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Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

|| Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:7-11, 15-18

MT3:7 When John saw many Pharisees[1] and Sadducees[2] coming to the baptism he said to them: “Generation of vipers, who showed you how to flee from the coming wrath? MT3:8 Therefore, produce fruitage[3] worthy of repentance. MT3:9 Do not be presumptuous[4] and tell yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father!’ I tell you that the God[5] is able to raise up Abrahamic children from these stones! MT3:10 The ax is already lying at the root of the trees. So every tree not producing good fruit[6] will be cut down and thrown in a fire. MT3:11 True, I baptize you people in water because of your repentance, but there is One who comes after me[7] – I am not worthy to remove his sandals – he will baptize in holy Pneuma[8] [Isaiah 44:3] as well as with fire.[9] MT3:12 That One’s winnowing shovel is in his hand and he will completely clean up his threshing floor[10] and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up in an inextinguishable fire.”[11]


[1] Pharisees: The name means “Separated Ones” and occurs 87 times: Matthew, 29, Mark, 12, Luke, 20, John, 20, Acts, 6. A prominent Jewish sect described by Josephus: “And so great is their influence with the masses that even when they speak against a king or high priest, they immediately gain credence.” [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 288 (x, 5)] “They believe that souls have power to survive death and that there are rewards and punishments under the earth for those who have led lives of virtue or vice: eternal imprisonment is the lot of evil souls, while the good souls receive an easy passage to a new life.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 14 [i, 3]) “Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment.… [They] attribute everything to Fate and to God; they hold that to act rightly or otherwise rests, indeed, for the most part with men, but that in each action Fate co-operates.” [The Jewish War, II, 162, 163 (viii, 14)] Nicodemas was a Pharisee (John 3:1, 2; 7:47-52; 19:39). Paul was a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5).

[2] Sadducees: The name occurs 16 times (Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 293 [x, 6]; XIII, 172, 173 [v, 9]) They did not believe in angels or the resurrection. They appealed to the wealthy. Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 298 (x, 6); XVIII, 16, 17 (i, 4); The Jewish War, II, 162-166 (viii, 14).

[3] Fruitage: True repentance (a change of mind; a sorrow because of sin) must be accompanied with some evidence of such. Paul lists some identifying fruitage (2 Corinthians 7:10, 11).

[4] Presumptuous: See Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

[5] The God: The Greek is HO THEOS.

[6] Fruit: Compare John 15:2, 6. Twice John has exhorted these Jews to produce fruitage consistent with true repentance.

[7] One who comes after me: That is, the Messiah

[8] Baptize in holy Pneuma: Possibly an allusion to Isaiah 44:3.

[9] Fire: The Jews have two choices, that is two baptisms: spirit or the fire of destruction. See the next verse regarding this fire.

[10] Threshing floor: Possibly an illusion to Isaiah 41:15, 16.

[11] Inextinguishable fire: Or, KJV: unquenchable; WMS: fire that can never be put out. A metaphor for everlasting destruction as in the case of the Second Death (Revelation 20:13, 14).

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Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple + Luke 2:51-52 – Jesus continued to be in subjection to his parents

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

James Tissot's John and the Pharisees

James Tissot’s John and the Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  1. On the Nature of Christ
  2. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  3. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  4. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  5. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  6. Why do we need a ransom?
  7. Leaving behind the lives we have touched.
  8. Dying or not
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Knowing where to go
  13. Two states of existence before God
  14. The one who makes us well and gives life
  15. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
  16. We will all be changed
  17. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  18. Baptism
  19. Were Apostles baptised
  20. True Hope
  21. Epitome of the one faith
  22. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother

+++

  • John the Baptist and the Pharisees (travismikhailblog.wordpress.com)
    John’s baptism differed from sacramental Baptism, which confers forgiveness and the regenerating grace of justifying faith (Acts 2:38). His was a visible token of repentance and preparation for the Messiah (cf. Is 1:16; Heb9:10; CCC 718).

    with water: John administered a baptism by water alone as a sign of purification. But as was shown in Noah’s day, water alone cannot cleanse the soul; the sinfulness of man’s heart remained unchanged even after the flood (Gen 6:5; 8:21). Only the Sacrament of Baptism infuses the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:5) and marks one’s adoption into God’s family (28:19) (CCC 1265).
    with fire: A symbol of God and his purifying judgment (Deut 4:24; Sir 2:5; Is 4:3-5; Acts 2:3-4; CCC 696).
  • Letting the Light In – 4th Sunday of Advent (thewannabesaint.com)
    John’s ministry is in contrast to Jesus’, although their central message, “Repent for the kingdom is near,” appears identical. John remains in the wilderness, calling men and women to come out to him. Jesus seems to seek out crowded cities and synagogues. John sternly requires his followers to repent and to be baptized, to lead an acetic life. Jesus says; “follow me” or do as you see me do.
  • The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (asicansee.wordpress.com)
    Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:7 many of the Pharisees and Sadducees: the former were marked by devotion to the law, written and oral, and the scribes, experts in the law, belonged predominantly to this group. The Sadducees were the priestly aristocratic party, centered in Jerusalem. They accepted as scripture only the first five books of the Old Testament, followed only the letter of the law, rejected the oral legal traditions, and were opposed to teachings not found in the Pentateuch, such as the resurrection of the dead. Matthew links both of these groups together as enemies of Jesus (Matthew 16:1, 6, 11, 12; cf Mark 8:11-13, 15). The threatening words that follow are addressed to them rather than to “the crowds” as in Luke 3:7. coming to his baptism: the phrase is ambiguous. It can also be translated as “coming against baptism.” Some older translations read “coming to watch his baptism;” however, there is no verb indicating a “watching” activity. vipers: a genus of snakes prevalent in wilderness areas. The term is used metaphorically for evil or evil people (cf.  Mt 12:34; 23:3). The accusatory description of the Pharisees and Sadducees as an evil “brood of vipers” is twice echoed by Jesus (12:34; 23:33, cf. Gen 3:1; Ps 58:4).   the coming wrath: the judgment that will bring about the destruction of unrepentant sinners.
  • In those days: John the Baptist (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    A new section of Matthew begins at Mt 3:1. From Jesus’ infancy we jump several decades in time.  Without warning or preparation, John the Baptist appears in the wilderness preaching not (as in Mark 1:4) a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” but rather repentance, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). This is also different than Luke’s gospel in which we follow the story of Zechariah, Elizabeth and their son John (Lk 1); we are not told of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth – hence there is no announced family relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus.
  • He is Always Coming to Us – A Sermon on Matthew 3:13-17 (interruptingthesilence.com)
    Jesus’ baptism sets before us a choice. We can either prevent or consent, closing or opening ourselves, to the baptism of Jesus. The issue is not Jesus’ coming to us. The issue is our preventing or consenting to his coming. Our work then is to always move from preventing to consenting. That is our repentance just as it was for John.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation. This requires time apart from my cultural context and examination of my motives and areas of my life needing change. To live in or return to the kingdom of God, requires growth and transformation by God’s love, forgiveness, and grace.
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
    Hand Questions

    1. What could active, positive repentance mean in your life?
    2. What’s to prevent you from changing any habits of life that distance you from God or neighbour?
    3. Are you ready for the baptism of Holy Spirit and fire?
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    The first thing that John the Baptist says is, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  People were coming to him from Jerusalem and Judea, all around the region of the Jordan (both urban and rural places).  They were coming to confess their sins and be baptized.

Comments on: "Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms" (9)

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