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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

|| Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:14

MT4:12 Now, having heard John [the Baptist] was arrested, Jesus retired into Galilee.[1] MT4:13 Leaving Nazareth[2] Jesus took up residence in Capernaum[3] by the sea in the districts of Zebulun[4] and Naphtali,[5] MT4:14 so that it might be fulfilled as it as spoken by Isaiah[6] the prophet, saying, MT4:15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, by the sea on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee[7] of the nations, MT4:16 those people[8] sitting in a region of death’s dark shadow saw a great Light rise upon them.” [Isaiah 9:1, 2] MT4:17 From that time[9] Jesus started preaching, saying, “Repent,[10] for the Realm of the heavens[11] has drawn near.”

Wooden longboat, Israel. 02.jpg

Wooden longboat in the large freshwater lake Sea of Chinneret (Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias) Sea of Galilee, Tiberias.

[1] Galilee: The place occurs 76 times in the Bible with the region first mentioned at Numbers 34:11 (Joshua 20:7). The fresh water “lake” is also called the Sea of Chinnereth (Numbers 34:11), the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). Jesus begins his ministry here and essentially ends it also at Galilee (John 21:1, 4-19). The lake is green/blue 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. “The density of the shoals of fish in the Sea of Galilee can scarcely be conceived by those who have not witnessed them. Frequently these shoals cover an acre or more of the surface and the fish, as they slowly move along in masses, are so crowded, with their back fins just appearing on the level of the water, that the appearance at a little distance is that of a violent shower of rain pattering on the surface.” (The Natural History of the Bible, H. B. Tristram, 1889, p. 285) All of Jesus’ faithful apostles came from this area.

[2] Nazareth: Probably just after Luke 4:28-30.

[3] Capernaum: The name means “Comforting Place.” The place occurs 16 times in the Christian Bible. Mark 2:1 calls this Jesus’ “home.” (“his house”)

[4] Zebulun: The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 48 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:20. Compare Psalm 68:27. The name means perhaps “Toleration” or “Lofty Abode.” Compare Revelation 7:8.

[5] Naphtali: The name means “My Wrestlings.” The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 55 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:8. Compare Revelation 7:6.

[6] Isaiah: Isaiah 9:1, 2. The prophet Isaiah is named 22 times in the Christian Bible (Matthew, 6; Mark, 2; Luke, 2; John, 4; Acts, 3; Romans, 5). In addition to direct quotations there are many allusions which are subtle paraphrases (Compare John 5:29 with Isaiah 26:19 LXX).

[7] Galilee: A prophecy indicating where Messiah would begin his ministry. It is in this area where the Nazarene sees his greatest fruitage – the foundation of Christianity.

[8] Those people: Note Acts 1:11; 2:7. We have a great spiritual debt to these folks.

[9] From that time: About a year after John the Baptist began his own ministry.

[10] Repent: The first words of the “Gospel” in the mouth of Jesus. Repentance is part of the Lord’s Gospel.

[11] Realm of the heavens: Or, “kingdom of the heavens.” The meaning is two fold: a) the King is present; and, b) the opportunity to enter the Nazarene’s realm of profession by confessing him as Lord.

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule

Next:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

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Additional reading

  1. Invitation for the Studyday about Isaiah Messenger of joy
  2. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  3. John 4 exhortation: The one that broke the mould
  4. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  5. Salvation, Baptism and Re-baptism
  6. Together tasting a great promisse
  7. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  8. Doest thou well to be Angry?

