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Matthew 3 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The Preaching of John the Baptist

In those days [a]John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea [along the western side of the Dead Sea] and saying, [b]Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
Prepare the road for the Lord,
[c]Make His highways straight (level, direct)!’”

Now this same John had clothing made of camel’s hair and a [wide] leather [d]band around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

But when he saw many of the [e]Pharisees and [f]Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the [divine] wrath and judgment to come? So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; and do not presume to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [so our inheritance assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham. 10 And already the axe [of God’s judgment] is [g]swinging toward the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “As for me, I baptize you [h]with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with [i]fire (judgment). 12 His [j]winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat (believers) into His barn (kingdom), but He will burn up the chaff (the unrepentant) with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan [River], to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him [vigorously protesting], saying, “It is I who need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus replied to him, “Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for us [k]to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John permitted [it and baptized] Him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he (John) saw the [l]Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him (Jesus), 17 and behold, a [m]voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 3:1 Considered the last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist was the son of Zecharias (Zechariah) the priest and his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were related (Luke 1:36), and Mary may have been with Elizabeth at the time John was born (Luke 1:56). John the Baptist is not to be confused with John the Apostle who along with his brother, James, was among the twelve disciples of Jesus.
  2. Matthew 3:2 Jews believed they would automatically be granted entrance into the Messianic kingdom, so this new teaching that repentance was required was very difficult to accept.
  3. Matthew 3:3 A ruler or nobleman traveling in the wilderness would have a crew of workmen preparing and clearing the road ahead of him. In spiritual terms, the message was clearing the way for the arrival of the Messiah by preparing the hearts of His followers.
  4. Matthew 3:4 This band (sash, girdle) was about six inches wide and had clasps or fasteners in front. It was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things.
  5. Matthew 3:7 The Pharisees identified with the common people and had control over them. They were prominent legalistic leaders in Judaism who were experts in Mosaic Law and its rituals and traditions. They believed in the resurrection of the dead, immortality of the soul and in the existence of angels and spirits.
  6. Matthew 3:7 The Sadducees were aristocratic members of a priestly group (religious party) who controlled the temple. They denied the possibility of a resurrection and the existence of any spiritual beings apart from God. Although the Sadducees were in the minority, they were leaders of the Sanhedrin, controlling the Jewish High Court.
  7. Matthew 3:10 Lit laid at.
  8. Matthew 3:11 The Greek here can be translated in, with, or by.
  9. Matthew 3:11 Another view of “fire” purports that the text refers to the fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit, not judgment. According to this view the fire indicates that the believer is purified as in the refining of gold. Fire burns up the impurities and the gold (the believer) survives (cf 1 Cor 3:12, 13; James 1:3). The Holy Spirit promised here has been associated with Pentecost, purification, testing, and judgment. Each person who accepts Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5-8).
  10. Matthew 3:12 A tool roughly resembling a pitchfork, used to separate grains of wheat from the chaff by throwing the wheat into the air, and allowing the wind to blow away the lighter chaff.
  11. Matthew 3:15 This act of baptism identified Jesus with sinners whose sins He would ultimately bear, and to whom His righteousness would be imparted.
  12. Matthew 3:16 The descent of the Holy Spirit identified Jesus in His humanity for His ministry as the Messiah.
  13. Matthew 3:17 This is the first instance recorded in the Gospels of the Father speaking audibly to His Son. Also see Matt 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 12:28.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Matthew 3 The Voice (VOICE)

Nazarene means, “tender, green, or living branch.” Jesus is the living Branch, the branch of David that extends the reach of the tree of Israel eventually to foreigners and outsiders.

Around the same time, a man called John[a] began to travel, preach, and ritually wash people through baptism in the wilderness of Judea. John preached a stern but exciting message.

John: Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near.

John’s proclamation fulfilled a promise made by the ancient prophet Isaiah, who had said, “There will be a voice calling from the desert, saying,

Prepare the road for the Eternal One’s journey;
    repair and straighten out every mile of our God’s highway.”[b]

John wore wild clothes made from camel hair with a leather belt around his waist—the clothes of an outcast, a rebel. He ate locusts and wild honey.

Sometimes when people see John they are reminded of the last time God’s people had wandered in a wilderness—after the exodus from Egypt. John is all about wilderness. He preaches in the wilderness, and he wears clothes just like the prophet Elijah had worn. They think perhaps John is inaugurating a new exodus. Actually, that is a pretty good way to think of it. The Anointed One, whose way John comes to prepare, will call humanity away from comfort and status; He will call His followers to challenge their assumptions and the things they take for granted.

People from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and indeed from all around the river Jordan came to John. They confessed their sins, and they were baptized[c] by him in the Jordan.

But John is not exactly warm to all those who come to him seeking cleansing.

He told some Pharisees and Sadducees who came for the ritual baptism,

John: You children of serpents! You brood of vipers! Did someone suggest you flee from the wrath that is upon us? 8-9 If you think that simply hopping in the Jordan will cleanse you, then you are sorely mistaken. Your life must bear the fruits of turning toward righteousness. Nor are you correct if you think that being descended from Abraham is enough to make you holy and right with God. Yes, the children of Abraham are God’s chosen children, but God can adopt as daughters and sons anyone He likesHe can turn these stones into sons if He likes.

To be made right with God, one must truly repent. It means to turn completely away from sin and completely toward God.

10 Even now there is an ax poised at the root of every tree, and every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and tossed into the fire. 11 I ritually cleanse you through baptism[d] as a mark of turning your life around. But someone is coming after me, someone whose sandals I am not fit to carry, someone who is more powerful than I. He will wash[e] you not in water but in fire and with the Holy Spirit. 12 He carries a winnowing fork in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor; He will gather up the good wheat in His barn, and He will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.

13 And then, the One of whom John spoke—the all-powerful Jesus—came to the Jordan from Galilee to be washed[f] by John. 14 At first, John demurred.

John: I need to be cleansed[g] by You. Why do You come to me?

Jesus: 15 It will be right, true, and faithful to God’s chosen path for you to cleanse Me with your hands in the Jordan River.

John agreed, and he ritually cleansed Jesus, dousing Him in the waters of the Jordan. 16 Jesus emerged from His baptism;[h] and at that moment heaven was opened, and Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon Him, alighting on His very body.

Voice from Heaven: 17 This is My Son, whom I love; this is the Apple of My eye; with Him I am well pleased.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Literally, John who immersed, to show repentance
  2. 3:3 Isaiah 40:3
  3. 3:6 Literally, immersed, to show repentance
  4. 3:11 Literally, immerse, to show repentance
  5. 3:11 Literally, immerse, in a rite of initiation and purification
  6. 3:13 Literally, immersed, to show repentance
  7. 3:14 Literally, immersed, in a rite of initiation and purification
  8. 3:16 Literally, after being immersed, Jesus came up from the water.
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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