And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Jump to: Barnes • BI • Calvin • Clarke • Chry • Darby • Gill • GSB • Guzik • Homiletics • JFB • MHC • MHCW • PNT • PUL • WES • TSKMatthew 17:5; Luke 9:35-36; 2 Peter 1:17. It was also heard just before his death, and was then supposed by many to be thunder, John 12:25-30. It was a public declaration that Jesus was the Messiah.
My beloved Son - This is the title which God himself gave to Jesus. It denotes the nearness of his relation to God, and the love of God for him, Hebrews 1:2. It implies that he was equal with God, Hebrews 1:5-8; John 10:29-33; John 19:7. The term "Son" is expressive of love of the nearness of his relation to God, and of his dignity and equality with God.
I am well pleased - or, I am ever delighted. The language implies that he was constantly or uniformly well pleased with him; and in this solemn and public manner he expressed his approbation of him as the Redeemer of the world.
The baptism of Jesus has usually been regarded as a striking manifestation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or the doctrine that there are three Persons in the divine nature:
(1) there is the Person of "Jesus Christ," the Son of God, baptized in Jordan, elsewhere declared to be equal with God, John 10:30.
(2) the Holy Spirit descending in a bodily form upon the Saviour. The Holy Spirit is also equal with the Father, or is also God, Acts 5:3-4.
(3) the Father, addressing the Son, and declaring that He was well pleased with him.
It is impossible to explain this transaction consistently in any other way than by supposing that there are three equal Persons in the divine nature or essence, and that each of these sustains an important part in the work of redeeming people.
In the preaching of John the Baptist we are presented with an example of a faithful minister of God. Neither the wealth, the dignity, nor the power of his auditors deterred him from fearlessly declaring the truth respecting their character. He called things by their right names. He did not apologize for their sins. He set their transgressions fairly before them, and showed them faithfully and fearlessly what must be the consequence of a life of sin. So should all ministers of the Gospel preach. Rank, riches, and power should have nothing to do in shaping and gauging their ministry. In respectful terms, but without shrinking, all the truth of the Gospel must be spoken, or woe will follow the ambassador of Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:16.
In John we also have an example of humility. Blessed with great success, attended by the great and noble, and with nothing but principle to keep him from turning it to his advantage, he still kept himself out of view, and pointed to a far greater Personage at hand. So should every minister of Jesus, however successful, keep the Lamb of God in his eye, and be willing - nay, rejoice - to lay all his success and honors at Jesus' feet.
Everything about the work of Jesus was wonderful. No person had before come into the world under such circumstances. God would not have attended the commencement of his life with such wonderful events if it had not been of the greatest moment to our race, and if he had not possessed a dignity above all prophets, kings, and priests. His "name" was to be called "Wonderful, Councillor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace;" "of the increase of his government and peace" there was to be "no end;" "upon the throne of David and of his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice forever" Isaiah 9:6-7; and it was proper that a voice from heaven should declare that he was the long-promised prince and Saviour; that the angels should attend him, and the Holy Spirit signalize his baptism by his personal presence. And it is proper that we, for whom he came, should give to him our undivided affections, our time, our influence, our hearts, and our lives.Matthew 17:5. By this voice, and overshadowing of the Spirit, the mission of the Lord Jesus was publicly and solemnly accredited; God intimating that he had before delighted in him: the law, in all its ordinances, having pointed him out, for they could not be pleasing to God, but as they were fulfilled in, and showed forth, the Son of man, till, he came.
As the office of a herald is frequently alluded to in this chapter, and also in various other parts of the New Testament, I think it best to give a full account of it here, especially as the office of the ministers of the Gospel is represented by it. Such persons can best apply the different correspondences between their own and the herald's office.
At the Olympic and Isthmian games, heralds were persons of the utmost consequence and importance. Their office was: -
1. To proclaim from a scaffold, or elevated place, the combat that was to be entered on.
2. To summon the Agonistae, or contenders, to make their appearance, and to announce their names.
3. To specify the prize for which they were to contend.
4. To admonish and animate, with appropriate discourses, the athletae, or combatants.
5. To set before them, and explain, the laws of the agones, or contenders; that they might see that even the conqueror could not receive the crown or prize, unless he had strove lawfully.
6. After the conflict was ended, to bring the business before the judges, and, according to their determination, to proclaim the victor.
7. To deliver the prize to the conqueror, and to put the crown on his head, in the presence of the assembly.
8. They were the persons who convoked all solemn and religious assemblies, and brought forth, and often slew, the sacrifices offered on those occasions.
9. They frequently called the attention of the people, during the sacrifices, to the subject of devotion, with hoc age! τουτο πραττε: mind what you are about, don't be idle; think of nothing else. See Plutarch in Coriolanus.