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Further reading

  1. Man’s true destiny
  2. My People Do Not Know
  3. The carnal mind – January 25, 2017
  4. We Have Sinned
  5. God’s Plumb Line
  6. Surrender
  7. Having Faith in God 
  8. Scripture at Sunrise 2.7.2017
  9. God’s Faithful Are Forever Blessed
  10. Only Jesus Will Give You Eternal Life
  11. Choose good over evil – February 01, 2017
  12. What is your goal in publishing Christian Pharisees?
  13. Our God is a Holy God
  14. Two Selves: One Cannot Be Improved, the Other is Perfect in Christ (Part 1)
  15. Repent
  16. “Repent and Believe in the Good News”
  17. Repentance is More than saying I’m Sorry
  18. Am I Wired To Repent?
  19. Embracing Repentance
  20. Hold Fast In The Lord and Repent
  21. Repent While You Can
  22. Guilt — Why won’t it go away?
  23. How Does One Repent?
  24. Ask The Lord To Cast Away Your Sins
  25. Jesus sends you out for your sake
  26. Living in the Light
  27. Why A Christian Should Not Say “This” To A Non-Christian – Part II
  28. Do You Really Love Jesus?
  29. Stones Into Bread
  30. 3rd Sunday After Epiphany, January 22, 2017
  31. Third Sunday of Epiphany 2017 – Matthew 4:21-22
  32. 40 days
  33. 40 days and 40 nights
  34. Jesus Keeps Walking, God Keeps Moving
  35. Light to the Nations?
  36. Follow
  37. Follow Me
  38. Invited To Follow
  39. Immediate
  40. Repentance – Sermon on Matthew 4:12-23
  41. Jesus calls his first disciples
  42. Answering the Call (Mt 4:12-23)
  43. Called Together
  44. What Does ‘Fish for Men’ Mean?
  45. Are You Really Following?
  46. Faith & Fisherman
  47. Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

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The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

He himself sat on several judicial committees and was more than once involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.”

In sharing his experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that he did as an agent of what he now realizes to be a rather malicious publishing company he lifts up the veil for the unknown to non Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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To remember

Watchtower has created a rules-based religion

break one of their rules [breaking rules of a sexual nature (sex outside of marriage)] = invite you to such a judicial committee

secret book titled, “Shepherd the Flock of God” = regular Jehovah’s Witnesses not allowed to see

 

basic Star Chamber trial > elders= prosecutors + judges

accused = considered guilty > faces them alone = no support + no representative >> exception of minor children can have parents present + married women can have husbands present

Nobody ever invited to a judicial committee unless elders have some sort of proof or reason to believe the individual is guilty => to determine the appropriate punishment.

 

  1. individual reproved privately
  2. public reproof => congregation will severely limit any association with someone who has been reproved =  “disfellowshipping light.”
  3. disfellowshipping => friends and family will begin to shun until (or if) reinstated. The fourth, which is almost unheard of, is that the committee realizes that no offence worthy of disfellowshipping is committed, and the judicial committee is cancelled.

times when a sin is considered to be so serious that a plea of repentance won’t be accepted

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Preceding articles

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

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JWVICTIMS.ORG

“Hi, this is Brother Elder, and I’m calling to invite you to a judicial committee.” That statement is feared by every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in many ways it drastically affects the choices they make in their life. Why is that the case? Simply put, the results of the judicial committee can cause all of your friends and family to shun you. A scary prospect indeed! So why do people get invited to a judicial committee and how do they work?

Myself, I served as an elder as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for almost 10 years, and I sat on several judicial committees. I was involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.” I am now sharing that experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that I did as an agent of what I now realize to be…

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Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

LK3:10 So the crowds asked John: “What shall we do?”[1] LK3:11 John told them: “The person with two outer cloaks should share[2] with the person having none, and the person with food should do the same.” LK3:12 Then tax collectors came to be baptized and they asked John: “Teacher, what shall we do?” LK3:13 John told them: “Do not collect more tax than is required by law.”[3] LK3:14 Now soldiers also asked him: “What shall we do?” John answered them: “Do not extort money[4] from anyone, and do not slander any person.[5] Be satisfied with your wages.”[6]


[1] What shall we do: Likely the question is in response to the “fruitage that befits repentance.”

[2] Share: It is interesting to note the first answer to the question, “What shall we do?” The spirit is at the center of what the Nazarene is to teach later. [Luke 6:30-35] The early Christians did this in great measure. [Acts 2, 4, 5] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on “sharing” at Romans 12:13 and 2 Corinthians 8:14.

[3] Do not collect more tax than is required by law: Or, WMS: stop collecting any more than is prescribed for you. Compare an example at Luke 19:8.

[4] Do not extort money: Or, molest no one, rob no one, don’t use threats. It is interesting John does not tell them to leave their military service.

[5] Do not slander any person: Or, blackmail, false accusation, informing. [Exodus 23:1, 7]

[6] Be satisfied with your wages: Or, supplies, provisions. The military is always under paid for what they do.

