on Matthew 3 :17
In whom I am well pleased - Εν ω ενδακησα in whom I have delighted - though it is supposed that the past tense is here used for the present: but see the note on Matthew 17:5. By this voice, and overshadowing of the Spirit, the mission of the Lord Jesus was publicly and solemnly accredited; God intimating that he had before delighted in him: the law, in all its ordinances, having pointed him out, for they could not be pleasing to God, but as they were fulfilled in, and showed forth, the Son of man, till, he came.
As the office of a herald is frequently alluded to in this chapter, and also in various other parts of the New Testament, I think it best to give a full account of it here, especially as the office of the ministers of the Gospel is represented by it. Such persons can best apply the different correspondences between their own and the herald's office.
At the Olympic and Isthmian games, heralds were persons of the utmost consequence and importance. Their office was: -
1. To proclaim from a scaffold, or elevated place, the combat that was to be entered on.
2. To summon the Agonistae, or contenders, to make their appearance, and to announce their names.
3. To specify the prize for which they were to contend.
4. To admonish and animate, with appropriate discourses, the athletae, or combatants.
5. To set before them, and explain, the laws of the agones, or contenders; that they might see that even the conqueror could not receive the crown or prize, unless he had strove lawfully.
6. After the conflict was ended, to bring the business before the judges, and, according to their determination, to proclaim the victor.
7. To deliver the prize to the conqueror, and to put the crown on his head, in the presence of the assembly.
8. They were the persons who convoked all solemn and religious assemblies, and brought forth, and often slew, the sacrifices offered on those occasions.
9. They frequently called the attention of the people, during the sacrifices, to the subject of devotion, with hoc age! τουτο πραττε: mind what you are about, don't be idle; think of nothing else. See Plutarch in Coriolanus.
The office, and nearly the word itself, was in use among the ancient Babylonians, as appears from Daniel 3:4, where the Chaldee word כרוזא caroza, is rendered by the Septuagint κηρυξ kerux, and by our translation, very properly, herald. His business in the above place was to call an assembly of the people, for the purpose of public worship; to describe the object and nature of that worship, and the punishment to be inflicted on those who did not join in the worship, and properly assist in the solemnities of the occasion.
Daniel 3:4, is the only place in our translation, in which the word herald is used: but the word κηρυξ, used by St. Paul, 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11, and by St. Peter, 2 Peter 3:5, is found in the Septuagint, Genesis 41:43, as well as in Daniel 3:4, and the verb κηρυσσω is found in different places of that version, and in a great number of places in the New Testament.
on Matthew 3 :17
A voice from heaven - A voice from God. This was probably heard by all who were present. This voice, or sound, was repeated on the mount of transfiguration, Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:35-36; 2 Peter 1:17. It was also heard just before his death, and was then supposed by many to be thunder, John 12:25-30. It was a public declaration that Jesus was the Messiah.
My beloved Son - This is the title which God himself gave to Jesus. It denotes the nearness of his relation to God, and the love of God for him, Hebrews 1:2. It implies that he was equal with God, Hebrews 1:5-8; John 10:29-33; John 19:7. The term "Son" is expressive of love of the nearness of his relation to God, and of his dignity and equality with God.
I am well pleased - or, I am ever delighted. The language implies that he was constantly or uniformly well pleased with him; and in this solemn and public manner he expressed his approbation of him as the Redeemer of the world.
The baptism of Jesus has usually been regarded as a striking manifestation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or the doctrine that there are three Persons in the divine nature:
(1) there is the Person of "Jesus Christ," the Son of God, baptized in Jordan, elsewhere declared to be equal with God, John 10:30.
(2) the Holy Spirit descending in a bodily form upon the Saviour. The Holy Spirit is also equal with the Father, or is also God, Acts 5:3-4.
(3) the Father, addressing the Son, and declaring that He was well pleased with him.
It is impossible to explain this transaction consistently in any other way than by supposing that there are three equal Persons in the divine nature or essence, and that each of these sustains an important part in the work of redeeming people.
In the preaching of John the Baptist we are presented with an example of a faithful minister of God. Neither the wealth, the dignity, nor the power of his auditors deterred him from fearlessly declaring the truth respecting their character. He called things by their right names. He did not apologize for their sins. He set their transgressions fairly before them, and showed them faithfully and fearlessly what must be the consequence of a life of sin. So should all ministers of the Gospel preach. Rank, riches, and power should have nothing to do in shaping and gauging their ministry. In respectful terms, but without shrinking, all the truth of the Gospel must be spoken, or woe will follow the ambassador of Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:16.
In John we also have an example of humility. Blessed with great success, attended by the great and noble, and with nothing but principle to keep him from turning it to his advantage, he still kept himself out of view, and pointed to a far greater Personage at hand. So should every minister of Jesus, however successful, keep the Lamb of God in his eye, and be willing - nay, rejoice - to lay all his success and honors at Jesus' feet.
Everything about the work of Jesus was wonderful. No person had before come into the world under such circumstances. God would not have attended the commencement of his life with such wonderful events if it had not been of the greatest moment to our race, and if he had not possessed a dignity above all prophets, kings, and priests. His "name" was to be called "Wonderful, Councillor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace;" "of the increase of his government and peace" there was to be "no end;" "upon the throne of David and of his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice forever" Isaiah 9:6-7; and it was proper that a voice from heaven should declare that he was the long-promised prince and Saviour; that the angels should attend him, and the Holy Spirit signalize his baptism by his personal presence. And it is proper that we, for whom he came, should give to him our undivided affections, our time, our influence, our hearts, and our lives.
on Matthew 3 :17
3:17 And lo, a voice - We have here a glorious manifestation of the ever - blessed Trinity: the Father speaking from heaven, the Son spoken to, the Holy Ghost descending upon him. In whom I delight - What an encomium is this! How poor to this are all other kinds of praise! To he the pleasure, the delight of God, this is praise indeed: this is true glory: this is the highest, the brightest light, that virtue can appear in.