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3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
3:10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
3:15 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.
3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

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Everything King James Bible:Matthew

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Matthew
Book: Matthew
Chapter: 3

John the Baptist, His preaching, manner of Life, and Baptism.
(1-6) John reproves the Pharisees and Sadducees. (7-12) The
Baptism of Jesus. (13-17)

1-6 After Malachi there was No Prophet until John the Baptist
came. He appeared first in the Wilderness of Judea. This was not
an uninhabited Desert, but a part of the country not thickly
peopled, nor much enclosed. No place is So remote as to shut us
out from the visits of Divine Grace. The doctrine he preached
was Repentance; "Repent ye." The Word here used, implies a total
alteration in the mind, a change in the Judgment, disposition,
and affections, another and a better bias of the soul. Consider
your ways, change your minds: you have thought amiss; think
again, and think aright. True penitents have other thoughts of
God and Christ, Sin and Holiness, of this world and the other,
than they had. The change of the mind produces a change of the
way. That is Gospel Repentance, which flows from a sight of
Christ, from a sense of his Love, and from hopes of Pardon and
forgiveness through him. It is a great encouragement to us to
repent; repent, for your sins shall be pardoned upon your
Repentance. Return to God in a way of duty, and he will, through
Christ, return unto you in the way of Mercy. It is still as
necessary to repent and humble ourselves, to prepare the way of
the Lord, as it then was. There is a great Deal to be done, to
make way for Christ into a soul, and nothing is more needful
than the discovery of Sin, and a conviction that we cannot be
saved By our own Righteousness. The way of Sin and Satan is a
crooked way; but to prepare a way for Christ, the paths must be
made straight, Heb 12:13. Those whose business it is to Call
others to Mourn for Sin, and to mortify it, ought themselves to
live a serious Life, a Life of self-denial, and contempt of the
world. By giving others this Example, John made way for Christ.
Many came to John's Baptism, but few kept to the profession they
made. There may be many forward hearers, where there are few
true believers. Curiosity, and Love for novelty and variety, may
bring many to attend On good preaching, and to be affected for a
while, who never are subject to the power of it. Those who
received John's doctrine, testified their Repentance By
confessing their sins. Those only are ready to receive Jesus
Christ as their Righteousness, who are brought with sorrow and
shame to own their guilt. The benefits of the kingdom of Heaven,
now at Hand, were thereupon sealed to them By Baptism. John
washed them with water, in token that God would cleanse them
from all their iniquities, thereby intimating, that By nature
and practice all were polluted, and could not be admitted among
the people of God, unless washed from their sins in the Fountain
Christ was to open, Zec 13:1.

7-12 To make application to the souls of the hearers, is the
Life of preaching; So it was of John's preaching. The Pharisees
laid their chief stress On outward observances, neglecting the
weightier matters of the moral Law, and the spiritual meaning of
their legal ceremonies. Others of them were detestable
hypocrites, making their pretences to Holiness a Cloak for
iniquity. The Sadducees ran into the opposite extreme, denying
the existence of spirits, and a future state. They were the
scornful infidels of that time and country. There is a wrath to
come. It is the great concern of every one to flee from that
wrath. God, who delights not in our ruin, has warned us; he
warns By the written Word, By ministers, By Conscience. And
those are not worthy of the name of penitents, or their
privileges, who say they are sorry for their sins, yet persist
in them. It becomes penitents to be humble and low in their own
eyes, to be thankful for the least Mercy, patient under the
greatest affliction, to be watchful against all appearances of
Sin, to abound in every duty, and to be charitable in judging
others. Here is a Word of caution, not to trust in outward
privileges. There is a great Deal which Carnal hearts are apt to
say within themselves, to Put aside the convincing, commanding
power of the Word of God. Multitudes, By resting in the honours
and mere advantages of their being members of an outward Church,
come short of Heaven. Here is a Word of terror to the careless
and secure. Our corrupt hearts cannot be made to produce good
Fruit, unless the regenerating Spirit of Christ Graft the good
Word of God upon them. And every tree, however high in Gifts and
honours, however green in outward professions and performances,
if it bring not forth good Fruit, the fruits meet for
Repentance, is hewn down and cast into the Fire of God's wrath,
the fittest place for Barren trees: what else are they good for?
If not fit for Fruit, they are fit for Fuel. John shows the
design and intention of Christ's appearing, which they were now
speedily to expect. No outward forms can make us Clean. No
ordinances, By whomsoever administered, or after whatever mode,
can supply the want of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and of
Fire. The purifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit alone
can produce that purity of Heart, and those holy affections,
which accompany Salvation. It is Christ who baptizes with the
Holy Ghost. This he did in the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit
sent upon the apostles, Ac 2:4. This he does in the graces and
comforts of the Spirit, given to those that ask him, Lu 11:13;
Joh 7:38,39; see Ac 11:16. Observe here, the outward Church
is Christ's floor, Isa 21:10. True believers are as Wheat,
substantial, useful, and valuable; hypocrites are as Chaff,
Light and empty, useless and worthless, carried about with every
wind; these are mixed, good and bad, in the same outward
Communion. There is a Day coming when the Wheat and Chaff shall
be separated. The last Judgment will be the distinguishing Day,
when saints and sinners shall be parted for ever. In Heaven the
saints are brought together, and No longer scattered; they are
safe, and No longer exposed; separated from corrupt neighbours
without, and corrupt affections within, and there is No Chaff
among them. Hell is the unquenchable Fire, which will certainly
be the portion and Punishment of hypocrites and unbelievers.
Here Life and Death, good and evil, are set before us: according
as we now are in the Field, we shall be then in the floor.

13-17 Christ's gracious condescensions are So surprising, that
even the strongest believers at first can hardly believe them;
So Deep and mysterious, that even those who know his mind Well,
are apt to start objections against the will of Christ. And
those who have much of the Spirit of God while here, see that
they need to apply to Christ for more. Christ does not deny that
John had need to be baptized of him, yet declares he will now be
baptized of John. Christ is now in a state of humiliation. Our
Lord Jesus looked upon it as Well becoming him to fulfil all
Righteousness, to own every Divine institution, and to show his
readiness to comply with all God's righteous precepts. In and
through Christ, the heavens are opened to the children of men.
This descent of the Spirit upon Christ, showed that he was
endued with his sacred influences without Measure. The Fruit of
the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,
Goodness, Faith, Meekness, temperance. At Christ's Baptism there
was a manifestation of the three Persons in the sacred Trinity.
The Father confirming the Son to be Mediator; the Son solemnly
entering upon the work; the Holy Spirit descending On him, to be
through his mediation communicated to his people. In Him our
spiritual sacrifices are acceptable, for He is the Altar that
sanctifies every Gift, 1Pe 2:5. Out of Christ, God is a
consuming Fire, but in Christ, a reconciled Father. This is the
sum of the Gospel, which we must By Faith cheerfully embrace.

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