Matthew 3:17
And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) A voice from heaven.—The words were heard, so far as the record goes, as the sign was seen, by our Lord and the Baptist only. It was a testimony to them, and not to the multitude. The precise force of the latter clause, in whom I was well pleased, points (to speak after the manner of men) rather to a definite divine act or thought, than to a continued ever-present acceptance. He who stood there was the beloved Son, in whom, “in the beginning,” the Father was well-pleased. To the Baptist this came as the answer to all questionings. This was none other than the King to whom had been spoken the words, Thou art my Son” (Psalm 2:7), who was to the Eternal Father what Isaac was to Abraham (the very term “beloved son” is used in the Greek of Genesis 22:2, where the English version has “only”), upon whom the mind of the Father rested with infinite content. And we may venture to believe that the “voice” came as an attestation also to the human consciousness of the Son of Man. There had been before, as in Luke 2:49, the sense that God was His Father. Now, with an intensity before unfelt, and followed, as the sequel shows, with entire change in life and action, there is, in His human soul, the conviction that He is “the Son, the beloved.”

Here, as before, it is instructive to note the legendary accretions that have gathered round the simple narrative of the Gospels. Justin (Dial. c., Tryph. p. 316) adds that “a fire was kindled in Jordan.” An Ebionite Gospel added to the words from heaven, “This day have I begotten thee,” and further adds, “a great light shone around the place, and John saw it, and said, ‘Who art thou, Lord?’ and again a voice from heaven, saying. ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And then John fell down, and said, ‘I beseech Thee, O Lord, baptise Thou me.’ But He forbade him, saying, ‘Suffer it, for thus it is meet that all things should be accomplished.’

More important and more difficult is the question, What change was actually wrought in our Lord’s human nature by this descent of the Spirit? The words of the Baptist, “He giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (John 3:34) imply the bestowal of a real gift. The words that follow here, “He was led by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1), “The Spirit driveth Him” (Mark 1:12), show, in part, the nature of the change. We may venture to think even there of new gifts, new powers, a new intuition (comp. John 3:11), a new constraint, as it were, bringing the human will that was before in harmony with the divine into a fuller consciousness of that harmony, and into more intense activity; above all, a new intensity of prayer, uttering itself in Him, as afterwards in His people, in the cry, “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). There also we may think of the Spirit as “making intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered.”

Matthew 3:17. And lo! — As a further token of the divine regard to Christ, and of the glorious dignity of his person, a voice from heaven, saying, to John, concerning Christ, This is my beloved Son, and to Christ himself, Thou art my beloved Son, Luke 3:22. For it is not improbable that both sentences were pronounced; the voice uttering the words, Thou art my beloved Son, &c. while the Spirit was descending, as if they had been directed to Jesus alone, in answer to his prayer; and, after the Spirit rested on Jesus, the voice, speaking to the Baptist and the multitude, said, This is my beloved Son, &c. St. Luke informs us, that he was praying when this happened, and it is observable that all the voices from heaven, by which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced while he was praying, or quickly after. Luke 9:29; Luke 9:35; John 12:28. In whom I am well pleased — Or, in whom I delight, That is, whose character I perfectly approve, and in whom I acquiesce as the great Mediator, through whom will I show myself favourable unto sinful creatures. See Isaiah 42:1. The original word properly signifies an entire acquiescence, or a special and singular complacency and satisfaction. This the Father took, in the person and undertaking of Christ; and this, through him, he takes in all true believers, who, by faith, are united to him, and made members of his body. And O, how poor, in comparison of this, are all other kinds of praise, yea, and all other pleasures! To have the approbation, and be the delight of God; this is praise, this is pleasure indeed! This is, at once, true glory and true happiness, and is the highest and brightest light that virtue can appear in. 3:13-17 Christ's gracious condescensions are so surprising, that even the strongest believers at first can hardly believe them; so deep and mysterious, that even those who know his mind well, are apt to start objections against the will of Christ. And those who have much of the Spirit of God while here, see that they need to apply to Christ for more. Christ does not deny that John had need to be baptized of him, yet declares he will now be baptized of John. Christ is now in a state of humiliation. Our Lord Jesus looked upon it as well becoming him to fulfil all righteousness, to own every Divine institution, and to show his readiness to comply with all God's righteous precepts. In and through Christ, the heavens are opened to the children of men. This descent of the Spirit upon Christ, showed that he was endued with his sacred influences without measure. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. At Christ's baptism there was a manifestation of the three Persons in the sacred Trinity. The Father confirming the Son to be Mediator; the Son solemnly entering upon the work; the Holy Spirit descending on him, to be through his mediation communicated to his people. In Him our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable, for He is the altar that sanctifies every gift, 1Pe 2:5. Out of Christ, God is a consuming fire, but in Christ, a reconciled Father. This is the sum of the gospel, which we must by faith cheerfully embrace.A voice from heaven - A voice from God. This was probably heard by all who were present. This voice, or sound, was repeated on the mount of transfiguration, Matthew 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.

17. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is—Mark and Luke give it in the direct form, "Thou art." (Mr 1:11; Lu 3:22).

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.

Ver. 16,17. This story is also related Mark 1:10,11 Lu 3:21. Luke saith that Jesus praying, the heaven was opened. Mark saith, cloven asunder. It is most probable that the opening of the heavens mentioned (though possibly far more glorious) bare a proportion to that opening of the heavens which we often see in a time of great lightning, when the air seemeth to divide to make the fuller and clearer way for the light.

Unto him; that is, unto John.

And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. The Spirit of God is an invisible substance, and cannot be seen by human eyes, but the shape assumed by any person of the Trinity may be seen. Whether it was a real dove, or only the appearance of a dove, is little material for us to know. It was certainly one or the other; nor could any representation at this time be more fit, either to let the world know the dove like nature of Christ, Isaiah 42:2, or what should be the temper of all those who receive the same Spirit, though by measure, and are by it taught to be innocent as doves. Not that Christ had not received the Spirit before, but that his receiving of it might be notified to others. This dove, or appearance of a dove, lighted upon Christ, thereby showing for whose sake this apparition was. Christ was not confirmed only to be the Son of God by this appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and lighting upon him, but also by a voice from the excellent glory, saith Peter, 2 Peter 1:17; God forming a voice in the air which spake, saying,

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. The word signifieth, a dearly beloved Son. The same voice was repeated at Christ’s transfiguration, Matthew 17:5. Peter from it concludes the certainty of the faith of the gospel, in the aforementioned text.

In whom I am well pleased: the word signifieth a special and singular complacency and satisfaction: I am pleased in his person, according to that, Proverbs 8:30; I am well pleased in his undertaking, in all that he shall do and suffer in the accomplishment of the redemption of man. We are made accepted in the Beloved, Ephesians 1:6. This text (as is generally observed) is a clear proof of the trinity of persons or subsistences in the one Divine Being: here was the Father speaking from heaven, the Son baptized and come out of the water, the Holy Ghost descending in the form or shape of a dove. And lo, a voice from heaven, saying,.... At the same time the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and lighted on Christ, and whilst it abode upon him, an extraordinary voice was heard; hence the note of attention and admiration, "lo", is prefixed unto it, as before, to the opening of the heavens; being what was unusual and surprising; and as denoting something to be expressed of great moment and importance. The Jews, in order to render this circumstance less considerable, and to have it believed, that these voices from heaven heard in the time of Jesus, and in relation to him were common things, have invented a great many stories concerning , "the voice", or "the daughter of the voice from heaven"; which they pretend came in the room of prophecy: their (t) words are,

"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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 3:17. Φω νὴλέγουσα] Here neither is ἐγένετο to be supplied, after Luke 3:22; nor does the participle stand for the finite tense. See on Matthew 2:18. But literally: and lo, there, a voice from heaven which spoke. Comp. Matthew 17:5; Luke 5:12; Luke 19:20; Acts 8:27; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 6:2; Revelation 7:9.