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Preceding articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Connecting articles:

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

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

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

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

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Additional reading:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  2. Missional hermeneutics 4/5 call to repentance
  3. Bearing fruit
  4. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  5. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  6. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  7. Breathing and growing with no heir
  8. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  9. Words to push and pull
  10. The Ecclesia
  11. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  12. Fellowship
  13. Re-Creating Community
  14. Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace
  15. A man who cannot forgive others
  16. God should be your hope
  17. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

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  • Preparing the Way (graceofourlord.com)
    If this writer kept a “top ten list” of the most important chapters of scripture in the Bible, Luke Chapter 3 would almost certainly be in that list, for reasons that will hopefully become apparent by the end of this blog.
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    All of these things together make up the crux of what John’s commission by God is all about, as far as “to prepare the way” is concerned. This is part of what makes this chapter of Luke one of the most important in the New Testament. There has been no word from God for 400 years – since Malachi foretold the coming of John the Baptist in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5. Now comes John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Leviticus 3-4, Luke 3 (vesselsofclay.org)
    He told them that their lives needed to reflect a passion for the things that pleased God. “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:11 ESV). He told the tax collectors to “collect no more than you are authorized to do” (Luke 3:13 ESV). He told the soldiers to “not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14 ESV).John was demanding life change. He was letting them know that their lives were going to have to be distinctively different than what they had been. It wasn’t going to be business as usual. They were to “bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8 ESV). Things were about to heat up. Expectations were about to ratchet up. He warned them, “even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9 ESV). God’s expectations for holiness hadn’t changed. His demands for a people who would live holy lives and act in accordance with His Word and in keeping with their character as one of His children, had not changed.
  • Matthew 3:1-10, Mark 1:1-6, Luke 3:1-14 (oh-mag.com)
    Now as John sees the Pharisees and Sadducees coming he is indignant and asks who warned them to flee from the coming wrath. He calls them a brood of vipers – not very complimentary – likening them to a mass of evil creatures who have seen the fire approaching. John tells them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. This is a weighty command. Later in the New Testament we see what this fruit looks like: love, joy, peace, perseverance – all of these things come from a desire to continually repent and seek God in all matters. It is the ultimate way we can know Him as Lord. John then accuses them of their thinking that just because they are Abraham’s seed they will be safe from the fires of Hell. This would have shocked not only the teachers, but the Jewish people as well.
  • Fruit of Repentance (mfmdelaware.wordpress.com)
    The fruit of repentance should be seen in you as a Christian; this is the demand of John in Matt3:8. Ceremonies are by the way, fruit yielding is more important. Through fruits, you salt the world and give light to those in darkness. By your fruit Jesus derives satisfaction, Mark11:12-13. He made them to know that He never came to abolish the law but to fulfill it. In addition, He made them to know that doing the commandments will give you the status of heaven. These are to prepare them for what He was about to teach them; immorality, divorce, tolerance, anger, lack of love, worries etc. these are the areas where human logics are being utilized to excuse the law. He gave detailed explanation to all these areas.
  • “Bear Fruits In Keeping With …” Bible Reading Thoughts for March 12th (therugbychristadelphians.wordpress.com)
    What an incredible impact the preaching of John the Baptist had!  We do not realize this at first – but there are clues here and there – look at Acts 18 v.25 and 19 v.3.  Paul comes across those at Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John– a vast distance from the Jordan.     What stood out in our chapter 3 in Luke today was the bluntness of John’s message; it was far from being simply an appeal to love your neighbour as yourself – which is the substance of the preaching in many churches today.  They had to examine themselves and change their ways and “bear fruits in keeping with repentence” – to put it bluntly, to show they were repentant by actions – not just words.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)
    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’
  • – The Baptism & Death of Jesus – (hiseternalword.wordpress.com)
    Believer’s baptism is not an act of repentance but an expression of personal identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. By being baptized, those who are born again announce their severance from their former lives of sin and their possession of a new life in Christ.
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Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

LK3:7 So John told the crowds that came out to be baptized by him: “You offspring of vipers,[1] who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?[2] LK3:8 You had better produce fruitage worthy of repentance.[3] Do not start to convince yourselves: ‘Abraham is our father!’[4] For I tell you that The God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these rocks![5] LK3:9 Even now the ax is about to chop the root of the trees.[6] And so every tree not producing good fruit[7] will be chopped down and hurled into the fire.”[8]


[1] You offspring of vipers: Or, generation of vipers, brood of snakes. John does not speak well of the Jews of his period. [Isaiah 59:5] Jesus does the same. [Matthew 23:33]

[2] The coming wrath: Likely including the period of Great Oppression between 66-70 AD.

