Friday, April 15, 2022

A Study of Matthew - Chapter 3 - John the Baptist

The use of John the Baptist continues the practice of God to use people outside of political and religious system to announce His King. Like the shepherds and the Magi, John is clearly not a part of the established systems of leadership, and we continue to see that God has no plans to use them.

Matthew 3:1 - John the Baptist

Mat 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea (2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Matthew jumps from the circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ directly to the announcement of the start of Jesus's ministry. His intent is not to dwell on Jesus's childhood, but get into Messianic matters quickly.

Luke on the other hand, in combination with historical documents can provide us with details Matthew does not. Based on the political and religious assignments given, it can be determined that John the Baptist arrived sometime around 27AD to 29AD, and was a predecessor to the start of Jesus's ministry.

Luk 3:1-3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar--when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene-- (2) during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (3) He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Both were very old (Luk 1:7), and Elizabeth's conception was a miracle. An angel had come to announce to Zechariah that Elizabeth would bear a son (Luk 1:13), and that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born (Luk 1:15).

John would come in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous (Luk 1:17, Mal 4:5-6).

Luk 1:17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Mal 4:5-6 "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. (6) He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction."

Elizabeth and Mary were relatives. An angel came to Mary and told her that Elizabeth was going to have a child (Luk 1:36). Mary decided that she would go visit Elizabeth, and when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby who was to be called John leapt in the womb (Luk 1:41). A few months later, John was born to the amazement of her neighbors who saw that the Lord's hand was with him (Luk 1:65-66).

Zechariah recognized his child as the forerunner to the King.

Luk 1:67-80 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: (68) "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. (69) He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (70) (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), (71) salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us-- (72) to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, (73) the oath he swore to our father Abraham: (74) to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (75) in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (76) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, (77) to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, (78) because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven (79) to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (80) And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Matthew 3:2 - Repentance

Mat 3:2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

John's message was repentance, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. He was not preaching, but acting more as a herald.

Repentance - The Greek for "repentance" is "metanoeo". "Meta" is used to express a change or difference, and "noeo" means "thinking process". So "metanoeo" speaks of a change to the thinking process.

It is through change to the thinking process that behavior change comes. If you wish to change your behavior, change the way you think.

Rom 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The word "transformed" comes from the Greek "metamorphoo", from which we get the English "metamorphosis". - "metamorphosis" - Biology. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly.

The word "renewing" speaks of a continual process. It means that we should be continually renewed in an ongoing way, not a series of individual events.

John was telling the Jewish people to repent in preparation for the arrival of the coming kingdom, which was "at hand". The Jewish people had fallen into dead spirituality, being taken up with concerns regarding day to day living. The Pharisees had been teaching tradition and legalistic obedience to the letter of the law, and John was telling them to return to God and His Word and the spirit of the law which would change their thinking and bring about a change in behavior.

Today we also are in the last days till the Messiah comes. We also should heed John's warnings to return to God's word. We also have the benefit of the indwelling Holy Spirit that helps us to change.

Rom 8:5-7 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (6) The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (7) The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.

Kingdom of Heaven Near - As previously discussed, the "kingdom" in the mind of the Jewish people was the Messianic Kingdom. This kingdom had drawn near because the King was near. As we shall soon see, this kingdom offer was withdrawn due to the rejection of the King, nevertheless, at this point in our story, John had just started telling the Jewish people about the kingdom and they had not yet rejected it.

In speaking of the coming of Elijah, who is prophesied to come just prior to the establishment of the Kingdom, the kingdom is still available if they accept it.

Mal 4:5-6 "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. (6) He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction."

Mat 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Matthew 3:3 - Prophecy of John

Mat 3:3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"

Matthew firmly connects John the Baptist with a prophecy of Isaiah. This is important because Matthew is showing that if John is the person Isaiah foresaw, then the one he points to is the Lord God Almighty who is about to be revealed.

Isa 40:3-5 A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (4) Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. (5) And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

The terms "prepare the way" and "make straight" refers to the customary preparations that would be made when dignitaries came to town. John was telling the people that the Messiah was on His way.

Matthew 3:4 - John's Appearance

Mat 3:4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.


John's appearance and food was not uncommon for one living in the wilderness. Consider a camper who is living off the land.

The mention of "hair" that John was wearing appears to be common for prophets. Elijah the prophet wore a garment of hair.

2Ki 1:8 They replied, "He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist." The king said, "That was Elijah the Tishbite."

In Zechariah's book, when speaking of false prophets it was said that they would "not put on a prophet's garment of hair".

Zec 13:4 "On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet's garment of hair in order to deceive.

Jesus referred to John as a prophet.

Luk 7:24-27 After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? (25) If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. (26) But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. (27) This is the one about whom it is written: "'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

Jesus was quoting prophecy when He spoke of John as the messenger.

