Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 3

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

Posted Friday, March 14, 2014

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

3:2       REPENT!

●          Throughout the Gospel, the message “Repent” has been preached.

●          In the New Testament, beginning with John the Baptist and concluding with Christ and the Apostles, we are called to repentance.

●          Here the word is μετανοειτε G3340 V-PAM-2P (metanoeite- from metanoeo, which in turn is from two words, meta “after” and noeo “to perceive” or “to understand”, and implies a change of mind and/or purpose).

 

            REPENT(ANCE) NOT, “DO PENANCE!”

●          Throughout the NT, four Greek words are used and translated in the Bible as repent, repented, and/or repentance.  They are:

1.         #278 ἀμεταμέλητος, ametamelētos – which means the opposite, to not repent/change.  This is found only twice in the NT Scriptures: Romans 11:29; 2nd Corinthians 7:10[i].

2.         #3338 μεταμέλλομαι, metamellomai – an emotional change, dealing with specifics.[ii]

3.         #3340 μετανοέω, metanoeō – a change of choice or overall attitude/lifestyle.[iii]

4.         #3341 μετάνοια, metanoia – after thought, change of mind, repentance; especially with regard to sin or evil.[iv]

 

            THE KINGDOM OF…

●          Matthew repeatedly uses the expression, “The kingdom of heaven,” where Mark refers to, “The kingdom of God.”  (As do Luke and John).

Many use the above distinction to justify the belief that Matthew was writing principally to/for Jews, while Mark and the others, were writing for a broader audience (see note to 1:1 part 1 above).  In either case, the expressions are synonymous, cf. Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; John 3:3.[v]

 

3:3       PREPARE THE WAY

●          John the Baptist fulfills the prophetic role of Isaiah 40:3[vi].

 

3:6       BELIEVER’S BAPTISM

●          The people were baptized in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.

●          The term used here and in verse 11 following, in reference to baptism is the Greek word βαπτίζω, baptizō.  In the context of this passage and in general, the term signifies immersion in water.  Only twice is the term used in Scripture for ceremonial washings (ablutions) of the hands: Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38[vii].

●          In each case in Scripture, where the baptismal process is described, the individual being baptized is described as being in the water or coming out of, or from the water.  This would indicate that the latter practices of some faith communities of sprinkling or pouring water over the baptizee have their origins outside of the Scriptures as such, possibly  due to some more mundane, practical (at the time and place) consideration(s) e.g., no standing body of water of sufficient size  to allow for immersion.  In any case, these do not appear to have been the practice in the early church.

●          The other key word here – ἧν, en, is, depending on the context, translated as: in, with, or by.  Of the three, the context clearly calls for “in.”

●          Finally, that those being baptized were “confessing their sins,” indicates that they were of an age to understand and act upon their understanding of the fact that they were sinners who needed some kind of cleansing from their sins.  They were not infants or very young children without any personal understanding.

●          This supports the doctrine of “Believer’s Baptism” as contrasted with that of “Infant Baptism,” practiced by some.  It does not, however, prohibit, or in any other way deny the validity of infant baptism, in a covenantal sense as practiced by some faith groups, e.g., Lutherans, Presbyterians, et al.

 

            PRACTICAL APPLICATION

●          As the act of baptism has no saving effect/power in itself; the mode: immersion, sprinkling, pouring, etc., is irrelevant.

●          As for the “sacrament” of infant baptism and its relation with “believer’s baptism,” I believe that one, who was baptized as an infant/small child, need not be re-baptized.  They may be, should they so desire and doing so may serve as a good public testimony of one’s new faith.  I do not, however, believe it is necessary for salvation.

 

3:8       WALK THE WALK

●          “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.”

○          First of all, this is something no one can do on their own.  One bears fruit that conforms to one’s nature.  Just as with natural trees, each bearing its own type of fruit: apple trees bearing apples, orange trees bearing oranges, a good, i.e., healthy tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree, bad fruit.  This is a natural example of a spiritual reality.  The natural, unregenerate man bears the fruit of his fallen sinful nature.  The godly, born-again man bears the fruit of the Spirit.

○          Second.  The above having been said; this is a classic command to, “Walk the walk,” and not just, “talk the talk.”

