The Preaching of John the Baptist
3 In those days [a]John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea [along the western side of the Dead Sea] and saying, 2 “[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.” 3 This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
4 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.(B) 5 At that time Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; 6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
7 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? 8 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]; 9 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.(C) 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).(D) 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.(E) 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),(F) 17 and behold, a [m]voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!”(G)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Matthew 3:10 Lit laid at.
- Matthew 3:11 The Greek here can be translated in, with, or by.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Matthew 3:16 The descent of the Holy Spirit identified Jesus in His humanity for His ministry as the Messiah.
- 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.
The Preaching of John the Baptist
1 The beginning of the [facts regarding the] good news of [a]Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written and forever remains in the [writings of the] prophet Isaiah:
4 [c]John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins [that is, requiring a change of one’s old way of thinking, turning away from sin and seeking God and His righteousness]. 5 And all the country of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were continually going out to him; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a [wide] leather [d]band around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.(C) 7 And he was preaching, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, and I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of His sandals [even as His slave]. 8 As for me, I baptized you [who came to me] with water [only]; but He will baptize you [who truly repent] [e]with the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptism of Jesus
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.(D) 10 [f]Immediately coming up out of the water, he (John) saw the heavens torn open, and the [g]Spirit like a dove descending on Him (Jesus); 11 and a [h]voice came out of heaven saying: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!”(E)
12 Immediately the [Holy] Spirit forced Him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted [to do evil] by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels ministered continually to Him.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
14 Now after John [the Baptist] was arrested and [i]taken into custody, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of [the kingdom of] God, 15 and saying, “The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; 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] and believe [with a deep, abiding trust] in the good news [regarding salvation].”
16 As Jesus was walking by the shore of the [j]Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon [Peter] and Simon’s brother, [k]Andrew, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “[l]Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example]. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were also in the boat mending and cleaning the nets. 20 Immediately Jesus called to them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers, and went away to follow Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].
21 They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.(F) 22 They were completely amazed at His teaching; because He was teaching them as one having [God-given] authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out [terribly from the depths of his throat], 24 saying, “[m]What business do You have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25 Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet (muzzled, silenced), and come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and screeching with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 They were all so amazed that they debated and questioned each other, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits (demons), and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere throughout the district surrounding Galilee.
Healing the Crowds
29 And immediately they left the synagogue and went into the house of Simon [Peter] and Andrew, accompanied by James and John.(G) 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they told Him about her. 31 Jesus went to her, and taking her by the hand, raised her up; and the fever left her, and she began to serve them [as her guests].
32 Now when evening came, after the sun had set [and the Sabbath Day had ended, in a steady stream] they were bringing to Him all who were sick and those who were under the power of demons, 33 until the whole city had gathered together at the door. 34 And Jesus healed many who were suffering with various diseases; and He drove out many demons, but would not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him [recognizing Him as the Son of God].
35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37 and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” 38 He replied, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so I may preach there also; that is why I came [from the Father].” 39 So He went throughout Galilee, preaching [the gospel] in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40 And a leper came to Him, begging Him and falling on his knees before Him, saying, “If You are willing, You are able to make me [n]clean.”(H) 41 Moved with compassion [for his suffering], Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 The leprosy left him immediately and he was cleansed [completely healed and restored to health]. 43 And Jesus [deeply moved] admonished him sternly and sent him away immediately, 44 saying to him, “See that you tell no one anything [about this]; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your purification what Moses commanded, as proof to them [that you are really healed].”(I) 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news [of his healing], to such an extent that Jesus could no longer openly enter a city [where He was known], but stayed out in the unpopulated places; yet people were still coming to Him from everywhere.
- Mark 1:1 Mark’s gospel is believed to be directed primarily to Gentile believers in Rome. Since Gentiles would not necessarily be familiar with the Jewish title Messiah, he emphasizes instead the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.
- Mark 1:3 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, John the Baptist was clearing the way for the arrival of the Messiah by preparing the hearts of his followers.
- Mark 1:4 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.
- Mark 1:6 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.
- Mark 1:8 The Greek here can be translated with, in, or by.
- Mark 1:10 Mark uses the word “immediately” almost forty times in his gospel.
- Mark 1:10 The three persons of the Godhead were present: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Mark 1:11 See note Matt 3:17.