The office, and nearly the word itself, was in use among the ancient Babylonians, as appears from Daniel 3:4, where the Chaldee word כרוזא caroza, is rendered by the Septuagint κηρυξ kerux, and by our translation, very properly, herald. His business in the above place was to call an assembly of the people, for the purpose of public worship; to describe the object and nature of that worship, and the punishment to be inflicted on those who did not join in the worship, and properly assist in the solemnities of the occasion.
Daniel 3:4, is the only place in our translation, in which the word herald is used: but the word κηρυξ, used by St. Paul, 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11, and by St. Peter, 2 Peter 3:5, is found in the Septuagint, Genesis 41:43, as well as in Daniel 3:4, and the verb κηρυσσω is found in different places of that version, and in a great number of places in the New Testament.
"after the death of the latter prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the holy Spirit departed from Israel, and thenceforwards they used "Bath Kol", the "voice". One time they were sitting in the chamber of the house of Guria in Jericho, and there came to them , "the voice from heaven", (saying;) there is one here, who is fit to have the Shekinah (or divine majesty) abide on him, as Moses our master; but because his generation was not worthy, therefore the wise men set their eyes on Hillell, the elder; and when he died, they said concerning him, this was a holy man, a meek man, a disciple of Ezra. Again, another time they were sitting in a chamber in Jabneh, and there came to them "the voice from heaven", (saying;) there is one here, who is fit to have the Shekinah dwell on him; but because his generation was not worthy, therefore the wise men set their eyes on Samuel the little.''
I have cited this passage at large, partly because, according to them, it fixes the date and use of "the voice"; and partly, because it affords instances of it, wherefore more need not be mentioned; for, it would be endless to repeat the several things spoken by it; such as encouraging Herod to rebel, and seize his master's kingdom (u); forbidding Ben Uzziel to go on with his paraphrase on the Hagiographa, or holy books, when he had finished his Targum on the prophets (w); declaring the words of Hillell and Shammai to be the words of the living God (x); signifying the conception, birth, and death of (y) persons, and the like; all which seem to be mere fiction and imagination, diabolical delusions, or satanical imitations of this voice, that was now heard, in order to lessen the credit of it. But, to proceed; this extraordinary voice from heaven, which was formed in articulate sounds for the sake of John; and, according to the other Evangelists, was directed to Christ, Mark 1:11 expressed the following words, "this is my beloved Son". "This" person, who had been baptized in water, on whom the holy Spirit now rested, is no other than the Son of God in human nature; which he assumed, in order to be obedient to this, and the whole of his Father's will: he is his own proper "son", not by creation, as angels, and men; nor by adoption, as saints; nor by office, as magistrates; but in such a way of filiation as no other is: he is the natural, essential, and only begotten Son of God; his beloved Son, whom the Father loved from everlasting, as his own Son; the image of himself, of the same nature with him, and possessed of the same perfections; whom he loved, and continued to love in time, though clothed with human nature, and the infirmities of it; appearing in the likeness of sinful flesh; being in his state of humiliation, he loved him through it, and all sorrows and sufferings that attended it. Christ always was, and ever will be considered, both in his person as the Son of God, and in his office as mediator, the object of his love and delight; wherefore he adds,
in whom I am well pleased. Jehovah the Father took infinite delight and pleasure in him as his own Son, who lay in his bosom before all worlds; and was well pleased with him in his office relation, and capacity: he was both well pleased in him as his Son, and delighted in him as his servant, Isaiah 42:1 he was pleased with his assumption of human nature; with his whole obedience to the law; and with his bearing the penalty and curse of it, in the room and stead of his people: he was well pleased with and for his righteousness, sacrifice and atonement; whereby his law was fulfilled, and his justice satisfied. God is not only well pleased in, and with his Son, but with all his people, as considered in him; in him he loves them, takes delight in them, is pacified towards them, and graciously accepts of them. It would be almost unpardonable, not to take notice of the testimony here given to the doctrine of the Trinity; since a voice was heard from the "father" in heaven, bearing witness to "the Son" in human nature on earth, on whom "the Spirit" had descended and now abode. The ancients looked upon this as so clear and full a proof of this truth, that they were wont to say; Go to Jordan, and there learn the doctrine of the Trinity. Add to all this, that since this declaration was immediately upon the baptism of Christ, it shows that his Father highly approved of, and was well pleased with his submission to that ordinance; and which should be an encouraging motive to all believers to follow him in it.
(t) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 11. 1. Sota, fol. 48. 2. Yoma. fol. 9. 2.((u) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 3. 2. (w) Megilla, fol. 3. 1. (x) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 3. 2. (y) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 22. 1. T. Hieros. Sabbat. fol. 8. 3.And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased—The verb is put in the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough. "I delight" comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended; and this is the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry the thoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded (Isa 42:1), "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, IN WHOM My soul delighteth." Nor are the words which follow to be overlooked, "I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." (The Septuagint perverts this, as it does most of the Messianic predictions, interpolating the word "Jacob," and applying it to the Jews). Was this voice heard by the by-standers? From Matthew's form of it, one might suppose it so designed; but it would appear that it was not, and probably John only heard and saw anything peculiar about that great baptism. Accordingly, the words, "Hear ye Him," are not added, as at the Transfiguration.A voice from heaven. Three times God speaks from heaven in connection with the ministry of Christ--at his baptism (Mt 3:17 Mr 1:11 Lu 3:22), his transfiguration (Mt 17:5 Mr 9:7 Lu 9:35), and in the temple just before his suffering (Joh 12:28).