●          Related to the first point above; it must be understood that this bearing of good or bad fruit is not necessarily saying, in fact does not say, that the unregenerate man does not ever do things that are inherently “good.”  Evil men have often been known to do “good things” or perform kind acts, etc.  The problem is that these inherently good deeds/acts, are themselves sin in the eyes of God (cf. Isaiah 64:6  “We have become like one who is unclean, and righteous deeds are like a polluted garment .  We fade like a leaf, and iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”  ESV).

 

3:9       GOD’S POWER DECLARED

●          Compare with Ezekiel’s “dry bones,” in Ezekiel 37:1ff[viii].

3:10-12 ETERNAL INSECURITY??

●          In these verses which speak of the coming Judge of Israel, John speaks of the axe being, “[L]aid to the roots of the trees,” and that, therefore, “every tree which does not bear good fruit (cf. v8) is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  NKJV

Q. – Does this indicate or teach that a believer can lose his/her salvation by a lack of diligence in producing “good fruit”?

A. – A casual or surface reading of this passage, compared with a similar seeming passage in the Gospel of John, cf. John 15:1-10[ix], (and related notes) could give that impression.

●          First.  Let’s look at the context of this passage.

John (the Baptist) is speaking to those coming to hear him and be baptized in preparation for the coming Messiah, who would also be the Judge of Israel –  the “Day of the Lord” and its graphic images of world-wide, as well as local judgment being a principle theme of prophecy, especially the books of the prophets: Isaiah – Malachi.

John speaks of the axe, a symbol of judgment, “[E]ven now being laid to the root of the trees [plural].”  (Bracketed material added), and that those trees which do not have “good fruit” would be “cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Fire is yet another symbol of judgment and/or purification.

In verse 12, John uses a parallel illustration of a farmer and a winnowing fan, who sorts out the wheat from the chaff, to store the wheat and burn (destroy) the chaff to reinforce his illustration in verse 10.  (See notes to 3:12 following, “Two and Only Two” which follows.)  Clearly, verse 12 speaks of those who are saved (wheat=believers) and those who are not saved (chaff=unbelievers).  Therefore, verse 10, which verse 12 is reinforcing, must also be talking about saved (believers who bear “good fruit”) and unsaved (unbelievers who do not bear “good fruit”).  The fire, in both cases being that unquenchable fire found in the lake of fire, into which the unsaved, unbelievers will eventually be cast, cf. Revelation 20:11-1[x]5, (and note).

●          Second.  What of the similarity here to John 15:1-10, which speaks of believers?

In the Johannine passage, there are references to those who are common branches of a single vine plant, the vine being Jesus.  In verse 2, there is reference to “Every branch in” Christ that does not bear fruit being taken away (cut out?), without any reference to their final disposition.

In verse 6, there is a reference to the one (branch) which “[D]oes not abide in” Christ, being cast out and burned (destroyed?  Cf. 1st Corinthians 3:9-15[xi]) in the fire.

○          It is the similarity of language and image between the Matthean and Johannine passages (lack of fruit, thrown into fire) that give the impression of a believer being, in the end, lost.  But that impression is not necessarily correct.

First.  John 15:2 does not address the ultimate disposition of the fruitless believer.  The “taken away” could simply refer to the physical loss of life (cf. 1st Corinthians 5, re: the incestuous church member[xii]); or, to the loss of communion and peace.

Second.  John 15:6, regarding the one who does not abide in Christ, does not address the reason why he does not.  In light of the many passages which speak directly of perseverance in salvation, this passage need not be interpreted as speaking of a believer falling away, i.e., not abiding, but may instead be seen as one who never was a branch of the same vine.  A vine branch amongst the Vine’s branches, but not of the same Vine.

○          The Johannine passage then, because it does not necessarily require that the non-abiding branch of verse 6 represent a believer, is inconclusive, and therefore, should not be used to advance any doctrine of “insecurity” for genuine believers.

●          Conclusion:

This passage does not teach anything at all regarding the subject of “Eternal Security” or the lack thereof.  The “trees” are to (national) Israel, as the wheat and tares are to the visible church.  Membership in either does not constitute salvation i.e., being a genuine, as contrasted with professing believer.  Compare Romans 9:5ff[xiii], re: How not all Israelites (according to the flesh) being the “Israel of God.”  There are both good and bad trees in the orchard that is “national Israel.”  Externally they seem to be the same, but inside, they are not.

