Matthew 3
William Kelly Major Works Commentary
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
Matthew Chapter 3

We are now carried forward from the return of our Lord into the Holy Land to the days when John the Baptist came insisting upon the grand, essential truth of repentance. And John's ministry is viewed here entirely in connection with the Lord's relation to Israel. It is interesting to compare the different ways in which the Gospels present John himself, as illustrating the manner in which the Holy Ghost uses His divine right to shape and group the materials of our Lord's history according to the exact object in view. A casual reader might scarcely recognize that John the Baptist in John's Gospel was the Baptist of Matthew. The manner in which they are viewed, and the discourses that are recorded, take their form from the particular book in which the Holy Ghost has given them. This, so far from being imperfection, is a part of that admirable method in which God impresses the design which He has in view, and which suits the place which each portion of Scripture has to fill. And what can be of deeper interest, or more strengthening to faith, than to find that the very passages on which unbelief puts its finger as its alleged proofs of the imperfection of Scripture (varieties of statement insuperable to the mind of man), on the contrary, when viewed as part of God's plan for commending His beloved Son, all range into their own places in this great scheme, which is to the glory of Christ. This is the true key to all Scripture; and if that key be of great value from Genesis to Revelation, there is no place, perhaps, where its value is so conspicuous as in the Gospels. In finding four different accounts of our Lord, each presenting things in a different manner, the first thought of man's heart is that each succeeding Gospel must add to or correct what had gone before. But such thoughts only prove, either that the truth was never known, or that it has been forgotten. Is it adequately borne in mind that God is the author of the Gospels? Once admit that simple truth, and it would be evidently blasphemous to suppose that He makes mistakes. Look at the meanest thing that God has made, the minutest insect that the microscope can discover upon the least blade of grass - what does not fill the particular niche for which God created it? I do not deny that sin has brought all kinds of derangements into the natural as well as into the moral world. I admit that man's infirmities may appear even in the word of God: first, in not keeping the sacred deposit free from all corruption; and then in interpreting that word through some feeble medium of his own; and thus, one way or another, hindering the pure revealed light of God.

I have made these few remarks because all readers may not be equally familiar with the great truth of the difference of design in the Gospels, and therefore I do not scruple to draw attention to the immense help it furnishes to the understanding of Scripture, and especially of its apparent discrepancies.

In the chapter before us John the Baptist is presented as fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. He came "preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." In Luke you will find that the prophecy is carried farther down. More is given us than the words we have here. "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." The range of Luke is wider. "Every valley shall be filled," etc. "All flesh shall see," etc. I ask, Why is that quotation continued farther there? It is the more remarkable because usually Luke does not quote much from the Old Testament, as compared with Matthew. How comes it that Luke departs in this particular instance from his habit?. The reason is obvious. His task was to show the grace of God that brings salvation, and that has appeared to all men. The Holy Ghost leads him therefore to fasten upon those words that display the universal range of God's goodness to man.

But there is another expression that I must dwell upon for a little - "the kingdom of heaven." We are all familiar with it as a phrase often used in Scripture; but possibly not many are equally familiar with its force. Indeed, it is understood very vaguely even by most Christians. To many it conveys the idea of the Church - sometimes the visible, and sometimes the invisible Church. By others it is supposed to mean something tantamount to the gospel, or heaven itself at the end. The expression is derived from the Old Testament, and that is the reason why it appears in Matthew only. As we have already seen, our Evangelist writes with a view to Israel, and therefore lays hold of a phrase which is suggested by the Old Testament, and taken from the prophecy of Daniel, who speaks of the days coming when the heavens should rule. Before that (Dan. 2), we hear that the God of heaven is to set up a kingdom that should never be destroyed - the kingdom of heaven. And again, in Dan. 7, we are told of the Son of Man's coming, and of a universal kingdom which is given Him. Chapter 2 does not give us the person, but the thing itself: so that there might still have been a kingdom without the revelation of the person in whose hands it was held. But chapter 7 completes the circle, and shows us that it is not merely the heavens ruling in the distance, nor a kingdom opening with judgment on earth; but, besides that, there is a glorious Man to whom the rule of heaven will be entrusted. The Son of Man will not simply destroy what opposes God, but will introduce a universal kingdom.

