|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-8. Isaiah and Malachi each spake concerning the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the ministry of John. From these prophets we may observe, that Christ, in his gospel, comes among us, bringing with him a treasure of grace, and a sceptre of government. Such is the corruption of the world, that there is great opposition to his progress. When God sent his Son into the world, he took care, and when he sends him into the heart, he takes care, to prepare his way before him. John thinks himself unworthy of the meanest office about Christ. The most eminent saints have always been the most humble. They feel their need of Christ's atoning blood and sanctifying Spirit, more than others. The great promise Christ makes in his gospel to those who have repented, and have had their sins forgiven them, is, they shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost; shall be purified by his graces, and refreshed by his comforts. We use the ordinances, word, and sacraments without profit and comfort, for the most part, because we have not of that Divine light within us; and we have it not because we ask it not; for we have his word that cannot fail, that our heavenly Father will give this light, his Holy Spirit, to those that ask it.
Verse 8. - I baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with [or in] the Holy Ghost. It is as though he said, "Christ will pour his Holy Spirit so abundantly upon you, that he will cleanse you from all your sins, and fill you with holiness and love and all his other excellent graces." Christ did this visibly on the day of Pentecost. And this he does invisibly in the. sacrament of Holy Baptism, and in the rite of Confirmation, which is the completion of the sacrament of Baptism. John baptized with water only, but Christ with water and the Holy Spirit. John baptized the body only, Christ baptizes the soul. By how much, therefore, the Holy Spirit transcends the water, and the soul excels the body, by so much is Christ's baptism more excellent than that of John, which was only preparatory and rudimentary. If it be asked why it was needful that our Lord should be baptized with John's baptism, the best answer is that given by Christ himself, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness;" it becometh us - me in receiving this baptism, and you in imparting it. Christ was sent to do the whole will of God; and as in his circumcision, so in his baptism, "he was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I indeed have baptized you with water,.... This was spoken to the baptized persons, partly to take off their dependence upon him and his baptism; and partly to direct their views to Christ, from whom the gifts and graces of the Spirit are alone to be had:
but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost; See Gill on Matthew 3:11. One copy adds, "and with fire", as there: a Jewish writer says, the holy blessed God baptizeth with fire, and the wise shall understand (p).
(p) R. Menachem in Leviticus 8.apud Ainsworth on Genesis 17.12.
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