[3] Fruitage worthy of repentance: True repentance – a feeling of regret for past thoughts, words, and conduct – must be accompanied by visible evidence of such repentance. [Matthew 3:8]

[4] Abraham is our father: Compare John 8:33. A claim relied on by some Jews to this day.

[5] Raise up children to Abraham from these rocks: Merely relying on a genealogical connection with Abraham is of no value.

[6] The ax is about to chop the root of the trees: The claim of Abrahamic roots is worthless now if one is lacking the faith of Abraham. [Matthew 3:10]

[7] Every tree not producing good fruit: Compare Matthew 7:19 where Jesus teaches the same.

[8] Hurled into the fire: The analogy is to the brush fire resulting from burning up pruned limbs. Compare Luke 3:17.

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John the Baptist preaching repentance - polych...

John the Baptist preaching repentance – polychrome, Amiens cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Preceding articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Connecting articles:

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

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

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

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

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Find also to read:

  1. God’s promises
  2. With God All Things Are Possible
  3. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  4. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  5. Apple of Gods eye
  6. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  7. Creator and Blogger God 9 A Blog of a Book 3 Blog about Prophecy
  8. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  9. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #20 Before and After
  11. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  12. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  13. Men of faith
  14. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  15. Jeruzalem Gods city
  16. True riches
  17. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  18. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  19. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  20. Invitation to all who believe

In Dutch:

  1. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen. #1 Abraham de aartsvader
    where is written that early in the 2nd millennium before the Common Era, the first Hebrew patriarch was born.
    In the history of humankind we can see that the Almighty God, Jehovah used his power to overcome any obstacle that the fulfillment of his promise, to Abraham, might prevent to come in fulfilment. The father of Isaac was to be the patriarch for God’s People. In time, Abraham was indeed the father of the Israelites and had not only to be seen as the father or patriarch of the Jews, but also of the Christians as well as Muslims. They all should believe in the promise of a great posterity which would come when a great empire would be inherited by the People of God. We should all look forward to the time when the world would come to see the promised land.  From the trunk of the patriarch of the people of Israel a large earthly king would come (David) from which the Messiah (Jeshua/Jesus Christ) would be born, which would be a greater king because he should rule over the Kingdom of God.
  2. Het begin van Jezus #7 Een Nieuwe Adam, zoon van Abraham
  3. Het begin van Jezus #8 Beloofde Gezalfde zoon van God

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  • Preparing the Way (graceofourlord.com)
    In verse 7, John the Baptist is speaking to the crowds that came out to be baptized. In Matthew chapter 3, we are told that Pharisees and Saduccees were among those who had come. The impression that is most natural to take away from John’s harsh-sounding words here are that they are meant for those two groups. But just as likely, they are aimed at any of those who had come without true repentance on their minds. That is what John had been preaching – a baptism of repentance.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So 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.
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    They were coming to confess their sins and be baptized.   This is all well and good, but as David Lose and Karoline Lewis point out here, this isn’t the usual Advent and Christmas theme.  Repentance and  baptism for the forgiveness of sins is a topic we talk about in Lent as we prepare for Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, not as we celebrate his birth.
  • Second Sunday of Advent: Dec. 8 (prayerscapes.wordpress.com)
    John came to prepare the people for the coming of another. Coming events have occurred often in the life of the Judeo-Christian faith: from Egypt, from the desert, from Babylon, the Christ child, John and the second coming of Jesus.
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    We as believers are called to come to and embrace the kingdom of heaven, which is nearby. How have we prepared the way for our coming to this kingdom? Have we applied for citizenship in this new kingdom? In these days as I contemplate John preparing the way for the people, I shall also contemplate my preparation for citizenship and entry into the nearby kingdom of heaven. How about you?
  • Sadducees & Pharisees: The Holistic Healing Arts like Yoga are unChristian (arpaget.typepad.com)
    According to some of our Rams and Shepherds, apparently our very spiritual lives are in great jeopardy. All due to those unChristian activities, we like to refer to as the Holistic Healing Arts like Yoga.

