition. And by His being baptised He is thus to be seen as validating John’s baptism and fulfilling its significance as pointing forward to the work of the Holy Spirit.

This serves to confirm that Jesus is very much aware that it is precisely by His being associated with John’s baptism that His own future will come to fulfilment, simply because that is God’s declared plan and purpose. He must do His Father’s will. First must come the forerunner, and then the Messiah Who has been involved with the forerunner in his work. And thus by being baptised He will be identifying Himself with that work.

And as John’s Gospel makes clear, Jesus did in fact constantly refuse to supplant John all the time that John was preaching, and rather preached alongside him, with His disciples baptising as John did, so much so that when it did seem that He might be supplanting John He withdrew to Galilee (John 4:1-3). He was determined that the work of His forerunner would fulfil its course and not be interfered with. And His recognition of the unique work of John was indeed one reason why, when He did begin His own ministry, He began it in Galilee. For it was important, when He did commence it, that it was not just seen as a continuation of John’s ministry, as Elisha’s had been of Elijah. It was in order to demonstrate that He had a greater ministry than that of John, one that was independent and not just a follow-up to John’s.

2). It may be that He is intending by it to stress His oneness with the crowds in the whole work of God that is going on. In other words it is His way of declaring the need for Him to be one with the crowd in John’s baptism, because without it their baptism will be incomplete. As the Baptiser with the Holy Spirit He knew that He could not be excluded from being a part with those whom He would baptise as their community Head. Thus as the One Who was about to receive the Holy Spirit on behalf of all, something that He considered that He could only do once He had been united with them and identified with them, it was necessary for Him to participate with them in the same baptism, which was to be seen as uniting all the baptised in the coming work of the Spirit. The idea is then that John must baptise Him in order that He might be one with the community of the baptised, so as to receive the Holy Spirit on their behalf. Then, as a result, all would grow together into the fullness of righteousness (Ephesians 4:12-16).

So by being baptised by John, Jesus would both validate John’s baptism, and at the same time be identified by it with righteous Israel, and be shown as ‘repenting’ along with them on their behalf. He had come bringing ‘righteousness and salvation’ (Isaiah 59:16-17; Isaiah 59:20). He had come to bring them repentance and forgiveness of sins. And He was thus demonstrating by this that without their repenting and receiving the Holy Spirit there could be no righteousness and no salvation. And at the same time He would Himself be fulfilling the perfect way of the righteous man on Israel’s behalf. (Compare here Luke 3:21). So by being baptised by John, and then walking in the way of the Holy Spirit that that baptism signified, both on behalf of Himself and on behalf of Israel (on whose behalf He had come out of Egypt - Matthew 2:15), He would then ‘fill to the full’ all righteousness on their behalf, and would draw after Him all who were truly His, who would also walk in the same way of righteousness. And it would all be seen as commencing with John’s baptism which under God’s hand would unite them together under that baptism’s portrayal of the uniting Holy Spirit. For John had come from God ‘in the way of righteousness’ (Matthew 21:32), and this way of righteousness, which was open to all who responded in repentance, was now to find its completion in Him. He would move it forward in the way that John had begun it and would ‘fill it to the full’.

To put it another way, by being baptised by John He would be identifying Himself with what John had begun, would be doing what was truly right for all men, indeed was at this time necessary for all righteous people to do, and would be identifying Himself with His people in doing so, as the One Who would bring it all about on their behalf. For in the end all needed to partake in the new work of the Holy Spirit, both He Who would receive the Holy Spirit in order to ‘dispense’ Him, and those who would receive Him from Jesus. In this sense ‘all righteousness’ would thus spring from the significance of John’s simple act of baptising Him. For the point was that John’s baptism was not just John’s own idea. He had been sent by God to baptise with water (John 1:33), as the precursor to what was to come, and it was therefore necessary for Jesus to be aligned with it in the continuation of God’s purpose.

Jesus Himself might also have quietly seen in His act of being baptised His own submission to His future death on the cross, something which baptism came later to symbolise (Romans 6:3), and something which John the Baptist also soon came to see. From John 1:29 it is clear that John came to understand the Coming One in terms of the Servant of Isaiah 53. Thus as the Lamb of God Who would take away the sin of the world Jesus is now recognising that He must die in order to rise again in newness of resurrection life, something which He is now symbolising by His being baptised.

