And were baptized of him in the Jordan, confessing their sins (Matthew 3:6).
After Matthew finishes telling us the story of Jesus’ young life in Nazareth, the author describes a stir that erupted among the Jewish leadership. A desert nomad they called “John the Baptist” was crying out in the wilderness that people have to repent because the Kingdom of God is near and there’s going to be trouble in the nation if you don’t. So many people were going down from Jerusalem to the Jordan River to meet John, that the religious authorities in the city felt threatened.
The Jordan River is best suited to accommodate the masses who were moved by the radical preaching of John. Though the exact location is disputed, Matthew seems to favor a site closer to Jerusalem, Judea and Peraea (“the region round about Jordan”), as do Mark (1:5) and Luke (3:3).
The important thing to understand is that this region, which extends over the eastern slopes of the Judean mountains...
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