This kingdom John the Baptist came preaching. I do not believe that he was at all aware of the particular form it was to take first. He simply preached the kingdom of heaven as at hand, himself the public and immediate forerunner of the Shepherd of Israel, with the thoughts of a godly Jew, and a special witness that the Messiah was there - that He was about to be manifested, who would execute judgment upon the evil, and introduce good in the power of God, and bring in the glory promised to the fathers; and that all this was about to be inaugurated and established in the person of Christ here below. This, I believe, was the general thought. And we shall find subsequently that for the rejection of Jesus by the Jews John was not at all prepared. This too it was that led to the twofold form taken by the kingdom of heaven. While the old or Jewish view of a kingdom established by power and glory as a visible sovereignty over the earth is postponed, the rejection of Jesus on earth and His ascension to God's right hand lead to the introduction of the kingdom of heaven in a mysterious form; which is, in point of fact, going on now. Thus it has two sides. When Christ went up to heaven and took His place as the rejected here, but the glorified One there, the kingdom of heaven began.

This is a view of the kingdom that we do not find in the Old Testament. To it pertain the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, that were only opened out as the Lord was manifestly rejected by Israel. Thus we see in Matt. 11 John sends two of his disciples to ask whether Jesus was really the Messiah, or were they to look for another? Whether he was himself staggered, or his disciples, or whether both were, it matters little - such was the result. It sounds like an unbelieving question to the Lord. He might well be astonished that Jesus did not deliver the Jews, and bring in the glory for which patriarchs had waited and which prophets had predicted. Strange that instead of this His messenger was in prison; Himself and His disciples despised! Our Lord at once referred to those deeds of power and grace which bespoke the presence of God acting in a new way, and introducing a power evidently in grace - bringing in totally new thoughts, above the habits or hopes of the most godly Jew. These they were to report to John. But He goes farther, and says, "And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me." This apparently conveys a rebuke to John, and implies that he had been more or less stumbled. Yet it is beautiful to see how at once, after the departure of the messengers, our Lord vindicates the Baptist before the multitude. But after pronouncing John to be the most blessed among those born of women, He suddenly introduces a most startling truth, namely, that great as John was, the least in the kingdom of heaven was greater than he. This does not refer to the kingdom coming in power and glory, because, when that day comes, Old and New Testament saints must all be raised or changed to have their part in it; as it is said of those who are being called now that they shall sit "with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." What then does our Lord mean? Does He not refer to some form of it that John had not spoken of? And what was this? He goes on farther, and says, "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." What an extraordinary statement must this have appeared to those who listened to it then! The Lord is contrasting the kingdom of heaven, in a public, manifest form, with that kingdom as opened to faith - only more blessed as known to faith than to sight. As the Lord afterward said to Thomas, "Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." This holds good in every dealing of God. Abraham was more blessed when, though in the land of Canaan, he possessed it not, than if it had all been actually his own. He gained a better place in the ways of God from the very fact of his not having one foot of the land in possession. So with David. His reign was morally far more glorious than that of Solomon. His heir had the place of power; but David had that which was unseen, yet nearer to God. We never find that Solomon enters into what was taught by the ark, whereas it was always the great attraction to David's heart. Solomon was found before the great altar which the whole world could see. The ark was within the holiest, where God sat. It was the throne of His Majesty in the midst of Israel. To it the heart of David ever turned. The blessing of faith is always better than the blessing of sight here below, how great soever this may be.

There has been no time in the ways of God so blessed for a soul as the ways of God now. To be born in the Millennium is not at all to be compared with it. It is true that then all will be in subjection to Christ, and the heart might say, Would that we might be born then! But even the believers found in that day on the earth will. not know what it is to enter within the veil, or to have the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. Neither will they know in the full sense the joy of the Holy Ghost with the privilege of being cast out and scorned by the world for Christ's sake. So that both in the matter of suffering, the enjoyment of what Christ has gone through for us, and His present glory in heaven, our present place is far beyond millennial privileges. For those who suffer now, it will be the best of heavenly blessings then. The peculiarity of the present time is this, that while we are on earth we are consciously dwellers in heaven. We are not of the world, as Christ is not of the world. Our life does not belong to it; our blessing does not spring from it; all our portion is outside this world. And this is communicated to us while we are in the world, to raise us above the world. It is not, as with John here, going into the wilderness - a most seasonable and beautiful expression of what God thought of the city of holiness, Jerusalem, where the priests themselves ministered. John retires from it all. He is outside it in sympathy: the very act in itself declared that the wilderness is better than the city, even though it contain God's temple. But what a solemn declaration of the ruin, not only of the world, but of the favoured people who were the great link between God and men generally!