 

            TWO AND ONLY TWO

●          Over and over and over again, the Scriptures tell us there are only two possible destinies for men: Heaven or hell; barn or burn.

●          As stated elsewhere, God does not repeat Himself just because He likes to hear the sound of His own voice.  No.  God repeats Himself to emphasize the importance of something; and the more often something is repeated, the more important it is for us to pay attention.

●          Some of the additional passages which teach that there are but two final ends, two types of people are the following:

Matthew 7:13-14————————-    Wide Gate/Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:24-27————————-    Wise/Foolish Builders

Matthew 12:30—————————-   With/Against Christ

Matthew 13:38—————————-   Sons of God/Sons of the Devil

Matthew 13:40-43———————–     Burn/Shine

Matthew 25:1-13————————-    In/Out

●          The above (see related notes) are those found only in Matthew[xiv].  There are a number of other similar passages in Scripture (some repeating Matthew) which also teach the principle that there are only two destinies possible, not one, not three or more, two.  There is no Purgatory, no reincarnation, and no mandatory heaven for all.

●          See also, 1st Corinthians 1:18[xv]; Exodus 8:23 (and note to same: “God’s Sovereignty in Election.”).[xvi]

 

3:13-14 Our Need

●          No matter how holy or dedicated a life we may lead, when compared to that of Jesus, “[A]ll our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)[xvii].

●          John the Baptist, who was dedicated from the womb to the Lord’s service, saw in Jesus, someone whose life far outshone his own.  Moreover, he saw this before Jesus even began His ministry – v14.

3:15      His Example

●          Jesus did not need to be baptized for repentance of sin; He had none.  Yet, He did submit to baptism as an example for us of submission to God.

3:16-17 The Trinity

●          The three Persons of the Godhead are present here, interacting together with one another: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  See also, Mark1:9-11 (and note)[xviii]; Luke 3:22 (and note)[xix].

 

END NOTES:


[i] Romans 11:29; 2nd Corinthians 7:10

Romans 11:29 NKJV

(29)  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:29 KJV+

(29)  ForG1063 theG3588 giftsG5486 andG2532 callingG2821 of GodG2316 are without repentance.G278

Romans 11:29 GNT-TR+

(29)  αμεταμεληταG278 A-NPN  γαρG1063 CONJ  ταG3588 T-NPN  χαρισματαG5486 N-NPN  καιG2532 CONJ  ηG3588 T-NSF  κλησιςG2821 N-NSF  τουG3588 T-GSM  θεουG2316 N-GSM 

 

2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV

(10)  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 KJV+

(10)  ForG1063 godlyG2596 G2316 sorrowG3077 workethG2716 repentanceG3341 toG1519 salvationG4991 not to be repented of:G278 butG1161 theG3588 sorrowG3077 of theG3588 worldG2889 workethG2716 death.G2288

(10)  ηG3588 T-NSF  γαρG1063 CONJ  καταG2596 PREP  θεονG2316 N-ASM  λυπηG3077 N-NSF  μετανοιανG3341 N-ASF  ειςG1519 PREP  σωτηριανG4991 N-ASF  αμεταμελητονG278 A-ASF  κατεργαζεταιG2716 V-PNI-3S  ηG3588 T-NSF  δεG1161 CONJ  τουG3588 T-GSM  κοσμουG2889 N-GSM  λυπηG3077 N-NSF  θανατονG2288 N-ASM  κατεργαζεταιG2716 V-PNI-3S

[ii] G3338 (Meyer, 1769)

μεταμέλλομαι

metamellomai

Total KJV Occurrences: 6

repent, 3

2nd Corinthians 7:8 (2), Hebrews 7:21

repented, 3

Matthew 21:29, Matthew 21:32, Matthew 27:3

 

[iii] G3340 (Meyer, 1769)

