- The Ministry of John the Baptist (3:1-6)
- John the Baptist’s Warning the Pharisees (3:7-12)
- John’s Baptism of Jesus, a Voice From Heaven (3:13-17)
The Ministry of John the Baptist (3:1-6)
John’s Baptism and the Baptism of Jesus on earth can be viewed as “Kingdom baptism” in contrast with “Christian Baptism”. Kingdom baptism is what disconnected the faithful Jews from the guilt of apostate Israel, while Christian baptism bring us into the Christian testimony. Kingdom baptism is connected with the Messiah on earth, and Christian baptism is connected with the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The testimony of the Jewish remnant was simply that they had turned away from Israel's sins and were waiting for the Messiah to come and for the Kingdom to be established on the earth. The Christian testimony goes beyond this.Read more…
John the Baptist’s Warning the Pharisees (3:7-12)
Five Points Concerning False Religion and God’s Wrath (vv.7-12)
John’s Baptism of Jesus, a Voice From Heaven (3:13-17)
John’s Opposition to the Baptism of Jesus (vv.13-15)
Immediate Results: Three Testimonies to the Perfection of Christ (vv.16-17)
- Heaven opened. Never before had the heavens opened upon anyone on earth, except in a vision as a sign of judgment (Ezek. 1). Here it is a sign of unprecedented and unqualified approval (see note below). Heaven was bursting forth, that all present might know that this Man was different, that the very object of the Father’s delight was among them. Heaven could not be silent!
- The Descent of the Spirit. In form as a dove, the Spirit descended upon the One who was to baptize others with that same Spirit (v.11). This is the same incident that is recorded in John 1:32. It says in John 6:27, “for him hath God the Father sealed.” The dove a symbol of the spotless purity of Christ. He was the only man sealed (or indwelt) before the Cross. The Son received the Spirit twice… once to seal Him, and a second time in heaven to baptize believers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33). Both are alluded to in this chapter (v.11, v.16).
- The Father’s Voice. Jesus as a man on earth, in taking His place with the poor of the flock, was acknowledged publicly by the Father as the Son of God. God would not permit any suspicion to rest on His Son at this most gracious and lowly event. What an encouragement to the disciples! It is not that the Father was declaring that Jesus had a divine nature… but that “Jesus” – a man on earth – was the eternal Son of God, and that He – a humble man – was the object of the Father’s full delight!
- His baptism. The heavens opened upon Jesus, the Son of God on earth, as the object of heaven’s delight, and He was sealed with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:16).
- His lifetime. The heavens continually opened upon Jesus, the Son of man on earth, as the object of heaven’s ministry, the angels as His servants (John 1:51). This scripture is also prophetic of the Millennium, when Christ as Son of Man on earth will be the restorer of all things, of the communication between heaven and earth, and the blessing that will result!
- Stephen. The heavens opened to reveal Jesus, the Son of man in the glory, as on high at the right hand of God, the object of the believer who is full of the Spirit, even in suffering here for His sake (Acts 7:56). Stephen was transformed by that vision!
- The Appearing. The heavens will once again open to reveal Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, as coming forth to judge and make war against all that dispute His authority and oppress the earth (Rev. 19:11).