Mal 3:1 The LORD who rules over all says, "I will send my messenger. He will prepare my way for me. Then suddenly the Lord you are looking for will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant will come. He is the one you long for."

The next verse in Malachi is interesting. For although Jesus spoke of Mal 3:1 as fulfilled with the coming of John to herald the arrival of the King, Mal 3:2 says that His coming will be a day that cannot be endured.

What is seen here is the prediction of Christ's first coming as the suffering servant, whom John announces, and we see in the next verse the prophetic voice predicting the rejection of the Kingdom and King thus bringing about the second coming. Altogether the first and second comings are shown in these two verses.

Mal 3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap.


The food that John was eating was not uncommon. Locusts were "clean" food that was permissible for Israel to eat. They are eaten even today. Wild honey was also a common food, and could be found under rocks and in the carcasses of dead animals or in underground hives. No big deal should be made of John's clothing or food, as the point being made is that he lived not with the comforts of the world, but with life in the wilderness.

Lev 11:22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper.

Jdg 14:8-9 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. (9) He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion's carcass.

1Sa 14:25-26 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. (26) When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath.

Matthew 3:5-6 - John's Baptisms

Mat 3:5-6 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. (6) Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Due to the prophetic nature of John's message and presence, he attracted people from all around the surrounding areas, even men of high esteem and rank.

Confessing means to "admit" and "acknowledge" our sin. It was a proper response to the message John was bringing and the people recognized their need for salvation. They would have seen the need to do more than just perform sacrificial rituals and to get right in their hearts.

Unfortunately, John was eventually accused of being motivated by a demon by the Kingdom rejecting religious leaders.

Luk 7:30-33 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) (31) Jesus went on to say, "To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? (32) They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: "'We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.' (33) For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'

Matthew 3:7 - Brood of Vipers

Mat 3:7-12 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

In addition to the believers who came to be baptized by John, two religious groups also came, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The Pharisees were the ultra-religious group, who's focus was on following the Mosaic Law to the letter. They taught that the law of Moses was to be strictly applied to every area of life in the interest of national preservation. This way of life was followed by the majority of the Jewish people, and was mainly observed by lifeless ritual.

The Sadducees were a less religious group that mainly focused on politics and social issues rather than strict application of the law. This group was small in number by held significant political power.

Both of these groups came to John looking for baptism which reveals that they believed that John was a true prophet of God.

Mat 21:24-26 Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. (25) John's baptism--where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?" They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' (26) But if we say, 'Of human origin'--we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet."

The issue with the Pharisees and Sadducees was that they were not sincere. They were interested in checking off another box on the list of rituals rather than having the change of heart that baptism signifies. John knew full well what was in the minds of these hypocrites who used deceit and misguidance to lead the people astray. In John's mind, their pious behavior and jargon were as deadly as a viper's bite, and calling them a brood of vipers was a fitting description of them.

Jesus also referred to them as a brood of vipers.

Mat 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Mat 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

Matthew 3:8-9 - Abraham and Stones

Mat 3:8-9 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (9) And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

Their hypocritical nature led them to both believe and teach that all of the Jewish people were saved and would enter the Kingdom by virtue of being descendants of Abraham. John was warning them that this sort of thinking would not produce true repentance and baptism would be useless for them.

If the Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to by baptized, John required them to show evidence or fruit of repentance. It was not enough that they were descendants of Abraham.

Joh 8:39-44 "Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did. (40) As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. (41) You are doing the works of your own father." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." (42) Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. (43) Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. (44) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Old Testament Salvation

The question may arise, if Israel in the Old Testament times is not saved by virtue of being descendants of Abraham, how were they saved.

Abraham was righteous because He believed God. In this case, Abraham believed that God would give him innumerable descendants that were his own flesh and blood.

Gen 15:1-6 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." (2) But Abram said, "Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" (3) And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." (4) Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir." (5) He took him outside and said, "Look up at the sky and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (6) Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Abraham was righteous when he believed God would provide descendants in spite of being told to offer his only son on the altar.

Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, (18) even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." (19) Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

In Romans 3, Paul records that a person is justified by faith. He continues in chapter 4 by revealing what Abraham discovered about justification by faith.

Rom 4:1-4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? (2) If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God. (3) What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (4) Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

At the time of Abraham, the method of salvation was not known, specifically, that Jesus would come, die on a cross, be buried for three days, and rise again. The knowledge of this plan of God would be progressively revealed through the ages. Abraham learned that believing what God told him made him righteous (Gen 15:6, Rom 4:3).

As time went on and Israel became a nation, more was revealed. The prophets spoke of a King who would come and rule over them and save them from their sins.

Isa 2:1-5 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: (2) In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. (3) Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (4) He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (5) Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

This King would be of the Root of Jesse, and the nations will rally to Him.