In this scene behold another thing altogether. It is not man blest, and the earth brought also into blessedness under the personal reign of Christ; but here the heavens were opened upon the Lord Jesus. Never had they opened before upon any one on earth, except as a sign of God's judgment (Ezek. 1). But here first of all the eye of Heaven, of the Father who is in heaven, is directed upon the beloved One. By and by He takes up His place in heaven as the Man who had suffered for sins and brought in the revealed righteousness of God.

The kingdom of heaven then began. From the time that Jesus goes up into heaven till He comes back again the New Testament view of the kingdom of heaven runs on; and in that sense the privilege of the feeblest soul brought to the knowledge of Christ now, transcends anything that ever entered into the heart or mind of men, or even of saints, before the Lord died and rose again. You may dwell upon the blessed walk of Enoch and the bright faith of Abraham; but still this remains true - "Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." There is no honest escape from the conclusion that has been drawn. If persons argue, Is a little child believing in Jesus now more holy and righteous than the blessed saints of old? I answer, That is another matter altogether. He ought to be. But that is not what is said. The Lord lays down that "the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." In a word, it is not a question of what men are; but God is glorifying Christ. Upon Him God is putting honour, and therefore gives such privileges to the least one that believes in Him. Since His death and resurrection, the worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sins. Think of what such a thing would have been to an Old Testament saint! They might look forward to it, but they could not say that it was an accomplished fact. It would have been contrary to the holiness of God, and positive presumption for man, to have this till Christ came and wrought the work that blotted sins completely out.* Now it is presumption not to take with confidence what Christ has done; for He has commanded that remission of sins should be preached in His name. When we enter into the position in which we are set by the work of Christ, it is not only that we have remission: we are made the righteousness of God in Christ: we stand in the relation of sons of God, and are entitled by Christ Himself to say that His God is our God, His Father is our Father. We are entitled to know that we are one with Christ, and that the glory that God has conferred upon His beloved Son He shares with us. The glory conferred, I say; for of course there is His essential divine glory in which none can participate. God never gave Christ to be God. Deity was His own right from all eternity. He could not have Godhead bestowed upon Him. But Christ became man, and as man He was the Son of God; He was not merely so as God. He was the Son of God as born into this world, and as such He has been raised up from the dead; in virtue of which He brings us into the same place before God that He Himself has acquired. He has entirely delivered. us from the place into which He entered for us, enduring the wrath and judgment of God. He brings us into the place to which He is not only entitled Himself, but has acquired a title for us.

*In Genesis 7:1; Genesis 15:6, and Psalm 32:1-2; Psa 32:5, etc., we see that some saints of old, as taught of God, may have anticipated blessing beyond the dispensation in which they lived. - [Ed.

But John had no conception of such a compass of blessing. The Jews looked upon the kingdom as the state when Israel would be blessed of God as a nation; and even those that may have more fully understood, still looked for all the power of the kingdom to be brought in, entirely independent of anything on their part. "But the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." The Lord shows that there is an action of faith needed now; that the kingdom of heaven here presented demands the rupture of natural ties and the giving up of previous associations. In the sense of power and glory introduced by a personal Messiah upon the earth, John had already pressed on consciences that it was not a thing of mere ordinance or privilege by birth - that God would not be content except with moral realities. And allow me to say that it is a very solemn thing indeed to claim the privileges of grace for that which is contrary to the nature of God. I am not speaking now of the lost one found by grace, to whom God gives a new life fresh from Himself. But the effect of a soul's receiving life in the person of Christ is that there are produced feelings, thoughts, judgments and ways acceptable to God and akin to His nature. If a person is a child of God, he is like his Father; he has a nature suitable to God, a life that dislikes sin and is surely pained by what is iniquitous in others, but more particularly in himself. Many bad men are strong against evil in others; they are weak where it might touch themselves. But a Christian always begins with self-judgment. That is the reason why, now that there was to be a moral preparation for the Messiah, John preaches, "Repent." Repentance is the soul's moral judgment of itself under the eye of God; the soul's acceptance of His judgment of its state before Him, and bowing to it. John called upon them to repent because the kingdom of heaven was at hand. "For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." This clearly implied two things - that he was but a voice, pretending to nothing, and that the work would be done by another. The voice only was on his part; but the other, whose way he was preparing, was the Lord, Jehovah Himself. "Prepare ye the way of Jehovah."

