“1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ 4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Baptism is mentioned in this Gospel for a very specific reason. Since Matthew was writing to Jewish people, both saved and unsaved, he mentions baptism knowing they were very familiar with ritual cleansing. Though his Gospel was specifically written TO Jewish people, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read it, of course. We as non-Jews, can learn many things. The most important thing about reading the Gospels is to learn about Jesus!
(For more on this topic of who wrote what to whom, you may follow the link below:
Dregs Of Society.
Amazingly, this is the same Matthew who, as a tax collector, literally renounced both God and country. That’s why they were considered to be lowest of the low in that society. They were labeled by their countrymen as traitors to their nation which, technically, they were
Each one of the writers of the gospels have a specific focus in their writing. There is no better place to see a clear picture of Jesus in the flesh than in those four books. To see more of Jesus in the Gospels and learn some amazing things, you may follow the link below:
In Jewish culture, the confession of sins, ritual baptism, cleansing, consecrating oneself to God, and spiritual purification via the waters of baptism, or “Mikveh,” was a centuries-old tradition. It was an integral part of their religious life.
Matthew, of course, would have been intimately acquainted with these customs, which is why the Holy Spirit inspired him to write the way he did. This teaching of repentance and baptism perfectly resonated with his Jewish audience. Wealthier homes most often had their own Mikveh built right in. The pool of Siloám is an example of a naturally occurring Mikveh.
Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
The name, “Siloám,” means “Sent One,” as you read in part one. The Hebrew word, “Mikveh,” comes from the root word, “Qavah,” which means, “Wait,” as in waiting for something (or Someone?🤔).
The word in scripture first occurs in Genesis 1:10 “…the gathering of the waters He called,’Seas.’” You see, the first and greatest flood, or “Mikveh,” of all was the one in the very beginning. Back then, the earth was without form and void, in complete chaos, and completely covered with water. The Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the face of the deep. Out of chaos, God brought order. He caused the dry land to rise up out of the waters and then created everything on it.
The Jewish custom of immersion was, as I said, usually done in a Mikveh, which simply means “A pool where water has gathered.” The Mikveh even today is an essential part of every Synagogue as well as part of the Hebrew Temples of old. It was not intended for physical cleaning. That would be done beforehand.
The terms “Purity and impurity” are actually inadequate translations of the Hebrew. They lend more to a physical rather than a spiritual sense to the process. It was strictly for the purpose of spiritual cleansing in a purification ceremony.
Occasions For Immersion.
Immersion was conducted for various occasions:
1. Women after childbirth or menstruation.
2. A bride before her wedding.
3. Priests (in the Temple) before divine service.
4. Men on the eve of Yom Kippur; also optionally, before Shabbat.
5. For converts to Judaism.
6. In the preparation of a dead person for burial.
Notice that the Mikveh in the picture above has seven steps down to the pool. This is a picture of Jesus, who perfectly humbled Himself when He came down from Heaven. Seven is the number of perfection or completion. It brings to mind the story of Jonah, whose name means, “Dove,” a picture of the Holy Spirit, Who descended in full measure on Jesus after He was baptized. No one was more full of the Holy Spirit than our Lord Jesus.
In the book of Jonah, the Holy Spirit records that Jonah went down seven times, a picture of Jesus’ perfectly humbling Himself. He went
1. Down to Joppa.
2. He found a ship that was going down to Tarshish.
3. He went down into the ship.
4. He went down into the lowest part of the ship.
5. He went down into the sea.
6. He went down into the belly of a great fish. That’s six times.
The seventh is actually the first, because He came down from heaven.
For more on the meaning of numbers, you may follow the link below to a series on that topic:
The Torah does not say much about immersion or the Mikveh, but it appears to have become an essential part of Jewish religious life by Temple times. Leviticus 12:5 talks of washing for purification for women, and Leviticus 14: 8-9 of purification for leprosy, a typology of sin in the Bible.
(For more on the topic of Leprosy, you may follow the link below:
Entering The Tent Of Meeting.
Exodus 29: 4-5 gives instruction for the consecrating of the priests: “Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, ……..”;
Exodus 30:20 describes how the priest had to cleanse himself before entering the Mishkan, or tent of meeting: “Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die.” A word search on the word “Bathe” will produce many verses, such as Leviticus 15:13. “When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean.”
Greatest Mikveh Of All.
All of this brings to mind the greatest gathering of waters ever known: The flood of Noah’s day. During that deluge, the whole earth was immersed in water, as if in a Mikveh, which cleansed it of all evil. When Noah and his family left the ark, they quite literally stepped out into a brand new world onto no condemnation ground. God even put a rainbow in the sky proclaiming His eternal promise of, “No more judgment!”
Symbolic Of Baptism.
That’s pretty much what baptism symbolizes: That we died with Christ, were buried with Him in death, and were raised to newness of life. We came up out of the water, showing those who were witnesses that we now stand on no-curse ground, cleansed of all sin…..and we have a rainbow over our heads…..no more condemnation…..FOREVER! HALLELUJAH!!!
(For more on that topic, you may follow the link below:
Thank you, Jesus! You are our Siloám AND our Mikveh!
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