    So we, the lowly Sheep, approach this topic with considerable timidity, humility and meekness. Such August Leaders of the Church – are like the great Sadducees and Pharisees of the Temple:

  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
  • In those days: the kingdom at hand (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Luke introduces the ministry of John the Baptist with a careful historical introduction listing the year, the emperor, the rulers of the surrounding territories, and the high priest who was in office. Matthew introduces John’s ministry with a very general, “in those days.” The point is not that Matthew was unaware of the interval of about thirty years that he is passing over. Rather, his purpose was to show that the birth of Christ and the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry are part of the same flow of God’s activity in salvation history. There are two major sections within this passage. Verses 1-6 introduce the ministry of John the Baptist while verses 7-12 summarize the message of John.
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
    To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.
  • Because It’s the Religious Thing To Do – Matthew 3:7-10 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)
    To be right with God, it wasn’t good enough just to be children of Abraham. God wanted them to repent of their self-righteousness and replace it with His righteousness. And without God’s righteousness, there’s no redemption!But God’s righteousness can’t be acquired by birthright or by being religious; it can only be imputed by God. And God can only impute His righteousness when there is a penitent heart to receive it, when you acknowledge that you are wrong and God is right.
  • Refurbisment or Rebuild (venabling.wordpress.com)
    The experience of becoming a Christian is often presented in the guise of being a refurbishment job.
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    The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a “refurbishment” message. Rather it is “demolition and renewal” message. John the Baptist was the man who preached in a demolish and rebuild fashion.
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Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

LK3:3 And so John went into all the surrounding regions of the Jordan [river], preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,[1] LK3:4 just as it has been written in the bible[2] of the prophet Isaiah’s words: “A voice crying in the desert:[3] ‘Prepare the way of YHWH![4] Make His paths straight!’ LK3:5 Every valley will be filled in, and every mountain and hill will be leveled off. The crooked will be straightened and the rough smoothed out. LK3:6 All flesh will see the salvation of The God.” [Isaiah 40:3-5 LXX]


[1] Sins: Against the Law of Moses.

[2] Bible: Or, book, scroll, writings. The Greek is BIBLO.

[3] A voice crying in the desert: The source is Isaiah 40:3-5. Compare Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3.

  • Commentaries for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year A (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
    Historical-Cultural Context. The Gospel reading in light of 1st century Mediterranean culture.
    Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background to the readings.
  • 8th December, Gospel Reading (Matthew 3:1-12) (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
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    if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit, and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire.
  • Isaiah 40:3 (jasondrenning.wordpress.com)
    The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of Christ into the world (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; John 1:23). When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and barriers removed.
  • In those days: the kingdom at hand (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1–12 describes John’s preparation for Jesus (also see Mark 1:2–8; Luke 3:1–18; John 1:19–28). Although we normally call him “the Baptist,” Matt 3:1-12 does not focus on his baptizing activity as much as on other aspects of his ministry: John as Preacher/Prophet, and John as the Forerunner to Jesus.

    Contrary to today’s popular misconceptions, biblical prophets do not merely or even primarily “predict” the future. Rather they “speak on behalf of God” (Greek pro-phemi), and they do this through both their words and their actions. Thus, John not only talks like a prophet (preaching a message of repentance), but he also acts like one (as Matthew describes his clothing and diet in the desert). John not only calls all people in general to repent, but he has particularly harsh words for some of the more “religious” people, challenging them to show their repentance in their actions, to “produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance” (3:8), as all other biblical prophets also did.

  • What’s Cooking? (ianritchie.wordpress.com)
    The great yearning for greater fairness in government has been with the human race for a long time. So it was also in the time of the prophet Isaiah, over 720 years Before Christ. If you read through the first ten chapters of the book of Isaiah, you read about injustice and unrighteousness in both the chosen nation and all the “other nations.” And we read about a lot of violence and destruction, a lot of gloom, and doom, both in what was then the present, and what was to come.
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Repent: the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

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)

++

  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.