Then we have the account of John the Baptist himself. "The same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey" - all perfectly suitable to this summons to repentance. As yet it is not grace introduced; this belongs to the kingdom of heaven, when it is fully brought in. But John did not know it thus. He knew that the Messiah was coming, a Messiah who would introduce the power of God and deliver His people. But the deep unfolding of grace, the mighty victory which a suffering Messiah would accomplish for the soul, and the way in which God would be magnified most of all by the putting away of sin by the death of His Son, were thoughts that must wait for another season - not for utterance more or less, but for adequate intelligence. The ark of the Lord must stand still in the waters of Jordan first. Not a foot can pass that way scatheless till the ark has passed in. Most fittingly, therefore, John does not bring out the fulness of divine grace, but the moral call to repentance.

John accordingly is found outside the religion of man, as well as outside his profanity. He was not in Rome, but he was also away from Jerusalem; and this, in the predicted messenger of Jehovah, was a most solemn feature. "Then went out to him Jerusalem., and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Here is a part of that truth which is exceedingly startling, when we reflect upon it. The Pharisees were, religiously, the most influential in Israel. The Sadducees were the loose, secular, self-indulgent class; the Pharisees, those who stood very firm for what they considered the truth. Yet when John sees them both coming to his baptism, he says, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance" - fruits of a kindred character. He maintains that the day of ceremonialism, or of birthrights, was completely past. The Pharisee might rest upon his religion; the Sadducee upon the fact that he was a child of Abraham. The desire to escape wrath and to have part in the kingdom might be no more than nature. Humbled souls suit the kingdom. Descent from the fathers, the law, the promises even, may be turned into a right against God, who will not allow it, and can raise out of the stones children to Abraham. But there must be, if they would draw near to God, ways of a nature morally suitable to God. "Bring forth, therefore," he says, "fruits meet for repentance." He is not explaining here how a sinner is to be saved, or how God remits sins; but that, if persons take the stand of having to do with God, there must be. what becomes His presence. So the apostle says to the Hebrews, "Follow peace and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." He is not speaking there of what is imputed, but of holiness as a practical thing. This is written to Christians; and the Holy Ghost does not hesitate to insist upon it. So strong is the tendency to reaction in human nature that the very baptized Jews, who had been pleading for the law, might fall into the opposite extreme and think that sin is compatible with the salvation that God gives through grace. But God never allows that His nature can coexist with sanctioned iniquity.

Here then was evidently a stern rebuke for the leading Jews. But, more than that, John adds, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees" - that is to say, judgment is just at hand (ver. 10) - "therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance" - he does not go beyond this. The remission of sins that he speaks of appears to have been rather a question of the government of God than of that complete putting away of sin which was the fruit of grace when the work of atonement was done. But even so, it was in view of Messiah's advent.

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (ver. 11). There he brings together the two grand features of the first and second comings of Christ. He did not know but that both would go on together. All that might lie between the two was hidden from his eyes. The Old Testament Scriptures did present the first and second advent of the Messiah, but not in such a way as to convey the thought of two distinct epochs. Even after the Lord's death and resurrection, the disciples did not understand this. So John joins these two things - the baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire. We know that the baptizing with the Holy Ghost is the power of God's blessing in the kingdom of heaven as it now is. The baptism of fire is that which will accompany the kingdom of heaven as it will be when Christ comes again. There is no such thing in the word of God as the baptism of fire to designate what took place at Pentecost. Baptism with fire is the application of the judgment of God in dealing with men; whereas the day of Pentecost was the outpouring of the grace of God, and the giving of the Holy Ghost to dwell in the saints of God, which referred to the power of the Holy Ghost going forth so as to bear testimony in such sort as would not bear a single evil thing in the heart of men, even while it showed out the grace of God. This is Christianity - the perfect love of God shown to a man that has no claim upon it: all his evil condemned by the grace of God in the death of Christ! And thus it is that a man is made honest in the sight of God and men. He can afford to be guileless about himself, because he knows that God imputes nothing to him. When we read on the day of Pentecost of the tongues being divided, it was to show the going forth of the testimony of God to the Gentile as well as to the Jew. But when Matt. 3 speaks of our Lord's baptizing with fire, the allusion is not to these tongues of fire, but to the execution of righteous judgment when Christ comes again. This appears still more clearly from what follows: "Whose fan is in His hand; and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (ver. 12). It is not at all what He does in saving a soul, but the very contrary. It refers to the time when, men having refused the gospel, nothing remains but the outpouring of vengeance upon them.

