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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Matthew Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Matthew (Levi)
Date Penned: (60-65 AD)
Overview: Jesus Christ the King (c 1-28)
Theme: The Birth and Preparation of Jesus, The King (c 1-4)
Message: John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus (v 1-12) John Baptizes Jesus (v 13-17)

Matthew 3 Commentary
(3:1) Almost 30 years had passed since the events of chapter 2, Here John the Baptist burst onto the scene. . His theme was "Repent!" Repentance means doing an about-face - a 180 degree turn - from the kind of self-centeredness that leads to wrong actions such as lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, revenge, abuse, or sexual immorality. A person who repents stops rebelling and begins following God's way of living prescribed in his Word. The first step in turning to God is to admit your sin as John urged. Then God will receive you and help live the way he wants you to. Remember that only God can get rid of sin. He doesn't expect us to clean up our lives before we come to him. 

(3:2) The kingdom of heaven began when God himself entered human history as a man. Today Jesus-Christ reigns in the hearts of believers, but the Kingdom of heaven will not be fully realized until all evil in the world is judged and removed. Christ came to earth first as a suffering servant. He will come again as King and Judge to rule victoriously over all the earth.

(3:3) The prophet quoted is Isaiah (chapter 40) one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament and one of the most quoted in the New Testament. Like Isaiah, John was a prophet who urged the people to confess their sins and live for God. Both prophets taught the message of repentance is good news to those who listen and seek the healing forgiveness of God's love, but terrible news to those who refuse to listen and cut off their only hope. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. People who do not know Jesus need to be prepared to meet hem. We can prepare them by explaining their need for forgiveness, demonstrating Christ's teachings by our conduct, and telling them how Christ can give their lives meaning. We can make his paths straight by correcting misconceptions that might be hindering them from approaching Christ. Someone you know may be open to a relationship with Christ. What can you do to prepare the way for this person?

(3:4) John must have presented a strange image! Many people came to hear this preacher who wore odd clothes and ate unusual food. One probably came simply out of curiosity and ended up repenting of their sins as they listened to his powerful message. People may be curious about your Christian life-style and values. You can use their simple curiosity as an opener to share how Christ makes a difference in your life. John was noticeably different from other religious leaders of his day. While many were greedy, selfish, and preoccupied with winning the praise of the people. John was concerned only with the praise of God. Having separated himself from the evil and hypocrisy of his day, he lived differently from other people to show that his message was new. John not only preached God's law, he lived it. Do you practice what you preach? Do people to Know that his message was new? John not only preached God's Law, he lived it. Do you practice what you preach? Do people know what you believe by the way you live?

(3:5) Why did John attract so many people? He was the first true prophet in 400 years, He blasted both HeHerod and the religious leaders, daring acts that fascinated the common people. But John also had strong words for his audience - they too were sinners and kneeded to repent. His message was peaceful and true. 

(3:6) When you wash dirty hands, the results are immediately visible. But repentance happens inside with a cleansing that isn't immediately. so John used symbolic action that people could see, Baptism. The Jews used baptism to initiate converts, so John's  audience was familiar with the rite. Here baptism was used as a sign of repentance and forgiveness. Repent means to turn, implying a change of behavior. It is turning from sin toward God. Have you repented of sin in your life?Can others see the difference it makes in you? A changed life with new and different behavior makes your repentance real and visible. The Jordan River is about 70 miles long. Its main section between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea Jerusalem lies about 20 miles west of the Jordan. This river was Israel's eastern border, and many significant events in the nation's history took place there. It was by the Jordan River that the Israelites renewed their covenant with God before entering the Promised Land (Joshua 1) Here John the Baptist calls them to renew their covenant with God again. 

(3:7) The Jewish religious leaders were divided into several groups. Two of the most prominent groups were the Pharisees and Sadducees. Pharisees separated themselves from anything non-Jewish and carefully followed both the Old Testament laws and the oral traditions handed down through the centuries. The Sadducees believed the Pentateuch alone (Genesis & Deuteronomy) to be God's Word. They were descended mainly from priestly nobility, while the Pharisees came from all classes of people. The two groups disliked each other greatly, and both opposed Jesus. John the Baptist criticized the Pharisees for being legalist  and hypocritic following the letter of the law while ignoring its true intent. He criticized the Sadducees for using religion to advance their political position. 