μετανοέω

metanoeō

Total KJV Occurrences: 34

repent, 21

Matthew3:2 (2), Matthew4:17, Mark  1:15, Mark  6:12, Luke 13:3, Luke 13:5, Luke 16:30, Luke 17:3-4 (2), Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22, Acts 17:30, Acts 26:20, Revelations 2:5 (2), Revelations 2:16, Revelations 2:21-22 (2), Revelations 3:3, Revelations 3:19

repented, 11

Matthew11:19-21 (3), Matthew12:41, Luke 10:13, Luke 11:32, 2nd Corinthians 12:21, Revelations 2:21, Revelations 9:20-21 (2), Revelations 16:9, Revelations 16:11

repenteth, 2

Luke 15:7, Luke 15:10

 

[iv] G3341 (Meyer, 1769)

μετάνοια

metanoia

Total KJV Occurrences: 24

repentance, 24

Matthew3:8, Matthew3:11, Matthew9:13, Mark  1:4, Mark  2:17, Luke 3:3, Luke 3:8, Luke 5:32, Luke 15:7, Luke 24:47, Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:24, Acts 19:4, Acts 20:21, Acts 26:20, Romans 2:4, 2nd Corinthians 7:9-10 (2), 2nd Timothy 2:25, Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 6:6, Hebrews 12:17, 2nd Peter 3:9

 

[v] Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; John 3:3

Mark 1:15

(15)  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 10:9

(9)  And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

John 3:3

(3)  Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 

[vi] Isaiah 40:3

(3)  The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

 

[vii] Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38

Mark 7:4

(4)  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

Luke 11:38

(38)  When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.

 

[viii] Ezekiel 37:1-14

(1)  The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

(2)  Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.

(3)  And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”

(4)  Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

(5)  Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.

(6)  I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ‘ “

(7)  So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.

(8)  Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

(9)  Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ “

(10)  So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

(11)  Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’

(12)  Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

(13)  Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.

(14)  I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ “

 

[ix] John 15:1-10

(1)  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

(2)  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

(3)  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

(4)  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

(5)  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

(6)  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

(7)  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

(8)  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

(9)  “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

(10)  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 

15:1-10 ABIDING IN CHRIST

•             “Abide in Me” says the Lord Jesus Christ (v4).

•             9 times in these verses, Jesus directly addresses our need to abide, remain in Him.  He does so in exhortation, and in admonition or warning.

•             v4 – The command to abide in Him is coupled with a warning of inability to produce fruit unless one does abide in Him (see Fruit, following).

•             v5 – Here we have a dual abiding – the Believer in Him and Him in the Believer.  The result of such a relationship being “much fruit.”

•             v6 – Here we have a very strong warning, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out… burned.”

•             v7 – Presents a conditional aspect of prayer.  See Prayer, following.

•             vv9-10 – The final 3 exhortations Jesus puts in relation to love.  This is parallel to what Jesus had said earlier (John 14:15-24 and related notes below).  Again Jesus equates obedience “keep my commandments” with “love.”

 

FRUIT

•             What is the fruit of which Jesus speaks in these verses?  Is it converts to Christ or Christianity as is popularly taught today?  Or is it something else?

•             It is something else and this can be seen by comparing Scripture with Scripture where one finds that “fruit” in a Believer’s life is the “fruit of the Spirit” which is described in Galatians 5:22-23 which corresponds to verses 2-6 here which speak of the fruit of abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in the Believer.  This is especially so as the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ are one and the same; see John 14:18 and note below.

•             Nowhere is the fruit of the Believer described in terms of “converts to the faith.”  On the other hand, converts are described as the work of God – 1st Corinthians 3:5-8 describes evangelism in agricultural terms and it is God who gives the increase, where believers are portrayed as gardeners.  This image corresponds in turn to that given by Jesus in passages such as Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2-3, etc., where clearly, souls are the harvest to be brought in and believers the workers who are to bring it in.  But again, notice that the “harvest,” i.e., ready to be brought in “fruit” is not produced by the workers but merely brought into the barn.

•             Comparing passages such as John 15:1-6 here with Galatians 5:22-23 and others such as Matthew 3:7-8; 7:17-19; 12:33; Ephesians 5:9; Hebrews 12:11, etc., one sees that the fruit that should be produced in the life of a believer is not “converts” but rather, righteousness, holiness, the very life of Christ.