ὁ ἀγαπητός] dilectus, not unicus (Loesner, Fischer, Michaelis, and others). The article, however, does not express the strengthened conception (dilectissimus), as Wetstein and Rosenmüller assert, but is required by grammar; for the emphasis lies on ὁ υἱός μου, to which the characteristic attribute is added by way of distinction. Comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 529 f. Exactly so in the same voice from heaven, Matthew 17:5.

ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα] Hebraistic construction imitative of חָפֵץ כְ. See Winer, p. 218 [E. T. 291]. Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 371 (Polybius ii. 12. 13 does not apply here); frequently in LXX. and Apocrypha.

The aorist denotes: in whom I have had good pleasure (Ephesians 1:4; John 17:24), who has become the object of my good pleasure. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 746; Bernhardy, p. 381 f.; Kühner, II. 1, p. 134 f. The opposite is ἐμίσησα, Romans 9:13; ἤχθηρε κρονίων, Hom. Il. xx. 306.

The divine voice solemnly proclaims Jesus to be the Messiah, ὁ υἱός μου; which designation, derived from Psalm 2:7,[386] is in the divine and also in the Christian consciousness not merely the name of an office, but has at the same time a metaphysical meaning, having come forth from the Father’s being, κατὰ πνεῦμα, Romans 1:4, containing the Johannine idea, Ὁ ΛΌΓΟς ΣᾺΡΞ ἘΓΈΝΕΤΟ (according to Matthew 1:20, Luke 1:35, also the origin of the corporeity). That the passage in Isaiah 62:1 (comp. Matthew 12:18) lies at the basis of the expression of that voice, either alone (Hilgenfeld) or with others (Keim), has this against it, that Ὁ ΥἹΌς ΜΟΥ is the characteristic point, which is wanting in Isaiah l.c., and that, moreover, the other words in the passage do not specifically correspond with those in Isaiah.

[386] In the Gospel according to the Hebrews the words of the voice ran, according to Epiphanius, Haer. xxx. 13 : σύ μου εἶ ὁ υἱὸς ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα· καὶ πάλιν· ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε. So also substantially in Justin, c. Tr. 88. Manifestly an addition from later tradition, which had become current from the well-known passage in Psalms 2. Nevertheless, Hilgenfeld regards that form of the heavenly voice as the more original. See on the opposite side, Weisse, Evangelienfrage, p. 190 ff.

REMARK.

