|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-14 The scope and design of John's ministry were, to bring the people from their sins, and to their Saviour. He came preaching, not a sect, or party, but a profession; the sign or ceremony was washing with water. By the words here used John preached the necessity of repentance, in order to the remission of sins, and that the baptism of water was an outward sign of that inward cleansing and renewal of heart, which attend, or are the effects of true repentance, as well as a profession of it. Here is the fulfilling of the Scriptures, Isa 40:3, in the ministry of John. When way is made for the gospel into the heart, by taking down high thoughts, and bringing them into obedience to Christ, by levelling the soul, and removing all that hinders us in the way of Christ and his grace, then preparation is made to welcome the salvation of God. Here are general warnings and exhortations which John gave. The guilty, corrupted race of mankind is become a generation of vipers; hateful to God, and hating one another. There is no way of fleeing from the wrath to come, but by repentance; and by the change of our way the change of our mind must be shown. If we are not really holy, both in heart and life, our profession of religion and relation to God and his church, will stand us in no stead at all; the sorer will our destruction be, if we do not bring forth fruits meet for repentance. John the Baptist gave instructions to several sorts of persons. Those that profess and promise repentance, must show it by reformation, according to their places and conditions. The gospel requires mercy, not sacrifice; and its design is, to engage us to do all the good we can, and to be just to all men. And the same principle which leads men to forego unjust gain, leads to restore that which is gained by wrong. John tells the soldiers their duty. Men should be cautioned against the temptations of their employments. These answers declared the present duty of the inquirers, and at once formed a test of their sincerity. As none can or will accept Christ's salvation without true repentance, so the evidence and effects of this repentance are here marked out.
Verse 6. - And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. And when this preparation is complete, then shall Messiah publicly appear. And the Baptist faithfully performed his work as pioneer of the Christ. He awoke men's slumbering consciences; his note of alarm aroused through Palestine multitudes of men and women who afterwards, no doubt, formed the nucleus at least of the crowds who thronged round Jesus as he preached in the cities washed by the Lake of Galilee, or in the streets and temple courts of Jerusalem.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. "By the salvation of God" is meant, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of God's appointing and sending; and who is the author of that salvation which God resolved on, contrived, and approved of; and is his ordinance for salvation, unto the ends of the earth, for all his elect; Luke 2:30 whom a great number among the Jews should, and did see, with their bodily eyes; and whom not only God's elect among them, but also all of them among the Gentiles, should behold with an eye of faith, for themselves, as their Saviour and Redeemer. It is matter of question, what passage is here referred to; whether Isaiah 40:5 or Isaiah 3:10 the latter comes nearest to the words, and the former stands closely connected with the expressions before cited; though it is usual with the New Testament writers, to join together passages, which stand in different places of the same prophet, and even which are in different books; Romans 9:33 compared with Isaiah 8:14 and Matthew 21:5 compared with Isaiah 62:11 and that agreeably to the method used by Jewish writers (r).
(r) Vid. Surenhus. Biblos Katallages, de modis Allegandi, &c. Thes. 7. p. 45, 46, 319.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. all flesh, &c.—(quoted literally from the Septuagint of Isa 40:5). The idea is that every obstruction shall be so removed as to reveal to the whole world the Salvation of God in Him whose name is the "Saviour" (compare Ps 98:3; Isa 11:10; 49:6; 52:10; Lu 2:31, 32; Ac 13:47).
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