 

PRAYER

•             Note in v7 the conditional nature of answered prayer:

1.            Abiding in Christ and,

2.            Christ’s Word abiding in you.

•             One of the main aspects of abiding in Christ is union; a spiritual unity of mind and purpose.  Scripture shows us this in Christ’s own repeated references to His own being in the Father (cf. 14:10-11; 17:21) combined with His statements of doing only those works which He saw His Father do (5:19; 8:38) what His Father sent Him to do, (5:36), what His Father willed for Him to do (Matthew 26:39-42), which works are themselves evidence of the unity He proclaimed to have with the Father (10:25, 32).

•             Without this union, the promise of receiving what one asks for are not in effect.  That does not mean one will not receive what one asks, but without that abiding, without that obedience, there is no promise, no guarantee.

•             Additionally, this dual abiding will have a particular impact on what one does ask for – namely, one will ask according to the Father’s will as unity with God produces change in what a person desires.  This is the second part – Christ’s Word abiding in you, changing your heart and therefore the desires of it, cf. Psalms 119:9, 11; Ezekiel 36:26-27.

 

John 15:15-24

(15)  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

(16)  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

(17)  These things I command you, that you love one another.

(18)  “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

(19)  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

(20)  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

(21)  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

(22)  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

(23)  He who hates Me hates My Father also.

(24)  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.

 

15:24     UNIQUE MIRACLES

•             Adapted from “Notes: Unclassified” MS pp. 21-22, written 9-15-05.

•             Jesus’ own statement about the uniqueness of the miracles He performed is clear, they were miracles “which no one else did.” (NASB, 1988)

This is in contrast to many other super [or not] natural signs and wonders performed either by the devil and his followers or simply by the power of suggestion.  Compare Exodus Chapters 7-8 where the Egyptian magicians performed the same first 3 miracles of Moses, rod to snake, water to blood, and frogs.

•             Jesus’ miracles over nature and sickness were also unique.  No “faith healer” past or present [with the exception of the Twelve Apostles] has ever performed the types of miracles Jesus performed, neither in quantity or quality.  Compare:

1.            Matthew 8:2 Healing – leprosy immediately.

2.            Matthew 9:20 healing – a hemorrhaging woman.

3.            Matthew 9:27 healing – a “withered” hand.

4.            Matthew 12:22 healing – a demon possessed deaf-mute.

5.            Matthew 20:30 healing – two blind men.

6.            Mark 7:31 healing – a deaf-mute.

7.            Mark 8:22 healing – a blind man.

8.            Luke 22:51 healing – by restoring a severed ear.

9.            John 5:1 healing – a long time cripple.

10.          John 9:1 healing –a man born blind.

11.          John 11:43 healing – death itself, raising a man who had been dead for 4 days!

The above are not all the miracles of Jesus; they are only those that in no way can be attributed to fakery or to the healing of psychosomatic illness or by power of suggestion (as is done today by using placebos, i.e., sugar pills.

•             In today’s age of televangelists who allegedly heal many people, not one documented case exists of a genuine, verifiable “miraculous” cure of a “genuine” physical illness, e.g., deformities [birth defects or resulting from accidents] blindness, etc.

 

John 14:18

(18)  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

 

14:18     THE SPIRIT OF GOD/CHRIST

•             Here we have another indication of the unity of the godhead.  Having just promised to send the “Helper,” the “Holy Spirit” cf. v26 and following, He then goes on to say, “I will … come to you.”

Granted this promise by the Lord Jesus Christ is not conclusive proof by itself of any specific unity between Christ and the Spirit.  However, when compared with other passages that clearly connect the Holy Spirit with God [the Father] and/or with Christ, it

 

[x] Revelation 20:15

(15)  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

20:14-14              THE SECOND DEATH

Death and Hades and all whose names are not in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire, the “second death.”

[xi] 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

(9)  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.

(10)  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

(11)  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(12)  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

(13)  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

(14)  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

(15)  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

 

[xii] 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

(1)  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife!

(2)  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

(3)  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.

(4)  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

(5)  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

 

[xiii] Romans 9:6-8

(6)  But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,

(7)  nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED.”

(8)  That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

 

9:6-9      BIOLOGICAL VS. SPIRITUAL

•             “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…”

•             This statement by Paul negating mere physical descent as a factor in salvation parallels what God revealed through Moses in Genesis 24:36 in which Isaac, as the child of the promise (cf. Genesis 18:10) is the one who inherits all that Abraham had.  Likewise, it is the spiritual children of God, those whom God has chosen, who will inherit eternal life.

