This present verse is the initial direct reference to baptism within the entire Word of God. By using the expression “In those days”, the Aposple Matthew is locating his account into it’s chronological framework. He is also informing us about time that had since passed, and was most probably giving his account to his readers a prolonged stretch after the dealings that he notes. In order to understand those days Matthew is informing his audience about, we will need to examine the preceding chapters.
In the beginning of his gospel, the Aposple Matthew calls it “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ” (Matthew 1v1). At this point Matthew states his intention - to demonstrate Jesus as a real person that lived at a precise stage, was born to specific parents, and had the ministry and standing of “Christ”, the anointed Messiah or Saviour. The remainder of the first chapter tells us about the ancestors of Jesus, and furthermore a concise sketch of how Mary got pregnant: “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1v18)
It is within chapter 2 that we start to catch sight of the precise events that Matthew uses to put his gospel into it's historical period. The historical events here include:
· Jesus was given birth to in Bethlehem (King David’s historical home) “in the days of Herod the king” (Matthew 2v1)
· Wise men came from the east headed for Jerusalem, wondering “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2v1-2)
· The wise men journeyed since, in their words, “we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2v2)
· Herod enquired of the wise men at what moment in time the star had appeared (Matthew 2v7) and discovered that it had been approximately 2 years previously (Matthew 2v16). It is feasible however that he overestimated in an attempt to make sure that the baby Jesus was killed, thinking that the star had actually appeared on His conception about 9 months earlier.
· Herod dispatched the order with the intention of every one of the children beneath the age of 2 in Bethlehem in addition to the whole of it's surrounding countryside should be murdered. This was his endeavor to make sure that exactly one newborn, Jesus, was additionally murdered. (Matthew 2v16)
· Following the visit of the wise men, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt in a hurry, as he had been warned in relation to Herod the king's plans by means of an angel. (Matthew 2v13-14)
· While Joseph, Mary and Jesus were living in Egypt, Herod died so Joseph was told to come back to Israel with “the young child”. (Matthew 2v19-20)
· When Herod died, his son Archelaus ruled Judaea instead. (Matthew 2v22)
Unmistakably, the aposple Matthew places the events during the life of the Lord Jesus Christ within the situation of who was king of Judaea, along with a number of of their historical actions. This would almost certainly locate the birth of the newborn child to within a small number of days or weeks of the order that Herod had given in order to have him and any further babies in and around Bethlehem murdered. It is likely that a few of Matthew’s readers had lost a newborn, brother or sister in this instance and may possibly link up the writing of Matthew straight to dealings inside their particular family unit. It was into these period in the reader's past that John the Baptist had arrived, preaching in addition to baptising.
John the Baptist was not teaching in the temple or synagogues, but in the backwoods. Conceivably he was not welcome in the temple for some reason - the most likely explanation was the preaching that he brought. For added confirmation of this, notice also v7 3.
Let’s see the message that he taught, which is set up within a few verses which follow on from the current one:
· Repentance was commanded to everyone (v2)
· The “kingdom of heaven” was at hand - just about to be exposed (v2)
· John the Baptist appreciated his personal office in the role of laying the foundations intended for the ministry of the Jesus, sowing the land, getting everything ready, and making His route a small amount less difficult. (v3)
Without a doubt, right from the beginning of the scriptural writings about baptism, repentance from sinful conduct was entwined inside the significance of baptism. This communication of repentance and baptism was laying the groundwork for every individual which heard the message for the imminent ministry of the Lord Jesus.
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All quotations from the Good News Bible unless otherwise indicated.
MJ Anderson writes on Baptism, and has also written a book studying each of the 91 verses of scripture about baptism. The book is called "Baptism's 91 Witnesses", and further information can be found at www.91witnesses.com
MJ Anderson also produces custom Bumper Stickers, Sticky Labels and Food and Drink stickers through his website at www.labels4me.co.uk
Natural Thyroid Treatments and articles at Natural Thyroid Treatment dot Org and Thyroid Booster dot Net
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