Matthew Chapter 3

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John The Baptist
  1. Then in those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the desert of Judea.
  2. And he was saying: “Change your minds, and thus your deeds;[1]“Change your minds, and thus your deeds” is one word in Greek, typically translated “repent”. However, it doesn’t speak of remorse or guilt for wrong actions. Rather, it literally means to “think differently after” or to “reconsider”, with an assumed change in behavior. To both the Hebrews and 1st century Greeks/Romans, a change in mind was synonymous with a change in behavior; you couldn’t have the first without the second. All that meaning is captured by a single Greek word here. for the kingdom of the heavens[3]In Greek “heavens” is actually plural here. Most translations don’t render this accurately. To quote the Lexicon entry:The singular and plural have distinct overtones and therefore should be distinguished in translation (though unfortunately they rarely are)” – G. Archer. was – and is – drawing near.”
  3. For this is the man spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, saying; “The voice of him urgently pleading in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord. Make His way straight.”[2]quotation/allusion to Isaiah 40:3
  4. Now he (John) wore a robe made from camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist.[4]This is likely a reference to 1 Kings 7-8, which describes the prophet Elijah as “a hairy man with a leather belt”. Also, his food was locusts and wild honey.
  5. At that time, Jerusalem was going out to him; and all Judea, and all the area around the Jordan.
  6. They were being baptized by him in the Jordan River; and were openly confessing their sins.
  7. Now, seeing that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to his baptism, he said to them; “You offspring of serpents![5]This isn’t schoolyard name calling. Satan is always represented as a serpent. Therefore, calling them the “offspring of serpents” is akin to saying they are Satan’s children/followers. Further, this understanding makes John’s comment in 3:9 make much more sense. Who warned you to flee from the wrath[6]Properly, the Greek word refers to anger or wrath that has built up over a longer period. This isn’t an outburst of anger in the moment; it’s matured over time. that’s coming very soon?”
  8. “Therefore, produce fruit worthy of a changed mind.”[7]See note on 3:2
  9. “And don’t presume to say among yourselves; “We have Abraham as a father”. For I tell you that God has the power to raise up children of Abraham out of these stones.”
  10. “Already, the axe is laid near the root[8]The Greek word here translated “root” can also mean “descendant”. That’s interesting considering the context… of the trees. Therefore, every tree not producing good fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire.”
  11. “Indeed, I baptize you in water toward changed minds, and thus changed deeds.[9]See note on 3:2 But after me is coming one mightier than I; He whom I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.”
  12. His[10]literally “whose” winnowing fork[11]“winnowing fork” is a literal translation of the Greek word here. A “winnowing fork” is used for “winnowing”. Winnowing is the process of separating the useful/edible grain from the the useless chaff. Chaff is the husks and stem fragments of a grain plant that are useless for anything. You “winnow” by using a winnowing fork to throw the mixture up into the air. The wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grain falls back down to be collected. This process was done on a “threshing floor”, which had to be cleaned prior to use because food was prepared (winnowed) there. is in His hand. And He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor and will gather His grain into the barn.  But the chaff He will burn completely with unquenchable fire.
Jesus’ baptism
  1. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to John to be baptized by[12]the Greek word here can also mean “under”, sometimes with the connotation of authority; i.e. “under” in the sense of authority. him.
  2. But John stubbornly hindered Him, saying; “I need to be baptized by[13]Again, the Greek word here can also mean “under”, sometimes with the connotation of authority; i.e. “under” in the sense of authority. you, and you come to me?”
  3. But answering, Jesus said to him; “Let that go, just for now. For it’s proper for us to complete all righteousness in this way.  Then he let it go.
  4. Now, after being baptized, Jesus immediately came up away from the water. And behold; the heavens were opened [to Him]. And He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon Him.
  5. And behold; a voice from the heavens was saying; “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

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