 

[xiv]

Matthew 7:13-14————————-             Wide Gate/Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:24-27————————-             Wise/Foolish Builders

Matthew 12:30—————————-            With/Against Christ

Matthew 13:38—————————-            Sons of God/Sons of the Devil

Matthew 13:40-43———————–             Burn/Shine

Matthew 25:1-13————————-             In/Out

Matthew 7:13-14

(13)  “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

(14)  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 

7:13-14 TWO WAYS

●             Two ways!  There are only 2.  Two ways; two gates; two kinds; two destinies.

●             Two ways/gates – broad, by which many go; narrow, by which few go.  The way to God; the way to condemnation, cf. John 14:6

●             Two kinds (of people), sheep, and goats, spiritually alive and spiritually dead.  See also note to Matthew 3:12 preceding.

●             Two destinies/futures – eternal life and blessing, or death and cursing, cf. Deuteronomy 30:19.

               NARROW/DIFFICULT

●             In verse 14, the Greek term translated “narrow” (KJV, NASB, NV, 1599 GSB) is the term τεθλιμμενη, from Strong’s #2346, θλίβω, which is translated “narrow” only once.  Elsewhere, in the A.V., it is translated as “afflict” 3xs, “trouble” 4xs, “throng,” “suffer,” “tribulation” 1x each.  In the NKJV and the HCSB, it is rendered “difficult,” and in the NRSV, “hard.”

●             Tom Schaff, in his commentary on this verse, notes that it is the “way” that is being acted upon, that is to say, “the way is being afflicted.”  He then compares this with Jesus’ declaration that He is the way, cf. John 14:6, which then changes the focus from teaching that the way itself is difficult or that believers will have difficulty in the way (it is and they will, as is taught elsewhere), but rather, this teaches that it is through the affliction of Christ (the Way) that salvation is found and so, many do not find salvation because of their unbelief in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  The A.B. supports this idea, translating verse 14 as follows:

<< But the gate is narrow (contracted k by pressure) and the way is straightened and compressed that leads to life, and few there are who find it.  [Deuteronomy 30:19; Jeremiah 21:8]… k Alexander Souter, Pocket Lexicon.  >>

 

Matthew 7:24-27

(24)  “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

(25)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

(26)  “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

(27)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

 

7:24-27 WISE OR FOOLISH

●             The wise man heeds the word of God; the foolish man does not.

 

Matthew 12:30

(30)  He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

 

12:30     TWO WAYS

●             You are with Him or against Him, whether by active or passive actions.  Cf. Matthew 3:12; 7:13 and related notes above.

 

               JESUS; GUILTY OF A “THINKING ERROR”?

●             According to today’s “psycho-babblers,” Jesus is guilty here of committing what they call a “Thinking Error;” the so-called error of “polarized” or “black or white” thinking.  They say that there is no such thing as only two and only two ways, i.e., for or against, when it comes to interpersonal relations/dynamics.  According to the psycho-babblers, such “all or nothing” thinking, as described here, is a thinking error, something that needs to be corrected, not believed.  With Paul, I say, let God be true and everyman a liar.

●             This type of thinking, e.g., “always”, “never,” “everybody,” etc., is also referred to as “over generalization.”

●             See also, Topical Notes, “Psycho-[Heresy]-logy.”

 

Matthew 13:38

(38)  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

 

Matthew 13:40-43

(40)  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.

(41)  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

(42)  and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

(43)  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

 

13:38-43              TWO ONLY

●             Once again, Jesus teaches that there are only two kinds of people with only two possible destinies:

(1)          Sons of heaven (i.e., God), and sons of the wicked one (i.e., the Devil).

(2)          Shine with righteousness, or burn in fire.

 

Matthew 25:1-13

(1)  “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

(2)  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

(3)  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,

(4)  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

(5)  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

(6)  “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’

(7)  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

(8)  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

(9)  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

(10)  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

(11)  “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’

(12)  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

(13)  “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

 

25:1-13 PARABLE TO THE CHURCH

•             In this parable, told to His disciples, Jesus gives a warning not only to them, but to us in the Church today:  Be ready!

