Luke 3:16
John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the lace of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:15-20 John the Baptist disowned being himself the Christ, but confirmed the people in their expectations of the long-promised Messiah. He could only exhort them to repent, and assure them of forgiveness upon repentance; but he could not work repentance in them, nor confer remission on them. Thus highly does it become us to speak of Christ, and thus humbly of ourselves. John can do no more than baptize with water, in token that they ought to purify and cleanse themselves; but Christ can, and will baptize with the Holy Ghost; he can give the Spirit, to cleanse and purify the heart, not only as water washes off the dirt on the outside, but as fire clears out the dross that is within, and melts down the metal, that it may be cast into a new mould. John was an affectionate preacher; he was beseeching; he pressed things home upon his hearers. He was a practical preacher; quickening them to their duty, and directing them in it. He was a popular preacher; he addressed the people, according to their capacity. He was an evangelical preacher. In all his exhortations, he directed people to Christ. When we press duty upon people, we must direct them to Christ, both for righteousness and strength. He was a copious preacher; he shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. But a full stop was put to John's preaching when he was in the midst of his usefulness. Herod being reproved by him for many evils, shut up John in prison. Those who injure the faithful servants of God, add still greater guilt to their other sins.See the notes at Matthew 3:11-12. 16. John answered—either to the deputation from Jerusalem (see Joh 1:19, &c.), or on some other occasion, simply to remove impressions derogatory to his blessed Master which he knew to be taking hold of the popular mind. (Also see on [1556]Mt 3:10.)

saying unto them all—in solemn protestation. So far from entertaining such a thought as laying claim to the honors of Messiahship, the meanest services I can render to that "Mightier than I that is coming after me," are too high an honor for me. Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant of Christ throughout!

one mightier than I—"the Mighter than I."

Ver. 16-18. See Poole on "Matthew 3:11", See Poole on "Matthew 3:12", See Poole on "Mark 1:7", See Poole on "Mark 1:8". John the Baptist in these verses doth not only assure them that he was not the Christ, but also lets them know that Christ was coming amongst them, and that he was more excellent than he, and should

baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire; with fire as the symbol of the Holy Ghost; so some understand it, expounding it as a prophecy of the descent of the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:3. Others possibly better expound it of the Holy Ghost working in the souls of believers as fire, purging them, and burning up their lusts and corruptions.

And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people: by which words the evangelist lets us know, that what he and the other evangelists have reported concerning John’s preaching was but the sum of it. John answered, saying unto them all,.... For some of them might not only so think in their hearts, but express with their mouths the apprehension they had of him; and might put the question to him, as the priests and Levites from Jerusalem afterwards did; or he might know the secret thoughts of their hearts by divine revelation; or be apprized by his disciples of the private sentiments of the people concerning him: and therefore, to put them out of doubt, and that he might not have an honour conferred on him, which did not belong to him, he addressed himself, in a very public manner, to the whole multitude, in the hearing of them all: though the word "all" is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions, but rightly retained in others, being in all copies, and having a considerable emphasis on it: and said the following words.

I indeed baptize you with water; Matthew adds "unto repentance"; upon the profession of repentance:

but one mightier than I cometh; that is,

after me; as Matthew records it:

the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose; neither to bear his shoes after him, as Matthew says, nor to untie his shoe string, or unbuckle his shoe, both which were menial actions with the Jews: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; as he did some of their nation, his own disciples, on the day of pentecost; See Gill on Matthew 3:11

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 3:16. See on Matthew 2:11; Mark 1:7 f.

ἀπεκρίν.] “interrogare cupientibus,” Bengel.

ἔρχεται] placed first for emphasis.

οὗαὐτοῦ] Comp. Mark 1:7; Mark 7:25; Winer, p. 134 [E. T. 183 f.].