The fact of itself that Jesus was baptized by John, although left doubtful by Fritzsche, admitted only as possible by Weisse, who makes it rather to be a baptism of the Spirit, while relegated by Bruno Bauer to the workshop of later religious reflection, stands so firmly established by the testimony of the Gospels that it has been recognised even by Strauss, although more on à priori grounds (L. J. I. p. 418). He rejects, however, the more minute points as unhistorical, while Keim sees in it powerful and speaking figures of spiritual occurrences which then took place on the Jordan; Schenkel again introduces thoughts which are very remote; and Weizsäcker recognises in it the representation of the installation of Jesus into His vocation as Ruler, and that by the transformation of a vision of Jesus into an external fact, and refers the narrative to later communications probably made by the Lord to His disciples. The historical reality of the more minute details is to be distinguished from the legendary embellishments of them. The first is to be derived from John 1:32-34, according to which the Baptist, after an address vouchsafed to him by God, in which was announced to him the descent of the Spirit as the Messianic σημεῖον of the person in question, saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descend upon Jesus, and abide upon Him, and, in accordance with this, delivered the testimony that Jesus was the Son of God. The seeing of the Baptist, and the testimony which he delivered regarding it, is accordingly to be considered as based on John 1:32-34, as the source of the tradition preserved in the Synoptics, in the simplest form in Mark. According to Ewald, it was in spirit that Jesus saw (namely, the Spirit, like a dove, consequently “in all its liveliness and fulness,” according to Isaiah 11:2) and heard what He Himself probably related at a later time, and that the Baptist himself also observed in Jesus, as He rose up out of the water, something quite different from what he noticed in other men, and distinguished Him at once by the utterance of some extraordinary words. But, considering the deviation of John’s narrative from that of the Synoptics, and the connection in which John stood to Jesus and the Baptist, there exists no reason why we should not find the original fact in John. Comp. Neander, L. J. p. 83 f.; Schleiermacher, p. 144 ff.; Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 230 f. Moreover, that seeing of the Spirit in the form of a dove is a spiritual act, taking place in a vision (Acts 7:55; Acts 10:10 ff.), but which was transformed by the tradition of the apostolic age into an external manifestation, as the testimony of John (John 1:34), which was delivered on the basis of this seeing of his, was changed into a heavenly voice (which therefore is not to be taken as Bath Kol, least of all “as in the still reverberation of the thunder and in the gentle echo of the air,” as Ammon maintains, L. J. p. 273 f.). The more minute contents of the heavenly voice were suggested from Psalm 2:7, to which also the old extension of the legend in Justin, c. Tryph. 88, and in the Ev. sec. Hebr. in Epiph. Haer. xxx. 13, points. Consequently the appearance of the dove remains as an actual occurrence, but as taking place in vision (Orig. c. Cels. i. 43–48. Theodore of Mopsuestia: ἐν εἴδει περιστερᾶς γενομένη ἡ τοῦ πνεύματος κάθοδος οὐ πᾶσιν ὤφθη τοῖς παροῦσιν, ἀλλὰ κατά τινα πνευματικὴν θεωρίαν ὤφθη μόνῳ τῷ Ἰωάννῃ, καθὼς ἔθος ἦν τοῖς προφήταις ἐν μέσῳ πολλῶν τὰ πᾶσιν ἀθεώρητα βλέπεινὀπτασία γὰρ ἦν, οὐ φύσις τὸ φαινόμενον),—as also the opening of the heavens (Jerome: “Non reseratione elementorum, sed spiritualibus oculis”). Origen designates the thing as θεωρία νοητική. Comp. Grotius, Neander, Krabbe, de Wette, Bleek, Weizsäcker, Wittichen. Finally, the question[387] whether before the time of Christ the Jews already regarded the dove as a symbol of the Divine Spirit, is so far a matter of perfect indifference, as the Baptist could have no doubt, after the divine address vouchsafed to him, that the seeing the form of a dove descending from heaven was a symbolical manifestation of the Holy Spirit; yet it is probable, from the very circumstance that the ὀπτασία took place precisely in the form of a dove, that this form of representation had its point of connection in an already existing emblematic mode of regarding the Spirit, and that consequently the Rabbinical traditions relating thereto reach back in their origin to the pre-Christian age, without, however (in answer to Lücke on John), having to drag in the very remote figure of the dove descending down in order to brood, according to Genesis 1:2. Here it remains undetermined in what properties of the dove (innocence, mildness, and the like; Theodore of Mopsuestia: φιλόστοργον κ. φιλάνθρωπον ζῶον) the point of comparison was originally based. Moreover, according to John 1:32 ff., the purpose of what took place in vision does not appear to have been the communication of the Holy Spirit to Jesus (misinterpreted by the Gnostics as the reception of the λόγος), but the making known of Jesus as the Messiah to the Baptist on the part of God, through a ΣΗΜΕῖΟΝ of the Holy Spirit. In this the difficulty disappears which is derived from the divine nature of Jesus, according to which He could not need the bestowal of the Spirit, whether we understand the Spirit in itself, or as the communicator of a nova virtus (Calvin), or as πνεῦμα προφητικόν (Thomasius), or as the Spirit of the divine ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ for the work of the Messiah (Hofmann), as the spirit of office (Kahnis), which definite views are not to be separated from the already existing possession of the Spirit. The later doubts of the Baptist, Matthew 11:2 ff. (in answer to Hilgenfeld, Weizsäcker, Keim), as a momentary darkening of his higher consciousness in human weakness amid all his prophetic greatness, are to be regarded neither as a psychological riddle nor as evidence against his recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, which was brought about in a miraculous manner; and this is the more conceivable when we take into consideration the political element in the idea of the Messiah entertained by the imprisoned John (comp. John 1:29, Remark). If, however, after the baptism of Jesus, His Messianic appearance did not take place in the way in which the Baptist had conceived it, yet the continuous working of the latter, which was not given up after the baptism, can carry with it no well-founded objection to the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah, which is related in the passage before us. Comp. on John 3:23.

