The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The gospel goes by several names. There is the gospel of Jesus Christ or the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19, 1 Cor. 9:12, 2 Cor. 2:12, 9:13, 10:14, Gal. 1:7, Php. 1:27, 1 Th. 3:2). There is the gospel of God (Mark 1:14, Rom 1:1, 15:16, 2 Cor. 11:7, 1 Th. 2:2, 8, 9, 1 Pet. 4:17), gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim. 1:11), and the gospel of his Son (Rom 1:9). There is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Luke 16:16), and the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). These are different labels for the one and only gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). See entry for The Gospel.
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
(a) John the Baptist. The original word for baptist is a verb (baptizō), so a more accurate translation would be John the Baptizer. Although Matthew and Luke referred to John as John the Baptist (e.g., Matt. 3:1, 11:11, 14:2, 8, 16:14, 17:13, Luke 7:20, 33, 9:19), Mark consistently called John the Baptizer (e.g., Mark 6:14, 24-25, 8:28).
(b) Preaching. The original word (kerusso) means to herald as a public crier. This is one of three words that are commonly translated as “preaching” in the New Testament. See entry for Acts 5:42.
(c) A baptism of repentance. The ceremonial washing of hands was an old covenant ritual, but there was nothing that looked like water baptism. When John started baptizing people in the River Jordan, the religious leaders thought it was strange and refused to participate (Luke 7:30, John 1:25).
(d) Forgiveness. The original word (aphesis) for forgiveness is a noun that is sometimes translated as remission. It means a letting go or dismissal (see entry for Luke 24:47).
And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
Baptized. The original word implies total immersion. See entry for Baptism.
“I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
(a) Baptized… baptize. The original words imply total immersion. See entry for Baptism.
(b) Water… the Holy Spirit. Prior to Christ, John the Baptist baptized people in water as a prophetic act foreshadowing the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After Christ, the early church baptized people in water in response to what the Holy Spirit had done (e.g., Acts 10:47). John was looking forward; the Christians were looking back.
Although the scriptures mention several types of baptism, in reality there is only one baptism that saves (Eph. 4:5, 1 Pet. 3:21). That is the baptism done to every believer by the Holy Spirit when they first turn to the Lord in faith. The moment you came to Jesus, you were baptized or placed into his body by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12–13, Gal. 3:27). Every believer has been baptized or immersed into the body and death of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12–13, Gal. 3:27). Water baptism is an outward act testifying to this supernatural reality.
and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Beloved. The original word (agapetos) means dearly loved, esteemed, favorite and worthy of love. It is closely related to a verb (agapao) that means to be well pleased or fond of or contented. God the Father not only loves God the Son, but he is deeply fond of him and well-pleased with him (Matt. 12:18, 17:5, Mark 1:11, 9:7, 12:6, Luke 3:22, 9:35, 20:13, 2 Pet. 1:17).
This word also describes the believer who is in Christ. You are God’s beloved child. Your heavenly Father is fond of you. You are his esteemed favorite and he is well pleased with you.
All the epistle writers referred to believers as the beloved or dearly-loved children of God (see entry for Rom. 1:7).
And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
Tempted by Satan; see entry for Matt. 4:1.
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,
The gospel of God is synonymous with the gospel of Jesus (2 Th. 1:8) and the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24) because Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s grace (see entry for 1 Cor. 1:4).
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
(a) Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness.”
There is no connotation of sin or remorse in this word. To repent and believe is the same as “hear and believe” (Acts 15:7). See entry for Repentance.
(b) Believe in the gospel. In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to: receive Jesus (John 1:11-12, 5:43), receive the message of Jesus (John 17:8), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20). Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7). But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in the good news of Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).
(c) The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.
saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
The Holy One of God! Jesus is the Holy Son who comes from the Holy Father in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 17:11, Acts 10:38).
The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got a suggestion? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.