- Mark 1:14 Cf 6:17 ff.
- Mark 1:16 A fresh water lake about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, almost 700 feet below sea level and center of a busy fishing industry.
- Mark 1:16 One of the followers of John the Baptist (John 1:40).
- Mark 1:17 The concept of “follow” can represent three separate possibilities: in the early stages of His ministry, (1) walking with Him physically (literally), that is merely being in His presence regardless of personal belief or commitment; (2) accepting and identifying with the salvation He offered; and later on (3) being identified with Him by being subject to the scorn and rejection of unbelievers because of personal belief and commitment to Him.
- Mark 1:24 Lit What to me and to you, originally a Hebrew idiom which does not translate well into English. The idiom is meant to inform the other person that the speaker is not aware of any obligation between them and does not wish to deal with the other person (cf 2 Sam 16:10).
- Mark 1:40 Lepers were ceremonially unclean according to OT law (Lev 13:45, etc.) and were not to come into physical contact with other people. The leper’s request was the same as asking for healing.
John the Baptist Preaches
3 Now in the fifteenth year of [Emperor] [a]Tiberius Caesar’s reign—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod [Antipas] was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene— 2 in the high [b]priesthood of Annas and [c]Caiaphas [his son-in-law], the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin; 4 as it is written and forever remains written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
[d]Make His paths straight.
‘Every ravine shall be filled up,
And every mountain and hill shall be leveled;
And the crooked [places] shall be made straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
and [e]all mankind shall see the salvation of God.’”(A)
7 So he began saying to the crowds who were coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of [f]vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath [of God that is] to come? 8 Therefore produce fruit that is worthy of [and consistent with your] repentance [that is, live changed lives, turn from sin and seek God and His righteousness]. And do not even begin to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [and so our heritage assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham [for God can replace the unrepentant, regardless of their heritage, with those who are obedient].(B) 9 Even now the axe [of God’s judgment] is swinging toward the root of the trees; so every tree that does not produce good fruit is being cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 The crowds asked him, “Then what are we to do?” 11 And John replied, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do the same.” 12 Even some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13 And he told them, “Collect no more than the fixed amount you have been ordered to [collect].” 14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us, what are we to do?” And he replied to them, “Do not [g]extort money from anyone or harass or blackmail anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
15 Now the people were in a state of expectation, and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 16 John answered them all by saying, “As for me, I baptize you [only] [h]with water; but One who is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I is coming, and I am not fit to untie the strap of His sandals [even as His slave]. He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with [i]fire.(C) 17 His [j]winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat (believers) into His barn (kingdom); but He will burn up the chaff (the unrepentant) with unquenchable fire.”
18 So with many other appeals and various admonitions John preached the good news (gospel) to the people. 19 But when Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch was repeatedly reprimanded [and convicted by John’s disapproval] for having [k]Herodias, his brother’s wife [as his own], and for all the wicked things that Herod had done,(D) 20 he also added this to them all: he locked up John in prison.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, the [visible] heaven was opened,(E) 22 and the [l]Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are My Son, My Beloved, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!”(F)
Genealogy of Jesus
23 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son [by marriage] of Eli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.(G)
- Luke 3:1 See note Matt 22:17.
- Luke 3:2 Annas served from a.d. 6-15, before being deposed by Roman authorities; however, the Jews continued to recognize him as high priest de facto even though others, including his sons and son-in-law, held the official title and publicly appeared to serve as high priest.
- Luke 3:2 Served as high priest from a.d. 18-36, although Annas kept de facto authority.
- Luke 3:4 In spiritual terms, John’s message was clearing the way for the arrival of the Messiah by preparing the hearts of those who were to follow Him.
- Luke 3:6 I.e. salvation is available to both Jew and Gentile.
- Luke 3:7 I.e. poisonous snakes. An expression intended to describe the repulsive character of many people in the crowd.
- Luke 3:14 The Greek term is similar to our colloquial “shake down,” that is, using violence or threats to force someone to hand over money.
- Luke 3:16 The Greek here can be translated in, with, or by.
- Luke 3:16 Some scholars view “fire” as judgment; however, another view of “fire” purports that the text refers to the fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit, not judgment. 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). 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).
- Luke 3:17 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.
- Luke 3:19 See note Matt 14:3.
- Luke 3:22 See note Matt 3:17.