Jaysun's Journal

Independent Baptist

Matthew 3



In the previous chapters, the birth of Christ had stirred up a lot of things. There was political unrest and parents were uneasy.  Now, another prophet is unveiled.

1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

“In those days”   This man named John was raised up for “such a time as this!” In the darkest of times God often sends His brightest lights.

“…Preaching in the wilderness…” Luke 1:80 says that John “…was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.” Like Moses on the backside of the desert, John had a long dry spell of his own before his ministry kicked into high gear.

2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

John the Baptist preached “repentance!”  John had a large following but he did not offer a free camel ride to whoever brought the most people to hear him preach, nor did he give an autographed copy of Isaiah to the oldest grandmother present. He was his own publicity and needed no press agent. (6) He said “repent” because the kingdom of heaven is “at hand“.   Like a man would say, “I like to keep my gun handy.”  “At hand” means close by.  John was saying the kingdom wasn’t far away.  In fact, Heaven’s King was about to begin His ministry on earth.

“Kingdom of heaven” is a phrase which appears thirty-two times in Matthew but nowhere else in the New Testament.

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.[1]

Preparing “the way” involves removing stumbling blocks.  Accordingly, John’s preaching involved a lot of stump pulling.

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.

“Raiment” means clothing. I find it interesting that it only took 62 words before the Holy Ghost told us about John’s clothes. He was a preacher, but he didn’t dress like one (or should I say ‘he didn’t dress the way we think a preacher should‘).  Notice, everything about John was rough.  He wore camel’s hair coats, leather britches, and ate insects.

At the Bible College I attended, we had chapel services each night.  For a long time, it seemed all we heard were ‘encouraging‘ messages.  Don’t misunderstand me: I’m for encouragement, but when that is all you have, it kind of makes you sick.  On a particular occasion, I noticed the preacher they had in was wearing a bowtie.  I thought to myself, “Great! We’re about to hear a sermon from Mr. McGoo!”  To make a long story short, he preached the devil out of us Bible college students and most of the staff too.  When he was done, I didn’t have enough hide left to close my eyes.  It was Harold Sightler’s grandson.  He was a normal looking man; however, that bowtie threw me off.  If not for that experience you’d never convince me that the power of God and a bowtie could be on the same man. That just goes to show you, you cannot put God in a box and you cannot always judge a book by its cover.

5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

John’s pattern would later be a commandment.   Just as he started in “Jerusalem and all Judaea,” the disciples were told in Acts 1:8 “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

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?

The Sadducees and many of the Pharisees didn’t believe what John was preaching, but they came anyway.  Why?  Because John was popular and religion always wants to be part of the latest thing.

Note: this is the first mention of “O” in the New Testament. “O generation of vipers” John said, “Yall come from a long line of snakes!”  There are several things you should know about snakes: (1) they cannot hear, (2) they respond to movement, and most importantly (3) they will bite you!  In fact, they pose the greatest danger when their mouths are open.

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet[2] for repentance:

“Repentance:” Regret is being sorry mentally only (King Saul, for example). Remorse is being sorry both mentally and emotionally (like Judas).  Repentance is being sorry mentally, emotionally, and volitionally (like Matthew, among others). (5)

“Fruits meet for repentance” include a (1) denial of sin, (2) departure from sin, (3) desire for Scripture, and (4) dependence on the Saviour.

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.

Many of the Jews believed their Abrahamic descent alone was pleasing to God.  John, however, chopped their Theology to pieces.

10 And now also the axe 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.

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:

Remember, John was preaching to a mixed multitude.  Some would be saved and some would not.  Those who were not saved would be baptized in Hellfire.

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

“Unquenchable” means: greedy, ravenous, unappeasable, unsatisfiable, or limitless. (7)

13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

In being baptized by John, Jesus was identifying Himself, not only with John’s ministry but with the three Old Testament offices and anointing.  There were three substances used to anoint people.  These included; water, oil, and blood (Lev 8:6, 12, 23).  The three offices were prophets, priests, and kings.  While prophets and kings were anointed with oil only, priests were anointed with all three of the above.  Jesus, as Prophet, Priest, and King was anointed: with water by John the Baptist (vss. 15-16), with oil by the woman with an alabaster box[3], and with blood by Himself[4].

Since many misunderstand the meaning of baptism, it is necessary to point out that getting baptized has never saved anyone.  If water could wash away sins they’re in revival at Myrtle Beach.

14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Many times as preachers we have more honors bestowed upon us than we deserve.  However, if it be the will of God, we are not to decline from our duty, even though it may flatter us.  We can do no more than our duty; we should desire to do no less.  Note: it was John the Baptist.  Not John the Methodist or John the non-denominational.

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.

They say, “Never think too highly of yourself, even God became a baby!”  And here, the Son of God submits Himself to baptism.

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:

The wording here demands baptism by immersion.  For it would be difficult if not impossible to come “Up…out of the water…” if you’re only being “sprinkled.” In other words, sprinkling is not the Biblical mode of baptism.  Furthermore, water is the only proper element to be baptized in.  That should be elementary.  In fact, I wouldn’t have brought it up had it not been for a humorous story involving the translators of the King James Bible.

One day, when the translators were discussing baptism in front of King James, the Bishop of Peterborough made an off the cuff comment.  He said that he knew of one case in which an ancient father had baptised with sand instead of water. James blurted out, “A turd for the argument. He might as well have pissed on them, for that had been more liker to water than sand.” (8) Reportedly, the bishop’s reputation never recovered.

17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

In this chapter we see all three Persons of the Godhead manifested: the Son in the water, the Spirit in the air, and a sound from the Father in heaven.  We serve a God that is so big He had to manifest Himself in three Persons!

It is true that the word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible.  However, it is also true that the word “Bible” does not appear in the Bible, yet both exist.  “Godhead” is the King James word for “Trinity”.  It is only fitting then, that the word “Godhead”[5] appears three times in Scripture.  Three, of course, is the number for divine completeness or perfection.  Jehovah’s Witlesses question the doctrine of the Trinity on the grounds it is hard to understand.  Speaking of which, someone has well said, “To try and understand the Trinity is to lose your mind; to deny it is to lose your soul.”

The Apostle John asked a good question: “Who is a liar?”  We could answer that by listing the JW’s, LDS, etc.  Why?  Because a liar is any man “…that denieth that Jesus is the Christ…” and “He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1John 2:22) Again he says, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1John 2:23) I do not attempt to fully comprehend; much less explain the Trinity.  The Bible does teach it, however, and I accept it.  Someone has said, “The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it.”  But if the Bible says it, it does not matter who believes it; it is still true.

[1] Isaiah has 66 chapters just like the Bible has 66 books.  Matthew is the 40th book in the Bible.   The quotation in Matt 3:3 is from Isaiah 40:3.  Students of Bible Numerology will find this connection interesting.

[2] “Meet” means fit; suitable; proper; qualified; convenient; adapted, as to a use or purpose. (Webster)

[3] “There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.” (Matt 26:7)

[4] “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt 26:28) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb 9:12)  “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Heb 1:3)

[5] Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9

August 5, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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