This is my beloved Son. The very words addressed to the Messiah in Ps 2:7; and from which the Son of God became one of his standing appellations. Thus the baptism of Christ was the occasion of his public recognition. No reader should fail to observe the significance of the time chosen by God for the acknowledgment of the Son. It is just after he has humbled himself in an act of obedience, in baptism, that the Holy Spirit anoints him as the Christ, and God formally acknowledges him as his Son. No more forcible expression of the estimate set by God on this institution could be given. This example and the New Testament harmonizes in teaching (1) That we must be baptized if we would follow Christ. (2) That it is when we repent and are baptized that we receive the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:38). (3) That when we have obeyed the Lord he will recognize us as his children.Verse 17. - Lo; peculiar to St. Matthew - a reminiscence of Aramaic diction. A voice. Similarly in Matthew 17:5 (Transfiguration, cf. 2 Peter 1:17, 18); John 12:28 (like thunder); [possibly Acts 2:6, Pentecost]; Acts 9:4 (Paul's conversion); 10:13, 15 (Peter). Talmudic and rabbinic writings often mention the Bath-Qol as speaking from heaven. The character of the occasions on which the voice is heard in the New Testament on the one hand, and in the Jewish writings on the other, shows the complete difference in the moral aspect of the two voices. The latter is at best little more than a parody of the former. (For the meaning of the expression Bath-Qol vide especially Weber, p. 188; Edersheim, 'Life,' 1:285.) From heaven; out of the heavens (Revised Version), pointing to the phrase in ver. 16. Saying. Western authorities add, "unto him," mostly reading the following words in the second person (cf. Mark and Luke). This is my beloved Son. Very similar if not identical words were spoken at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), Matthew giving precisely the same, Mark and Luke only omitting "in whom I am well pleased," and Luke also reading "chosen" instead of "beloved." It would seem more natural to suppose that the words spoken on the two occasions were really slightly different, and that therefore Matthew is the less accurate. My .... Son (cf. Psalm 2:7). My beloved Son. The expression is probably based on Isaiah 42:1 (cf. infra, Matthew 12:18, note); but this does not necessitate the punctuation of the Revised Version margin, and Westcott and Herr margin: "My Son; my beloved in whom," etc. (For the expression, comp. also Mark 12:6 (not in the parallel passage, Matthew 21:37); Ephesians 1:6.) In whom I am well pleased; rather, in whom I have delight (cf. Isaiah 62:4, Authorized Version). The tense (εὐδόκησα) is equivalent to "my delight" fell on him, he became the object of my love" (Winer, 40:5, b, 2). The Spirit came, the Father bore witness. "Thus the Baptist receives through a revelation the certainty of the Messiahship of Jesus, and thus the reader learns that the Son of David, who through his birth (ch. 1.) and the fortunes of his childhood (ch. 2.) was certified as the Messiah, now also is announced to the last of the prophets as the Son of God, to whom Jehovah, in Psalm 2:7, etc., had promised the Messianic dominion of the world" (Weiss, 'Matthaus-Evang.'). Yet not only so; the words probably revealed to the Lord Jesus himself more of his exact relationship to the Father than he had before as Man realized. Such an assurance of his true nature, and of the Father's delight in him, would be of essential service in strengthening him for his work (cf. Matthew 17:5). There are two other matters connected with our Lord's baptism recorded by tradition (cf. especially Resch, 'Agrapha,'pp. 346-367)-additional words spoken, and an additional sign given. The words spoken are found in "Western" authorities of Luke 3:22, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee," evidently with a desire to emphasize the application of the second psalm. The additional sign is the light or fire. The simplest form of this is (Tatian's 'Diatessaron,' edit. Zahn), "A light rose upon the waters;" and in the Ebionite Gospel apud Epiph., "Immediately a great light shone round about the place;" more fully in Justin Martyr ('Trypho,' § 88), "When Jesus had gone down into the water, fire was kindled in the Jordan;" also in a now lost 'Pred. Paul,' "When he was being baptized, fire was seen upon the water;" and in the Cod. Vercellensis of the Old Latin, "When he was being baptized, an immense light shone round from the water, so that all who had come thither were afraid." Although there is no intrinsic objection to this symbol having taken place, it is very improbable that in this case the evangelists would not have recorded it. The legend may have arisen from ver. 11, or, and more probably, from an endeavour to make the baptism parallel to the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2); cf. Ephraem, in Resch ('Agrapha,' p. 358), "John drew near and worshipped the Son, whose form an unwonted lustre surrounded."
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