Had John thought about it he would have recognised that all His life Jesus had so identified Himself with a sinful people. Offerings had been offered for Him Who needed no atonement, by unworthy priests, as revealing His thanksgiving to, and worship of, God, and oneness with His people. He had regularly partaken of the Passover and other aspects of the feasts of Israel. For in all things He had wanted to show that He and His people were one. Thus His being baptised as an indication that He too was repentant on their behalf, and would partake in the Holy Spirit as well as they, was all one with all that had gone before.

This serves to demonstrate quite clearly that baptism did not symbolise washing from sin. For that Jesus could not have partaken in (as He no doubt never offered a sin or trespass offering). What baptism did symbolise was that the one who was being baptised was putting away any sin of the past, if there was any, by repentance, and was seeking to be a part of the work of God’s Holy Spirit upon his life for the future. As with the offerings only a part of this applied to Jesus. And what followed then emphasised the significance of baptism.

Other interpretations of why He was baptised include:

· By this He fulfilled the Law to the full. But John’s baptism was not obtained from the Law. Nor did it indicate fulfilment of the Law.

· By this His life was revealed as fully righteous. This was, of course, true, especially as He would have had no sins to confess. But it is doubtful if we can stop at the idea of a personal significance in One Who was the Messiah of Israel.

· By this He would be fulfilling all that the prophets had spoken, for by taking on Himself as Israel’s representative the symbol of God’s future working, He would be demonstrating that He was here to fulfil all righteousness in terms of the prophetic pronouncements and purposes of God concerning Him. He was being numbered with the transgressors, in order to establish righteousness among men through His own righteousness (Isaiah 53:11-12). This was certainly true, but probably not what He would have expected John to fully grasp, especially as John was not yet fully aware of Who He was. John would, however, grasp it soon enough once he had witnessed what happened at Jesus’ baptism (John 1:29). This suggestion does tie in very closely with that above, simply adding the Old Testament prophecies to John’s message as the last of the prophets.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/matthew-3.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John agreed to baptize Jesus only after Jesus convinced him that by baptizing Him both of them would "fulfill all righteousness." What did Jesus mean?

An important prerequisite to understanding Jesus" words is an understanding of the meaning of "righteousness." Matthew"s use of this word is different from Paul"s. Paul used it mainly to describe a right standing before God, positional righteousness. Matthew used it to describe conformity to God"s will, ethical righteousness. [Note: Benno Przybylski, Righteousness in Matthew and His World of Thought, pp91-94.] Ethical righteousness is the display of conduct in one"s actions that is right in God"s eyes. It does not deal with getting saved but responding to God"s grace. In Matthew a righteous person is one who lives in harmony with the will of God (cf. Matthew 1:19). Ethical righteousness is a major theme of the Old Testament, and it was a matter that concerned the Jews in Jesus" day, especially the Pharisees.

Jesus understood that it was God"s will for John to baptize Him. There is no Old Testament prophecy that states that Messiah would undergo water baptism, but there is prophecy that Messiah would submit Himself to God ( Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 53; et al.). That spirit of submissiveness to God"s will is primarily what John"s baptism identified in those who submitted to it. Consequently it was appropriate for Jesus to undergo John"s baptism, and John consented to baptize Him. In doing Song of Solomon, Jesus authenticated John"s ministry and identified Himself with the godly remnant within Israel.

"The King, because of His baptism, is now bound up with His subjects." [Note: Toussaint, p73.]

"Jesus" baptism in the Jordan stands as a counterpart of Israel"s crossing of the Red Sea at the onset of the Exodus. Thus Jesus transversed the Jordan and then, like Israel, spent a period of time in the wilderness. Jesus, another Moses, on whom the Spirit had been placed ( Isaiah 63:10-14), would lead the way." [Note: Don B. Garlington, "Jesus, the Unique Son of God: Tested and Faithful," Bibliotheca Sacra151:603 (July-September1994):287.]

