John the Baptist tells us to Repent of our sins. He is calling us to repentance. He also baptized Jesus.
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1. “Matthew introduces John as he came to be known—as one who baptized people. John proclaimed God’s message as a prophetic spokesman in the desert of Judea, the wilderness area to the south of Jerusalem.” (Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew [Nashville: Broadman Press], 72)
2. “The word repent means ‘to change one’s mind and act on that change.’” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 16)
“John the Baptist speaks of repentance as a radical turning from sin that inevitably became a manifest in the fruit of righteousness (v. 8).” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1124)
4. His clothing “represent practical and long wearing clothes, but far from comfortable or fashionable. John evokes the image of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8, whom the Israelites were expecting before the Day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5).” (MacArthur, 1124)
Locusts [KJV]. “Moses’ Law allowed these as food (Leviticus 11:11).” (MacArthur, 1124)
5. “If you want to hear John, you went out to where he was. Obviously, the Spirit of God was on this man.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 19)
6. “In other words, all of this denoted a change in the lives of these people. The very fact that they submitted to John’s baptism was an indication that they were leaving their old lives and turning to new lives.” (McGee, 19)
7. “John’s message one of judgment. Israel had sinned and needed to repent, and the religious leaders ought to lead the way.” (Wiersbe, 17)
“This is really strong language. He’s talking to the dignified Pharisees and Sadducees and is telling them, ‘There must be evidence of this new life. You can’t just go through the act of baptism. There must fruit in your life.” (McGee, 19)
8. “John was not satisfied with regret or remorse; he wanted ‘fruits meet for repentance.’” (Wiersbe, 16)
“Repentance means turning from one’s sin, and faith is turning to God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).” (MacArthur, 1125)
9. “John’s listeners may have believed that merely being descendants of Abraham, members of God’s chosen race, made them spiritually secure. But Abraham’s real descendants are those who share his faith (Romans 4:16); and ‘only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham’ (Galatians 3:7, 29).” (MacArthur, 1125) See John 8:39-44
10. “The ax was lying at the root of the tree, and if the tree (Israel) did not bear good fruit, it would be cut down (see Luke 13:6-10). If the nation repented, the way would be prepared for the coming of the Messiah.” (Wiersbe, 17)
11. “The Jews baptized Gentile converts, but John was baptizing Jews! His baptism fulfilled two purposes: It prepared the nation for Christ, and it presented Christ to the nation (John 1:31).” (Wiersbe, 17)
“John views himself as of lower status than a slave, one of whose most menial tasks was to carry the usually dirty sandals of his master.” (Blomberg, 79)
“Both John and Jesus will preach repentance and use water baptism as the outward sign of an inward change (cf. John 4:1-2), but only Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Blomberg, 79)
12. Winnowing fan [NKJV]. “A tool for tossing grain into the wind so that chaff blows away.” (MacArthur, 1125)
“The wheat, like believers, is preserved and safe-guarded; the chaff, like unbelievers, is destroyed.” (Blomberg, 80)
13. “John’s baptism symbolizes repentance, so John sees no need for the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29) to be baptized.” (MacArthur, 1125)
“Why was Jesus baptized? First, His baptism gave approval to John’s ministry. Second, He identified Himself with publicans and sinner, the very people He came to save. But mainly, His baptism pictured His future baptism on the cross (Matthew 20:22; Luke 12:50) when all the ‘waves and billows’ of God’s judgment would go over Him (Psalm 42:7; Jonah 2:3).” (Wiersbe, 17)
14. John “now acknowledges his own sinfulness in comparison with Jesus and how the tables ought rightfully to be turned. Jesus should be baptizing John.” (Blomberg, 81)
15. “Jesus has not come to confess any sin but ‘to fulfill all righteousness.’” (Blomberg, 81)
“‘To fulfil all righteousness’ means to complete everything that forms part of a relationship of obedience to God. In so doing, Jesus identifies with and endorses John’s ministry as divinely ordained and his message as one to be heeded.” (Blomberg, 81)
16. “Here we have a manifestation of the Trinity. As the Lord Jesus is coming out of the water, the Spirit of God descends upon Him like a dove, and the Father Speaks from heaven.” (McGee, 21)
17. “This heavenly pronouncement combines language from Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1, prophecies that those expecting a coming Messiah would have known well. (Cf. 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35.) (MacArthur, 1126)
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Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
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New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew Nashville: Broadman Press
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Robertson, A. T., A Harmony of the Gospels. New York, HarperCollins Publishers
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004