|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:19-35 To his miracles in the kingdom of nature, Christ adds this in the kingdom of grace, To the poor the gospel is preached. It clearly pointed out the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, that the messenger he sent before him to prepare his way, did it by preaching repentance and reformation of heart and life. We have here the just blame of those who were not wrought upon by the ministry of John Baptist or of Jesus Christ himself. They made a jest of the methods God took to do them good. This is the ruin of multitudes; they are not serious in the concerns of their souls. Let us study to prove ourselves children of Wisdom, by attending the instructions of God's word, and adoring those mysteries and glad tidings which infidels and Pharisees deride and blaspheme.
Verse 30. - But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. The ruling classes and the highly cultured in Israel, turned a deaf ear to the fervent preaching of the gospel; as a class, they came not to his baptism. The result of the refusal of these powerful and learned men to hear the reformer's voice was that John's mission failed to bring about a national reformation. Rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. The English Version here is not happy, and might lead to a false conception of the words of the original. The Greek would be better and more accurately rendered, "rejected for themselves the counsel of God."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But the Pharisees and lawyers,.... Or Scribes, as the Syriac and Persic versions read; for the Scribes and lawyers were the same sort of persons. The Ethiopic version calls them, "the Scribes of the city": these "rejected the counsel of God against themselves"; against their own advantage, to their hurt and detriment; since by their impenitence and unbelief, and through their rejection of Christ and his forerunner, and the Gospel and the ordinances of it, they brought ruin and destruction, both temporal and eternal, upon themselves: or "towards themselves", or "unto them"; that is, they "rejected the command of God unto them", as the Arabic version renders it: for by "the counsel of God" here, is not meant his purpose, intention, and design, with respect to these persons, which was not, nor never is frustrated; but the precept of God, and so the Ethiopic version renders it,
they despised the command of God: that is, the ordinance of baptism, which was of God, and the produce of his counsel and wisdom, as the whole scheme, and all the ordinances of the Gospel are, and not the invention of men: or they rejected this "in themselves", as it may be rendered, and is by the Syriac and Persic versions; not openly and publicly, for they were afraid of the people, but inwardly and privately, and which their actions and conduct declared:
being not baptized of him; of John: by their neglect of this ordinance, they testified their aversion to it, and rejection of it.
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