"Jesus fulfilled the Scripture by replicating in His own life the patterns of God"s historical relations with Israel and by accomplishing in His own history the predicted events of prophecy." [Note: Craig A. Blaising, "The Fulfillment of the Biblical Covenants," in Progressive Dispensationalism, p195.]

It is significant that Matthew did not describe Jesus" baptism. His emphasis was on the two revelatory events that followed it (cf. Matthew 2:1-23).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/matthew-3.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:15. Suffer it now. The propriety of John’s scruples is recognized; but he was ‘now’ or ‘as yet’ the minister of the law, which Jesus must fulfil. The relation between them would soon be changed.

It becometh us. Both John in his office and Jesus in His.

Righteousnes. The requirements of the law, regarded as including all that is right.

Suffereth him. More than ‘he baptized him’; Jesus was really the active person, since the rite was administered at His command and by His authority.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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 3:15. The reasoning with which Jesus replies to John’s scruples is characteristic. His answer is gentle, respectful, dignified, simple, yet deep.— —deferential, half-yielding, yet strong in its very gentleness. Does imply a tacit acceptance of the high position assigned to Him by John (Weiss-Meyer)? We may read that into it, but I doubt if the suggestion does justice to the feeling of Jesus.— : a mild word when a stronger might have been used, because it refers to John as well as Jesus: fitting, becoming, congruous; videHebrews 2:10, where the same word is used in reference to the relation of God to Christ’s sufferings. “It became Him.”— : this means more than meets the ear, more than could be explained to a man like John. The Baptist had a passion for righteousness, yet his conception of righteousness was narrow, severe, legal. Their ideas of righteousness separated the two men by a wide gulf which is covered over by this general, almost evasive, phrase: all righteousness or every form of it. The special form meant is not the mere compliance with the ordinance of baptism as administered by an accredited servant of God, but something far deeper, which the new era will unfold. John did not understand that love is the fulfilling of the law. But he saw that under the mild words of Jesus a very earnest purpose was hid. So at length he yielded— .

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". 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 3:15. Suffer it to be so now — In this my state of humiliation: For thus — By this appearance in the form of a sinner, and stooping to thee, my inferior; it becomes us — Me, and my disciples according to my example, to fulfil all righteousness — To do whatsoever is just, fit, and requisite in our circumstances. Or, it becometh every messenger of God, and even every follower of mine, to observe every divine appointment, and to honour every divine ordinance. I therefore offer myself to be baptized, that I may show my readiness to obey all God’s righteous precepts, and to justify God and approve his counsel, Luke 7:29-30, and celebrate his wisdom in sending thee to prepare his and my way, by calling men to repentance, and in that way fitting them for the blessings of my kingdom. “Our Lord’s baptism tended,” says Dr. Macknight, “to promote the ends both of his own mission and of his forerunner’s, as it established the authority of both. It established John’s mission, 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 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 that could be found, and pointed him out as Messiah to the Baptist, who was thereby qualified for the principal duty of his mission, John 1:31.” By this we are taught a holy exactness in the observance even of those institutions which owe their obligations merely to a divine appointment. Surely thus it becometh all his followers to fulfil all righteousness. Jesus had no sin to wash away, and yet he was baptized. And God owned his ordinance so as to make it the season of pouring forth the Holy Spirit upon him. And where can we expect this sacred effusion, but in an humble attendance on divine appointments? Then he suffered him — He that sins through ignorance, will correct his error upon better information.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/matthew-3.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

it to be so: or, supply the Ellipsis by "[Me]". The Lord was now, and here, recognized by John (John 1:31-34).

thus. In fulfilling this duty.

it becometh us. This duty was incumbent on John as the minister of that Dispensation; likewise on the Lord: hence the word "thus". The reason is given in John 1:31.

all righteousness: or every claim of righteous duty. This was the anointing of Messiah (see note on Matthew 3:17), and anointing was accompanied by washing or immersion (Exodus 29:4-7; Exodus 40:12. Leviticus 8:6).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now, [ Afes (Greek #863) arti (Greek #737)] - 'Let it pass for the present' (Webster and Wilkinson); q.d., 'Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for the seeming incongruity is startling; but in the present case do as thou art bidden.'