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him" (ver. 13). What a cluster of wonders! Jesus coming to be baptized of John, who was avowedly preaching repentance and remission of sins. What could bring the Lord Jesus there? for He never confessed sins, and had none to confess. He challenges even His enemies to convince Him of sin. A man without sin - without the smallest particle of self in any form or degree - the lowliest and most blessed of men - the One who judged everything according to God; and yet He comes to be baptized! John at once felt it - Jesus coming to be baptized of him! To be baptized at all, but, above all, of him whose baptism was that of repentance! What is the clue to this? It is grace - the source and the channel of everything in Jesus. It was not the judgment of God that put Him there; it was not any need in Himself that brought Him there; nothing that He had to acknowledge or confess; but it was grace. For on whom in Israel did God's eye look down with compassion? Upon those that were confessing their sins. Upon such does His eye ever rest. For the next best thing to not being a sinner at all is to confess our sins. We find that this is the first great movement produced by the Holy Ghost in a sinner's soul - the feeling of his true place in the sight of God. Here was the blessed One; and though not one thing naturally could claim His presence, yet grace led Him there. And when John was earnestly hindering Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" what blessed grace and truth does not our Lord's answer unfold! "Suffer it now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." It is all righteousness now to be fulfilled, and not merely the doing of the law. Now it was the righteousness of acknowledging the true state in which even the best part of Israel lay. For if there were any in Israel that showed a feeling for God, it was those who were baptized of John - those who repented in view of the kingdom of heaven. They desired God's promises, and they wished to be ready for the King. And the Lord's heart was there at once; the sympathies of His soul were with those that were humbling themselves in the sense of their sin before God.* The same principle is true of us in proportion as the Spirit of Christ is ungrieved in our souls. Even if it is a question of acknowledging anything to man, who is the person you can most open your heart to? The spiritual man - he who is walking most above sin - his is the bosom to which you can open out your sin more fully than to another. "If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness." It was exactly the perfection of the holiness of Christ that could enable Him so to act: another might have feared appearances. If Christ had been merely innocent, instead of holy, should we have found Him there? Never. Holiness implies divine power against sin; innocence is merely the absence of sin. Thus we find our Lord, in the full consciousness of His own perfect holiness, coming to the baptism of John, and taking His place with those in Israel who felt aright toward God.

* We may say that the Lord, in being baptized in Jordan, was identifying Himself with the true-hearted in Israel who came confessing their sins. Grace brought Him where sin had brought them, and us all. The Good Shepherd "entereth in by the door" and takes His place with the sheep He had come to save by the sacrifice of Himself. His baptism pointed to this. - [Ed.

"And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Does it not seem that this wonderful testimony of God the Father was the consequence of Christ's fulfilling all righteousness in the waters of Jordan? It was the answer of God to the place that Christ, in His grace, had taken. It was God, jealous for the glory of His Son, who would not permit that a suspicion should rest upon this loveliest and lowliest of acts. And therefore, lest the full grace of it should not be felt, how quick is God the Father to say, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased "! Do not think He has sin. But if you are there, He is with you: if the sheep are in the waters, the shepherd must enter them too. The Father at once vindicates His Son: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." It is not that He was well pleased with that act merely, but it is the retrospective expression of God's delight. It refutes all that the poor mind of man might have - has - gathered out of this transaction. It is always thus in the word of God. If there be, so to speak, a locked door, the key is always beside it. If there is a heart that counts upon God, and knows the perfection of His character, and is jealous over the honour, of His beloved Son, God is always with such. Man has endeavoured to take advantage of the Lord's grace, taking thus His place with the godly in Israel, in order to lower His person and His position even in relation to God Himself. But when we read with chastened spirits, what do we hear? "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." We shall by and by find the importance of this in connection with what follows; but I leave the subject for the present. There is nothing in the whole compass of God's word so full of blessing to the believer as the person of Christ and His ways; but it requires great jealousy over self and the special guidance of the Holy Ghost; for who is sufficient for these things?

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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