αὐτός] he and no other.Luke 3:16. ἅπασι: might suggest frequent replies to various parties, uniform in tenor; but against this is the aorist ἀπεκρίνατο, which suggests a single answer given once for all, to a full assembly, a formal solemn public declaration. On the Baptist’s statement in this and the following verse, vide on Mt.—ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί: against the idea of many commentators that the Holy Spirit and fire represent opposite effects on opposite classes—saving and punitive—Godet and Hahn press the omission of ἐν before πυρί, and take Πνεῦμα and πῦρ to be kindred = fire the emblem of the Spirit as a purifier. They are right as to the affinity but not as to the function. The function in both cases is judicial. John refers to the Holy Wind and Fire of Judgment It is, however, not impossible that Lk. read an evangelic sense into John’s words.16. John answered] The answer, as we find from John 1:19-28, was given in its most definite form to a Pharisaic deputation of Priests and Levites, who were despatched by the Sanhedrin expressly to ask him to define his claims.

one mightier] Rather, the stronger than I.

the latchet] i. e. the thong. The word, now obsolete in this sense, is from the same root perhaps as the Latin laqueus (Ital. laccio, Portug. lazzo, old French lacs, Fr. lacet, Engl. lace).

shoes] Rather, sandals.

to unloose] In Matthew 3:11 it is ‘to carry his sandals;’ i. e. I am not adequate to be his humblest slave.

baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire] Rather, in the Holy Ghost and fire. The preposition en distinguishes between the mere instrumentality of the water, and the spiritual element whereby and wherein the child of the kingdom is baptized. This baptism by the Spirit had been foretold in Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28. Its first obvious fulfilment was at Pentecost (Acts 1:5; Acts 2:3) and subsequent outpourings after baptism (Acts 11:15-16). But it is fulfilled without visible supernatural signs to all Christians (1 Corinthians 6:11; “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” 1 Corinthians 12:13).

and with fire] In its first and most literal sense the allusion is to the fiery tongues of Pentecost (Acts 2:3); but the secondary and metaphoric allusion is to the burning zeal and illuminating light of the Spirit. St Jerome sees a further allusion to fiery trials (Luke 12:49; Mark 9:49; 1 Peter 4:12) and to the fire of judgment (1 Corinthians 3:13); but these allusions cannot be regarded as certain.Luke 3:16. Ἀπεκρίνατο, answered) To those who were desiring to question him. Comp. Acts 13:25, τίνα με ὑπονοεῖτε εῖναι, “As John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? [implying that they were desiring to ask him the question].—ἔρχεται) Castellio renders it ‘adventat,’ approacheth.—ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου, who is mightier than I) John was powerful: Luke 3:4-5; Luke 3:10-11, ch. Luke 1:17 [He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias]: but Christ was much more so.—καὶ πυρὶ, and with fire) That fire in respect to believers denotes the fiery power of the Holy Spirit: with which comp. Isaiah 4:4. And indeed they were actually bathed and baptized in fire: Acts 2:3; Acts 1:5. Yet nevertheless it is not here as in John 3:5, where material water is meant; for in this passage material fire is not signified; since in John the water is named before the mention of the Spirit, whereas here the Spirit and fire are named together. In respect to the impenitent the fire denotes the fire of wrath spoken of in Luke 3:17. In a similar manner fire has a double signification in Mark 9:49, compared with the preceding verses.[35]

[35] “Every one shall be salted with fire:” believers with the purifactory fire of trials, unbelievers with the fire that “is not quenched.”—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 16. - I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh. To refute this growing conviction that he was the Messiah, John tells the people plainly tidal Another far greater than he was coming. He, John, certainly washed (baptized) those who came to him, but his washing was merely symbolical - it could not purify them; his work had been to stir them up to repentance, to arouse them to change their lives. But the One who was coming, before whom he (John) was unworthy to stand and perform the humblest menial office, that great One should baptize too, but his baptism would be a very different thing. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. There was, indeed, a difference between John's baptism and the baptism of the Messiah who was to come after him. John could do no more with his words and symbol baptism than rouse the people to struggle after repentance and a change of heart and life, while Messiah would furnish to men the influence from above, that was really needed in order to purity of heart and life. He would procure and pour out the influence of the Divine Spirit (see Dr. Morrison, Mark 1:8). And with fire. Not with punitive fire, which interpretation would be quite alien from the context here. Those expositors who have adopted this meaning of the fire here have been most likely influenced by the mention of the unquenchable fire in the next sentence. The fire which was to enter into Messiah's baptism was rather the flame of purification. So we read of the coal of fire taken from off the altar and laid on the mouth of Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 6:6, 7). "With fire," writes Bishop Wordsworth, "to purify, illumine, transform, inflame with holy fervor and zeal, and carry upward, as Elijah was carried up to heaven in a chariot of fire." One mightier (ὁ ἰσχυρότερος)

The definite article points to an expected personage. Hence better as Rev., he that is mightier.

Unloose (λῦσαι)

So also Mark; but Matthew βαστάσαι, to bear. See on Matthew 3:11.

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