1In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” 3For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

make the way of the Lord ready!

Make his paths straight!”

4Now John himself wore clothing made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him. 6They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Therefore produce fruit worthy of repentance! 9Don’t think to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.

11“I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14But John would have hindered him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?”

15But Jesus, answering, said to him, “Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.

16Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. 17Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”


Word study | Matt 3:2 | Steve Stanley

Heaven (Gk. οὐρανός, ouranos). (10:21; Matt 3:2, Acts 2:34; 4:2, Rom 1:18; Col 1:16; 1 Thess 4:16; Heb 1:10, Rev 5:13) Strong’s 3772

The term “heaven” in the NT is used in a variety of ways, referring to the sky or the part of creation above the earth, the dwelling place of God and the angels, the destiny of believers and it is even used as a circumlocution or substitute term for God. To speak of a reward in heaven, as in Mark 10:21, is to set attention on the spiritual realm, the afterlife, one’s eternal destiny and the presence of God. In this verse, “heaven” refers to the dwelling place of God and the destiny of believers. This rich man claimed to be a perfect follower of the law, but misses Jesus’ point when He says, “no one is good except God.” By asking him to sell all his property, Jesus is attempting to help him see that he is not quite as good or impressive as he might think. The rich man should not have evaluated and defined himself by his earthly existence, but by heaven. As much as he might consider himself a success in earthly terms, the better questions for the rich man are: How successful am I now in the eyes of heaven? How successful will I prove to be upon receiving my heavenly reward? Will I enjoy a heavenly arrival at all?