Thursday, April 3, 2014

Matthew 3

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
·         Each of the four gospels have John in them, which means he’s essential for understanding the appearance of the Messiah.
·         In those days probably means in the days while Jesus was still in Nazareth, as reported in Matt 2:23
·         The wilderness of Judea was almost a days walk north of Jerusalem, where the Jordan runs into the dead sea. Jesus immediately left John and went into this wilderness to be tempted by Satan.

and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
·         Jesus and John both start with this message, Repent. Peter also features it prominently at Pentecost.
·         John’s message is that the Kingdom has come at last, see also Daniel 7:14

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”
·         Quote is from Isaiah 40:3, and also seen in Malachi 4. John was to be the final prophet, the last stop before the messiah. This is where his popularity came from, the people were excited to realize that the Messiah was coming shortly. John would not have been nearly so popular if he just confined himself to moral correction.

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
·         This is a link to the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1:8) who wore a garment of hair and a belt around his waist. This fits with the prophecy of Elijah coming back before the great and awesome day of the Lord, although it should be mentioned that prophets since Elijah would wear this, see Zech 13:4

Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
·         The baptism likely comes from a derivative of the washing and purification ceremonies, like Lev 15:13. The person was dipped in water after confessing their sins and vowing to live for God. The Gentile converts were baptized previously, now everyone is admitting their need for it.
·         Baptism means ‘to dip’ and would speak to Naaman
·         This doesn’t mean every last literal person, it just means a vast multitude
·         There was no forgiveness for sins, there was just confession of it, an awareness of it. This lead to the work of the messiah being to forgive the sins, once the people were ready for it and would admit their guilt.
·         The point of John was to point to the Messiah when He came. John 1:31

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
·         Since many people turned out to see him, the Pharisees and Sadducees were among them. These sects were opposites, and John rebukes both as unfit for the kingdom. John calls them malicious and evil who deserve death.
·         There was also a large sect at this time, the Essenes, who were monks and hermits. They never encountered Christ because they never left their caves and homes. That should speak to the danger of drawing into enclaves.

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
·         Repentance is a change of mind and heart which leads to a change of action.

and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
·         Since God had chosen Abraham and his seed to inhereit the blessing forever they assumed that meant them. It actually meant Christ, and John was trying to remind them of this

10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
·         This was very similar to what Malachi was reporting he would say, it was a message of judgment.
·         The ax being laid at the root means the whole thing is about to come down in total, not merely a part of it.
·         Jesus in John 14 compares them to a vine which will be cut down and burned, and Romans 11 has them as branches which will be burned.

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.
·         John here differentiates his baptism from the one of Jesus, which was confirmed in the Acts account (Acts 18:25, 19:4). It’s very inferior, its more than about repentance, it’s about a cleansing fire.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
·         Depending on who John is talking to this can either mean that the elect are going to get purified with fire, like Mal 3:2 says, or it means that the elect are going to get the Holy Spirit and the wicked are going to get fire.
·         The winnowing fan is more like a shovel. This foreshadows the parables which are coming about the wheat and tares, or good and bad fishes.
·         All that by way of introduction to why Jesus would go to him, and what John was about.

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
·         If we were in the shoes of John I think this is our thought as well. We have more need to receive the holy spirit than Jesus would have to be put in water
·         Obviously Jesus had no sins and was therefore not repenting.
·         Dabney thinks that since Jesus was 30, and that was he was being washed for priesthood service.
·         McAurthur thinks that this is Jesus identifying with sinners, and pointing toward his death, burial, and resurrection.
·         For myself, I think that this is done so John could see what follows, and would begin testifying not just that Jesus was coming, but that He had already come, so that John could start actively diminishing his crowd and tell them to come to Jesus.

15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
·         John then submits even though he doesn’t fully understand

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
·         I think it’s more likely the he in view of the vision here is John. See John 1:33 “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” This is therefore John’s vision, and John’s testimony, which changes his whole ministry.
·         John sees the Triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Just as this opens Jesus ministry, Matthew closes the ministry with the great commission, Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
·         He also sees God testify that this man is His eternal Son in whom is all His delight, whom He is eternally delighted with, which was a fulfillment of prophecy. Compare to Ps 2:7 and Is 42:1.

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