Matthew 3

Three times in chapter 3 we read those who “came.”


  •  His message, v.1-2. Repent and prepare for the King: Jesus’ message [4:17]; the disciples’ message [10:7]; Israel rejected the message.
  • His authority, v.3. The last of the OT prophets [Lu.16:16].
  •  His person, v.4. Humble in manner and dress. In the spirit and power of Elijah [Lu.1:17].
  •  His baptism, v.5-6. Baptism unto repentance [v.11] was from heaven to 1] Introduce Christ to the nation. 2] Prepare their hearts for the King.

v.1. “In those days”. 30 years elapsed since His birth.
v.1-4. The King presented to us…
v.2. The keynote of his ministry: “Repent.” Things are wrong here, but the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The ideals Israel has wanted are here and you are not ready.
v.3. The OT prophecies of Isaiah are linked with John. Isaiah’s prophecies of warning and judgment also include the promise of hope.
v.4. The man as he appeared to his day and generation. Born to and for the priesthood, John turned his back on the priesthood for the calling of a prophet. He spoke with authority to his generation.
v.5. His ministry was 1] attractive – “they went out to him.” 2] convictive – “they were baptized.” 3] invective – “who hath warned you?”
v.6. Confessing their sin – the people from the area around.


  •  Their character, v.7-8. Legalists who turned the law into burdens.
    • “Generation of vipers” [12:34; 23:33]. Satan is a serpent – the children of Satan [Jn.8:44] are enemies of Christ.
  •  Their need, v.9-12. Depended on their relationship to Abraham to save them [Rom.9:6; Gal.3:7]. Stumbled at the new birth. John magnifies Jesus alone.

v.7. Generation of vipers. Identifying their character.
v.8. Fruits meet for repentance. Identifying their sincerity.
v.9. Children of Abraham from stones: do not trust in being a Jew to make you accepted by God. Identifying their reality.
v.10. Axe at the root: the King is supreme in His Person. He is supreme in His work. Beginning again at the foundation.
v.11. Baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire: external baptism was John’s baptism. The Lord Jesus’ work is superior to John’s because it is eternal.
v.12. Wheat and chaff.

JESUS CAME, 3:13-17.

  • Jesus and John [v.13-15]. Why was Jesus baptized.
  1.  Obligation: to fulfill all righteousness [Jn.8:29].
  2. Consecration: the OT priest was washed, then anointed. The Lord was baptized, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him.
  3.  Commendation: Jesus gave His approval of John’s ministry so common people had to listen to John and obey him. The religious leaders rejected John’s baptism [21:23-27].
  4. Proclamation: this was Jesus’ official introduction to the nation of Israel [Jn.1:31].
  5. Anticipation: this looked forward to His baptism of suffering [Lu.12:50] when He would fulfill all righteousness.
  6.  Identification: He identified with sinful man. He carried the sins of the nation.
  • Jesus and the Spirit [v.16]. The sign God had promised to give John to identify Christ [Jn.1:31-34]. The dove is a clean bird; it is faithful to its mate; it is peaceful and gentle. Christ was born through the power of the Spirit and was empowered by the Spirit for His gift and ministry.
  • Jesus and the Father [v.17]. This is the first of three occasions when the Father spoke to the Son from heaven [Mat.17::5; Jn.12:28].
    v.13. “Then” the Lord comes out of the years of obscurity in Nazareth to begin His work.

John: the man according to prophecy [Isa.40:3]

THE MESSENGER: the first 35 chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy is dealing with the judgment of Israel because of failure, and the judgment of the nations around. In the second division from chapter 36 -39, Isaiah describes the condition of his on times and explains the judgment he must declare. The third division beginning with chapter 40, points out that judgment is not the final word. Looking through the years, Isaiah begins to describe the blessings that are coming – “the highway of God.”

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