Mat 03:01-04 v.2 John the Baptist “Repent … Prepare … Make …”

There are no imperatives spoken by Jesus in Matthew 3:1-4. But there are 3 imperatives from John the Baptist to consider. Can we infer commands for us from this context? Use the questions below to consider this.


Mat 3:1  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

Mat 3:2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mat 3:3  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Mat 3:4  Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

GREEK VERBS:  2 imperative verbs are present.

Mat 3:2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

V-PMA-2P = Verb – Tense: Present/Mood: Imperative/Voice: Active – Person: 2nd Person Plural

3340 [e]
Μετανοεῖτε  :

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

V-AMA-2S = Verb – Tense: Aorist/Mood: Imperative/Voice: Active – Person: 2nd Person Singular

2090 [e]




4160 [e]




S. What does it say?

O. What does it say that I need to obey?

W. Who needs to hear this?

Mat 03:2  “Repentfor the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

S. God’s servants always call us to repentance.
O. We need to repent.
W. Those who are arrogant and think that they have no need for repentance.

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

S. We have the task of preparing the way for Jesus to accomplish his task, and changing our world to facilitate his task.

O. How could we prepare the way of the Lord and facilitate his tasks?

W. Everyone!


How does “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” connect with repentance? Is this about repentance itself or the preaching of repentance?
John as “Nazirite” relevance?
John as fulfilling their expectations of a prophet? “Looking good”

What are the commands of Jesus Christ which we need to obey? In disciple-making, Jesus commanded the following in Matthew 28:20: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” What are the commands that we are to follow and teach others as identified by Jesus’ use of the imperative mood in the Greek?

This is an anchor post, the purpose of which is to begin a conversation. Please add value by sharing stories, personal experiences, quotes (with sources) and questions for discussion in the comments. (Some comments may be incorporated into the original post.)


All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A sermon was preached on this text:

Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent…” Mat 4:12-17

Last post review/revision: 8/11/18.

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