(3:8) John the Baptist called people more than words or ritual, he told them to change their behavior "Fruits meet for repentance" means "Fruits that match Repentance" God looks beyond our words and religious activities to see if our conduct backs up our words, and he judges our words by the actions that accompany them.

(3:9-10) Just as a fruit tree is expected to bear fruit, God's People should produce a crop of good deeds. God had no use for those who call themselves Chritians but act otherwise. Like many people who were God's People in name only. We are of no value if we are Christians in name only. We will be known by our fruit.

(3:10) God's message hasn't changed since the Old Testament - people will be judged for their unproductive lives. God calls us to be active in our obedience. John compared people who say they believe God but don't live for God to be unproductive trees that will be chopped down. To be productive for God, we must obey this steachins, Resist temptation, actively serve and help others and share our faith. How productive are you for God?

(3:11) John baptised people as a sign that they had asked God to forgive their sins and had asked God to forgive their sins and had decided to live as he wanted them to live . Baptism was an outward commitment. To be effective, it had to be accompanied by an inward change of attitude leading to a changed life - the work of the Holy Spirit. John said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with Fire. This looks ahead to Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit would be sent by Jesus in the form of a tongues of fire, empowering his followers to preach the Gospel. John's statement also symbolizes the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing God's judgement on those who refuse to repent. Everyone will one day be baptized - either now by God's Holy Spirit, or later by the fire of his judgement. 

(3:12) What is the part of the plant that is useful: the chaff is the worthless outer shell, Because it is useless, chaff is burned, wheat , however, is stored. Unrepentant people will be judged and discarded because they were worthless in God's work: those who repent and believe will be saved and used by God.

(3:13) John had been explaining that Jesus' baptism would be much greater than his, when Jesus suddenly came to him and asked to be baptised! John fel unqualified. He wanted Jesus to baptize him. Why did Jesus ask to be baptized? It was not for repentance for sin because Jesus never sinned. "To fulfill all righteousness" means to accomplish God's mission. Jesus saw his baptism as advancing God's work, Jesus was baptized in obedience to the Father as a identity in the trinity and the picture of the unity of the believer being in Christ Jesus. 

(3:15) Put yourself in John's shoes . Your work is going well, people are taking notice, everything is growing, But you know that the purpose of your work is to prepare the people for Jesus (John 1) Now Jesus has arrived, and his coming tests your integrity. Will you be able to turn your follower over to him? John passed the test by publically baptizing Jesus, Soon he would say "He must increase, but I must decrease '' Can we, like John , put our egos and profitable work aside in order to point others to Jesus? Are we willing to lose some of our status so that everyone will benefit.
(3:16,17) The doctrine of the Trinity means that God is three persons and yet one in essence. In this passage, all three people to fht Trinity are present and active. God the Father speaks: God the Son is baptized: God the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus: God id 1, yet in 3 persons at the same time. This is one of God;s incomprehensible mysteries. Other Bible references that speak of the Father, Son , and Holy Ghost are found in Matthew 25

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Matthew with Chapter 3. In our text today we see the account of John the Baptist Preparing the way of Jesus, preaching repentance, rebuking sinners, and baptizing Jesus. In making application we see that the Lord is still preparing the way for us with His Word, the Bible. In its pages are all the issues of life and if listen, as those who listened to John in his day, will that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. How about you? Do you see Jesus through the Word of God? Let us learn from our text today and the example of the John the Baptist to see that the Lord has prepared a way for us that we can find if we simply listen to the Word of the Lord.


Matthew 3

Matthew 3

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

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

 3For 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.

 4And 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.

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

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

 7But 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?

 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

 9And 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.

 10And 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.

 11I 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:

 12Whose 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.

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

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

 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

 16And 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:

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