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

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

|| Mark 1:1-6; Luke 3:1-6, 12-14

The Jordan River

The Jordan River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MT3:1 But in those days[1] John the Baptist[2] came from the Judean wilderness,[3] MT3:2 preaching, “Repent[4] for the Realm[5] of Heaven has drawn near.[6] MT3:3 For this is the One spoken of by Isaiah[7] the prophet, saying, ‘A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make ready the Way of YHWH – make straight His roads.”’” [Isaiah 40:3] MT3:4 But this John dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist and hips. His food was locusts[8] and wild honey. MT3:5 Then Jerusalem and all the Judeans[9] and all the country along the Jordan came to John, MT3:6 and they publicly confessed their sins[10] and John baptized[11] them in the Jordan river.[12]


[1] Those days: Luke gives the precise timing by paralleling these activities with several contemporary rulers and priests (Luke 3:1ff). It was the year 29 AD.

[2] John the Baptist: The prophet from the desert is mentioned 150 times in the Christian Bible. The name “John” means “Yah Favors.” Jesus ranks him equal to any of the greatest people in the Bible (Matthew 11:11, 12). Jesus compares him to the prophet Elijah.

[3] Wilderness: BER: the Judean desert.

[4] Repent: Repentance is a key word in the Bible. It means to “change the mind” or “feel sorry” for sins. The word group occurs 70 times in the Bible with the first at Job 42:6 and most often in Luke, with Revelation second. John’s call to repentance was regarding sins against the Mosaic Law.

[5] Realm: The Greek is BASILEIA and is often translated “kingdom.” MOF: Reign of heaven. The word occurs 366 times, first at Genesis 10:10 and most often in Daniel and then Matthew. The word may mean the seat of government, that is the king, or source of the authority. It may also mean the realm, territory or domain of the King. Here John has in mind the future manifestation or appearance of the Messiah Jesus, the “king of Israel.” “Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew) or “kingdom of God” (Luke) is used most often by the Nazarene to mean the “realm of profession” or the Church (Compare the parables in Matthew 13).

[6] Near: Usually the word “near” means within hours or days. John has in mind the coming of Messiah as the future King of Israel.

[7] Isaiah: The quote is from Isaiah 40:3 and leans toward the LXX though paraphrases a bit.

[8] Locusts: A common food of Middle Eastern nomads. GDSP: dried locusts; BECK: grasshoppers. John is very austere if not ascetic.

[9] All the Judeans: John’s preaching has a wide impact among the Jews.

[10] Their sins: That is sins against the Mosaic Law. These are all Jews.

[11] Baptized: The word (BAPTIZONTO) means “immerse” or “submerge” (RHM) and always occurs where there is “a large body of water.” The word group occurs over 100 times. There are two water baptisms in the Christian Bible: that of John the Baptist for Jews (Acts 18:25; 19:3) and Christian baptism into Nazarene discipleship. “Baptism” is connected to salvation (1 Peter 3:21). There is a baptism into God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; John 3:3-5). There is a baptism into Christ’s leadership (1 Corinthians 10:2). There is a baptism into the life course as a disciple (Mark 10:38). There is a baptism into death (Luke 12:38; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is a fundamental teaching (Hebrews 6:2). Jesus commanded his eleven apostles to go and baptize people of all nations (Matthew 28:18, 19).

