3:1 In a those days came 1 John the Baptist, preaching in the b wilderness of Judaea,
(a) Not when Joseph went to dwell at Nazareth, but a great while after, about fifteen years: for in the 30th year of his life Jesus was baptized by John: therefore "those days" means the time when Jesus remained as an inhabitant of the town of Nazareth. (1) John, who through his singular holiness and rare austerity of life caused men to cast their eyes on him, prepares the way for Christ who is following fast on his heels, as the prophet Isaiah foretold, and delivers the sum of the gospel, which a short time later would be delivered more fully.
3:2 And saying, c Repent ye: for the d kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(b) In a hilly country, which was nonetheless inhabited, for Zacharias dwelt there, (Luke 1:39,40), and there was Joabís house, (1 Kings 2:34); and besides these, Joshua makes mention of six towns that were in the wilderness, (Joshua 15:61,62).
(c) The word in the greek signifies a changing of our minds and heart from evil to better.
3:3 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, e make his paths straight.
(d) The kingdom of Messiah, whose government will be heavenly, and nothing but heavenly.
(e) Make him a plain and smooth way.
3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camelís hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was f locusts and wild honey.
(f) Locusts were a type of meat which certain of the eastern people use, who were therefore called devourers of locusts.
3:5 Then went out to him g Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
(g) The people of Jerusalem.
3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, h confessing their sins.
(h) Acknowledging that they were saved only by free remission and forgiveness of their sins.
3:7 2 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?
(2) There is nothing that shuts up the way of mercy and salvation from us so much as the opinion of our own righteousness does.
3:8 3 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
(3) True repentance is an inward thing which has its seat in the mind and heart.
3:9 4 And i think not to say k 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.
(4) The faith of the fathers does not benefit you unbelieving children at all: and yet for all that, God does not play the liar, nor deal unfaithfully in his covenant which he made with the holy fathers.
3:11 5 I indeed baptize you with water unto l 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 Spirit, and [with] fire:
(i) Think not that you have any reason to be proud of Abraham.
(k) In your hearts.
(5) We may neither dwell upon the signs which God has ordained as means to lead us into our salvation, neither upon those that minister them: but we must climb up to the matter itself, that is to say, to Christ, who inwardly works that effectually, which is outwardly signified to us.
3:12 6 Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly m purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
(l) The outward sign reminds us of this, that we must change our lives and become better, assuring us as by a seal, that we are ingrafted into Christ; by which our old man dies and the new man rises up; (Romans 6:4).
(6) The triumphs of the wicked will end in everlasting torment.
3:13 7 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
(m) Will clean it thoroughly, and make a full riddance.
(7) Christ sanctified our baptism in himself.
3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil n all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
(n) All such things as it has appointed for us to keep.
3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto o him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
(o) To John.
3:17 8 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am p well pleased.
(8) Christís full consecration and authorization to the office of mediator is shown by the Fatherís own voice and a visible sign of the Holy Spirit.
(p) The Greek word signifies a thing of great worth and such as highly pleases a man. So then the Father says that Christ is the only man whom when he beholds, looking at what opinion he had conceived of us, he lays it clean aside.