[387] Talmudic and Rabbinical witnesses, but no pre-Christian ones, are in existence for the Jewish manner of regarding it (amongst the Syrians the dove was held sacred as the symbol of the brooding power of nature; see Creuzer, Symbol. II. p. 80). See Chagig. ii., according to which the Spirit of God, like a dove, brooded over the waters (comp. Bereshith rabba, f. iv. 4; Sohar, f. xix. 3, on Genesis 1:2, according to which the Spirit brooding on the water is the Spirit of the Messiah). Targum on Song of Solomon 2:12 : “Vox turturis, vox Spirituss.” Ir. Gibborim, ad Genesis 1:2; Bemidb. rab. f. 250. 1. See also Sohar, Num. f. 68, 271 f., where the dove of Noah is placed in typical connection with the Messiah; in Schoettgen, II. p. 537 f. Comp. besides, Lutterbeck, neutest. Lehrbegr. I. p. 259 f.; Keim, Gesch. J. I. p. 539. The dove was also regarded as a sacred bird in many forms of worship amongst the Greeks.17. a voice from heaven] Thrice during our Lord’s ministry it is recorded that a voice from heaven came to Him. The two other occasions were at the Transfiguration and in the week of the Passion (John 12:28).

heaven] lit. as above heavens.

beloved] The original word is used specially and only of the Saviour in the Gospels, Mark 12:6 and Luke 20:13 cannot be called exceptions. In late Greek it is nearly interchangeable with “only-begotten.”Matthew 3:17. φωνὴ, κ.τ.λ., a voice, etc.) A most open manifestation of God, such as those recorded in Acts 2:2-3; Exodus 19:4; Exodus 19:9; Exodus 19:16; Exodus 40:34-35; Numbers 16:31; Numbers 16:42; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 1 Kings 18:38.—οὗτός ἐστιν, This is) St Mark and St Luke record that it was said, Σὺ εἶ,” “Thou art.” St Matthew has expressed the meaning. The words, οὗτόςεὐδόκησα,” occur again in Matthew 17:5. Faith assents, declaring, “Thou art the Son of God,” as in Matthew 16:16.—, the) The article introduced twice has great emphasis.—Υἱὸς, Son) See John 1:18; John 3:16ἀγαπητὸς, beloved) This might appear to be a proper name (cf. ch. Matthew 12:18), so as to produce these two predications: (1.) This is My Son; (2.) He is the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased. It is clear, however, from Luke 3:22, that Beloved is an epithet. Love is something natural, because This is the Son; good-pleasure, something, as it were, additional, because He does the things which please the Father. He is the Beloved, the only one; He shares not the Father’s love with another.—ἐν ᾧ, in whom) The preposition ἐν, in, indicates especially the object, and then also the cause of the Father’s good-pleasure. The Son is of Himself the object of the Father’s good-pleasure, and in the Son, all persons and all things. A phrase of the LXX.; cf. Gnomon on Colossians 2:18.—εὐδόκησα, I am well pleased) The verb εὐδοκῶ, to be well pleased, and the noun εὐδοκὶα, good-pleasure, are employed when one is pleased either by what one has, or does ones’s self, or by that which another has or does. Both parts of this notion agree with the present passage concerning the good-pleasure of the Father in the Son; for there is an eternal στοργὴ (natural affection) towards the only-begotten, a perpetual graciousness towards the Mediator, and in Him towards us, the sons of reconciliation. In ch. Matthew 27:5, are added the words, Αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε,” “Hear Him;” for then He was about to speak of His passion: now they are not added; for, at the commencement of His ministry, He only taught that which the Father spake, “This is My Son.”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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