  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)John the Baptist came at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, which Mark notes as the first words of his gospel. Luke, marks the time with his announcement (“15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” which puts it around 26 A.D. making both John and Jesus around 30 (See Luke 3:23), but all four gospels discuss this event in Jesus’ life, because it is an important fulfillments of prophecy about the Messiah (See Matthew 11:9-10 cf. Malachi 3:1). The fact that John the Baptist came “preaching in the desert,” is significant, because the desert was a place that God had called His people out from to worship Him, and it was usually represented renewal.
    +
    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’”Now, John’s baptism, was preparing “the way” for those to come to Jesus, but as we see elsewhere, it was only after Christ was raised from the dead that repentance led to the transformation of the Holy Spirit (See Point #5 cf. Acts13: 24ff; 19:4-6).
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    We know that the person John is talking about is  Jesus, but Craddock notes, “the narrative asks us to exercise restraint and let the story unfold in its own time.” We’ll get to Jesus soon enough.  John simply says in verse 11, “he who is coming after me” and “I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”  If you’ve heard the story before we know who is to come.  But when it comes to the church, how many times to we assume that everyone knows the story.  We assume people know about God’s love made known in Jesus Christ; we assume they know the story of his birth.  We assume because we know.  But that isn’t the case.  We still have to prepare the way of the Lord.
  • In those days: John’s Baptism (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    John’s Baptism.“to lead righteous lives, to practice justice toward their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing join in baptism”  John’s baptism was a symbolic act that people who had already done these things – or were committed to living as such – were forming a “faithful remnant” of the covenant.  In the gospel accounts all of John’s words (except the word against Antipas) are spoken to persons seeking this baptism. His words show that John was unreceptive to those whom he judged to have bad faith, while he was friendly to those who were truly repentant. To the former he repeated threats and warnings and perhaps added new ones, while to the latter he gave hope for further dramatic renewal of their lives as well as ethical guidance relevant to their particular vocations. The former group seems to have been made up of people whose commonality was lording power over the common people: the religious leadership, the wealthy, the tax collectors and soldiers.
  • Lectionary blogging: Why was Jesus baptized? (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
    It seems only right that we ask questions about the meaning of baptism since John the Baptist himself asked such questions.
    +
    Wesley comes down on the side of interpreting Jesus’ baptism as a model for his followers. Jesus was baptized even though he had no sin and required no repentance, which were key aspects of John’s baptismal message. Jesus did this to set a model for us. For Wesley the baptism of Jesus is an example of the obligations that rest on us as Christians for no other reason than Jesus Christ commands us to observe them. If we reject the command, Wesley argues, we should not expect the Holy Spirit.
  • The writer of The Baptism of the Lord (newevangelizers.com) asks his readers to notice that as the Spirit descends upon Jesus, “the Father announces from heaven that this is His beloved Son.”But than straight ahead continues giving the impression that this Voice from the clouds did not tell the truth and gave “a majestic revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons. ” and as such going against all the sayings of Jehovah God and of Jesus himself later in his life when he spoke about his relationship with his heavenly Father.
  • We wonder where Sermo Dei: Baptism of Our Lord (daringlutheran.net) gets it from that the Son of God is incarnate. He does not allow people to question his saying, so this will leave a blank.
    He writes a.o.:
    “By Jesus’ time, prophets of the Lord are seldom seen and heard from – even less so today. The sky tends not to be rent open wide when someone wades in the water. Certainly disembodied voices don’t sound forth from heaven, nor do dove-like Spirits descend in plain sight.”
    Though he seem to recognise the Voice of God or the Logos being able to create or to destroy things he suddenly seem to mix the voice of the Creator with the person of which the Logos gave existence of.
  • Baptism of Christ – unworthy sinners made worthy by Jesus (revpaulhgreenland.wordpress.com)
    judgment is there for those who oppose God’s ways, but fundamentally, God wants to bring us back from sin into His ways. We have the image of the Old Testament prophet, whose job it was to preach judgment and punishment to warn the people of the consequences of their continued sin, but God wants most of all as Ezekiel says, for people to turn and live.
  • Baptism of Our Lord (ijboudreaux.com)
    Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit.  Grant that all who are baptized into his name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, One God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.
  • A Title You Can’t Wash Off (jaredhillaryruark.wordpress.com)
    We could say a lot of things about baptism because there are billions of Christians and thousands of Christian traditions, so baptism can take on any number of meanings and people think about it in a lot of different ways.
    +
    John the Baptist, despite his name, doesn’t feel up to the task. He’s already baptized thousands in the River Jordan but when Jesus approaches he says Whoa, whoa. Nope. I’m not baptizing you, you should be baptizing me. The problem seems to be that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus doesn’t have sins so why would he be baptized? So John says, no-no-no. You’re the holy one and it makes more sense if you baptize me.You can tell somethings out of place just from their names and titles. John is called the Baptist and they’ll call Jesus a lot of things–Messiah, Christ, Son of God. And you can tell just from the titles that John shouldn’t be baptizing Jesus. Cause you know there are all sorts of Baptists–American baptists and Southern baptists, independent baptists. Larry and Susan the Baptists down the street. But you don’t hear about Joe and Suzy Christ so much. Only Jesus get’s to be called Christ and Christ is quite the title. So John says “I need to be baptized by you.”
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1 in those days: This is an OT expression that marks the beginning of the new period, not necessarily a precise indication of time (see Mt 13:1; 24:22, 29, 36; 26:29). Here it marks the time-shift from the infancy narrative to the adult Jesus’ appearance.  the desert of Judea: wilderness would perhaps be the better word for modern English. The area is the barren region west of the Dead Sea extending up the Jordan valley.
    +
    Matthew 3:2 Repent: the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
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