Luke 3:15-17. And as all the people were in expectation, &c. The austerity of John’s life, the important subjects of his sermons, the fervency of his exhortations, and the freedom, impartiality, and courage with which he rebuked all classes of sinners, raised him very high in the esteem of the generality of people; insomuch that many began to be of opinion he might be the Messiah. And possibly the extraordinary events which had occurred thirty years before, namely, the vision which his father Zacharias had seen in the temple, the coming of the eastern sages to Jerusalem, the prophecies of Simeon, and the testimony of Anna, which doubtless would be fresh in the memories of many of them, and would all be applied to John, might strengthen that opinion. And, if John had aspired after grandeur, he might for a while have possessed honours greater than any of mankind could justly claim. But he was too upright and pious to assume a character which he had no right to, and therefore he declared plainly that he was not the Messiah, but one of the lowest of his servants; one sent to prepare his way before him. At the same time, to give his hearers a just idea of his Master’s dignity, he described the authority and efficacy of his ministry. John answered, saying, I indeed baptize you with water, &c. I am sent from God, and the message I bring is, that all ranks and orders of persons must repent. Withal, to impress this doctrine more deeply on their minds, I address their senses by baptizing all my disciples with water. But one mightier than I cometh There is an infinitely greater prophet than I am, ready to appear, namely, the Messiah; the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose For whom I am not worthy to perform the meanest servile office. He shall baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire His baptism shall be unspeakably more efficacious than mine, for he will bestow on you the gifts and graces of his Holy Spirit. Whose fan is in his hand See this and the preceding verse explained at large, in the notes on Matthew 3:11-12.
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