•             This parable is, in reality, to and about the Church.  The ten virgins represent organized Christianity, i.e., the visible church.  Five of the virgins represent the invisible Church, that is, those real Christians within the organized/visible church.  The other five represent those who are Christians in name only.

 

[xv] 1 Corinthians 1:18

(18)  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 

 

[xvi] Exodus 8:23

(23)  I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be.” ‘ “

 

8:23       GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN ELECTION

•             By making a distinction between His people and the Egyptians, God is doing two things:

1.            He is exercising His sovereignty over mankind in election of one people over another

2.            He is teaching the spiritual truth that there are in fact only two kinds of people in the world – God’s people and the rest; saved/unsaved, elect/non-elect, sheep/goats, children of God/children of the devil.

•             See also Matthew 3:12 and note – “Two and Only Two.”

 

[xvii] Isaiah 64:6

(6)  But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

 

64:6       FILTHY RAGS

  • ALL our Righteousnesses, “all,” our “Righteousnesses,” plural, the best of the best that we can do on our own is nothing but filthy, disgusting, bloody, vile, putrid rags in His sight.  They are less than useless.  Oh, and for the record, Isaiah was speaking of the rags used before the days of modern tampons and/or feminine pads, of the rags used to bind the often gangrenous sores of lepers; today’s equivalent to the “filthy rags” of Isaiah would be “used” tampons.

 

[xviii] Mark 1:9-11

(9)  It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

(10)  And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.

(11)  Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

1:9-11    JESUS’ BAPTISM – WHY?

•             Why was Jesus Baptized if He was without sin?

If we compare Matthew’s account (Matthew 3:13-17) we find that Jesus answered John the Baptist’s very same question by saying, “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”  (Matthew 3:15).  Now John obviously knew what Jesus meant by that because he then proceeded to baptize Jesus.  But for us today, especially those of us of a “Gentile” (i.e., non-Jewish) background; it still begs the question, why?

The answer lies in the Old Testament; specifically in Leviticus, chapter 8, verse 6, the consecration of Aaron and his sons, as priests (cf. Exodus 20:1ff; 40:1-15) to serve the Lord as the representatives of the people.  – Note the role of priests was to act as “representatives of the people” not “representatives of God.”

•             Christ’s baptism is the fulfillment of this Old Testament type or shadow.  As Aaron and his sons’ consecrations as priests began with their ceremonial washing, so too with Christ; at the beginning of His ministry (at the age of 30, in conformance with the Law, see Numbers 4) Christ was baptized (ceremonially washed) and anointed by the Holy Spirit (cf.  Luke 4:18), this also in fulfillment of the Old Testament type (cf. Leviticus 8:10-12).  Thus, as our High Priest (cf. Hebrews 4:14) He fulfilled all righteousness.

Trinity

•             At Jesus’ baptism, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present together.  Compare Matthew 3:16-17 and note; Luke 3:22.

Exodus 29:1-35

(1)  “And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests: Take one young bull and two rams without blemish,

….

(35)  “Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall consecrate them. (Ellipsis added for brevity.

 

Luke 4:18

(18)  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

 

Leviticus 8:10-12

(10)  Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.

(11)  He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them.

(12)   And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.

 

Hebrews 4:14

(14)  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

 

[xix] Luke 3:22

(22)  And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”.

 

3:22       THE TRINITY PRESENT

●             All three Persons of the Godhead were present at Jesus’ baptism; the Father, speaking from heaven, the Son in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove.

●             This negates the heresy of modalism, that God is a trinity in mode not persons; that is to say, that there is one God who manifests in three different “modes” or “forms” but there is no distinction between them, the “modes” appearing or operating one at a time.

 

A copy of Chapter 3 of Matthew’s Gospel can be read by opening this link. 

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%203&version=NKJV

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One thought on “Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 3

  1. Oso frutos:referido a los frutos de oso-madroños,frutos otoñales? O simbológicos:El Oso y el Madroño-uno de sus frutos preferidos que por su exceso produce algo parecido a una borrachera-….Oso -también significa mucho o muy en Euskera ejemp.Oso ondo=muy bien.

    O Usufructos…No se la traducción literal significa frutos de un trabajo realizado ejemp.Plantar un árbol y recoger los usufructos-sus frutos tras la espera.

    Un saludo Michael.

    Like

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