Isa 11:10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

As time goes on Isaiah provides additional revelation.

Isa 42:1-4 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. (2) He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. (3) A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; (4) he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope."

Isaiah 52 and Isaiah 53 reveal a great deal more about the first coming of the King, that He would be a suffering servant. Israel had a choice to belief the prophet, or reject him. As we know, Jesus as King was accepted by believing Israel and rejected by Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, etc. Even though believing Israel did not have the complete revelation about Jesus that we do today, they believed God, and it was counted to their accounts as righteousness.

Today, the content of our faith consists of the full revelation of Jesus's atonement, death, burial and resurrection.

1Co 15:1-4 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. (2) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (3) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Matthew 3:10 - The Ax at the Tree Root

Mat 3:10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

This figure of speech refers to impending judgment on the part of unbelieving Israel. The ax being at the root refers to judgment being at the door. The cutting of trees is a metaphor of this sort of judgment. An Old Testament example is in Isa 10:33-34, where the judgment being spoken of is against the Assyrian army.

Isa 10:33-34 See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. (34) He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.

The message being conveyed is that God is getting ready to rid His program of Israel's dead religion.

Matthew 3:11-12 - Contrasting John and Jesus

Mat 3:11-12 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

John is starting to attract a lot of attention, and in this passage is attempting to redirect the attention from himself to the Lord. He does this by comparing his ministry of baptism with that of Jesus. John says that he is here to baptize the nation of Israel as a testimony of repentance, getting the nation ready to receive their Messiah if they will have Him.

Jesus's baptism will be of the Spirit and of fire. Fire, being joined to baptism in this passage speaks of purification. The baptism of the Holy Spirit did subsequently become a reality on the day of Pentecost, and happens for each individual who accepts the gospel of Christ.

1Co 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

In vs. 12 John speaks of judgment as well. Judgment will come before the Millennial Kingdom, in what is called the Sheep and Goat judgment that determines who goes into the Kingdom following the Tribulation. Jesus illustrates this in the parable of the Wheat and Tares.

The Old Testament prophets referred to this time of judgment as "the day of the Lord", during which the Tribulation period will take place. John, having spoken of the "ax already at the root of the trees" believed this judgment to be at hand and that there would be wrath, fire and a winnowing fork.

Isa 1:27 Zion will be delivered with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.

Isa 4:4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.

Isa 42:1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.

Jer 33:14-16 "'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. (15) "'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. (16) In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.'

Jesus refers to this judgment when speaking in parables right after the religious leaders rejected His kingship and kingdom when they attributed His miracles to the demon Beelzebub.

Mat 13:24-30 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. (25) But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. (26) When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. (27) "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' (28) "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' (29) "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

Jesus explains the Parable of the Weeds.

Mat 13:41-43 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (42) They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

This is further detailed in the discourse on the sheep and goat judgment.

Mat 24:37-41 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (38) For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; (39) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (40) Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (41) Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Matthew 3:13-15 - Jesus's Baptism

The Baptism of the King

Mat 3:13-15 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. (14) But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" (15) Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

John had just finished declaring that he was not worthy to undo the sandals on Jesus feet. Having Jesus come to John with the need to be baptized would have been intimidating for John. He responded with shock and hesitation.

"for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness", when Jesus was baptized, he fulfilled the Jewish laws, religious and civil. Since the laws were from God, Jesus shows His obedience to the law as was proper. Note that it was "proper" for "us", both Jesus and John.

The first result of Jesus' baptism was His identification with the people of Israel. John's baptism prepared the hearts of the Jewish people for the arrival of the kingdom. Jesus' baptism bound Him to Israel in that purpose.

A second result of Jesus' baptism would be to validate John and his message.

Third is the introduction of the Messiah to Israel:

Joh 1:29-34 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (30) This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' (31) I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." (32) Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. (33) And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' (34) I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One."

Fourthly Jesus anointed by the Holy Spirit:

Act 10:37-38 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- (38) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Matthew 3:16-17 - Validation of Jesus's Messiahship

Divine Validation of the King

Mat 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. (17) And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Again we have a comment that says "like a dove", indicating that John was something, not a dove, but something like a dove. Whatever it was we are told that it was the Spirit of God, and that it alighted on Jesus.

This fulfilled the Old Testament expectations of the divine power of the Messiah.

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

And Jesus later claimed this passage to be speaking of Himself:

Luk 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

The third participant of the trinity, the voice of the Father also declares the divine nature of Jesus, "This is my son....", as the Jewish people would have recognized this from Psalm 2.

Psa 2:7 I will proclaim the LORD's decree: He said to me, "You are my son; today I have become your father.

There was no question, if the Spirit came and alighted on Jesus, and the pronouncement of Jesus as God's promised Son, then He was the Messiah.

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