For thus it becometh us - "us," not in the sense of 'me and thee,' or 'men in general,' but as in John 3:1-36.

To fulfill all righteousness, [ pasan (Greek #3956) dikaiosuneen (Greek #1343)]. If this be rendered, with Scrivener, 'every ordinance,' or, with Campbell, 'every institution,' the meaning is obvious enough; and the same sense is brought out by "all righteousness," or compliance with everything enjoined, baptism included. Indeed, if this be the meaning, our version perhaps best brings out the force of the opening word "Thus" [ houtoos (Greek #3779)]. But we incline to think that our Lord meant more than this. The import of Circumcision and of Baptism seems to be radically the same. And if our remarks on the circumcision of our Lord (on Luke 2:21-24) are well founded, He would seem to have said, 'Thus do I impledge myself to the whole righteousness of the Law-thus symbolically do enter on and engage to fulfill it all.' Let the thoughtful reader weigh this.

Then he suffered him - with true humility, yielding to higher authority than his own impressions of propriety.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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

15. Let it be so for now. “Now” implies that the “time” required that he be baptized. True, baptism was for sinners; and Jesus was sinless (Hebrews 4:15), yet he had humbly accepted the obligation of human duties (Hebrews 2:14), and must set a perfect example. He obeyed the Jewish Law, and must also obey the Divine rite that John administered. All that God requires. His baptism set the pattern for him to be the first among many brothers (Romans 8:29). Note the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16. In Christian baptism (in contrast to John’s baptism)—water and Spirit are united (John 3:5: Titus 3:5).

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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

(15) Suffer it to be so now.—The “now” is emphatic, at the present time, in contrast with what was to follow. Hereafter, John should be the receiver and not the giver, but as yet there was a fitness in each retaining his position (the words “it becometh us” seem to refer to both, not to the speaker only). The word and the thought are the same as those of Hebrews 2:10. Even He had to pass through the normal stages of growth, and so an outward ordinance was even for Him the appointed way to the fulness of spiritual power. He was in His place receiving that rite. John was doing his proper work in administering it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Suffer
John 13:7-9
for
Psalms 40:7,8; Isaiah 42:21; Luke 1:6; John 4:34; 8:29; 13:15; 15:10; Philippians 2:7,8; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 2:6
Reciprocal: Genesis 7:5 - all that;  Exodus 40:20 - the testimony;  Numbers 6:12 - but the;  1 Chronicles 22:13 - to fulfil;  Psalm 45:7 - Thou;  Proverbs 28:4 - that;  Matthew 5:17 - but;  Matthew 8:4 - show;  Matthew 17:25 - Yes;  Matthew 19:8 - suffered;  Matthew 26:17 - Where;  Mark 14:12 - Where;  Luke 2:21 - eight;  Luke 2:39 - performed;  Luke 2:51 - and was;  Luke 17:14 - Go;  Luke 22:8 - Go;  John 5:1 - GeneralJohn 7:10 - then;  John 8:49 - but;  John 19:30 - It is;  Acts 2:3 - sat;  Romans 2:27 - if it fulfil;  Romans 3:31 - yea;  Romans 10:4 - Christ;  Galatians 4:4 - made under;  Hebrews 5:8 - yet

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". "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

Had the remission of sins been the only result to be accomplished by baptism, Jesus would not have come to John at all for it because he had no sins to be remitted. Hence it was necessary for John to be informed of the reason why Jesus made the request. Fulfill is from PLEROO and Thayer"s definition at this passage is, "to perform, execute." Righteousness is from DIKAIOSUNE and Thayer defines it as follows: "b. integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting. Matthew 3:15; Matthew 5:6; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:20; Matthew 6:33." Note that nothing in the definition requires any act in the nature of repentance or confession, hence Jesus who had no sins to confess could adopt the definition in his reason for requiring baptism. But while he had no sins to confess he did have a duty to "perform," and by so doing he could maintain his "integrity." When this explanation was made to John lie promptly performed the baptism and thus cooperated in the act that Jesus said would be fitting or becoming.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 3:15". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-3.html. 1952.