Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Annas being high priest, and Caiaphas — There could be but one high priest, strictly speaking, at once. Annas was the high priest at that time, and Caiaphas his sagan or deputy.
 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
Every valley shall be filled, … — That is, every hinderance shall be removed.
 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
The salvation of God — The Saviour, the Messiah.
 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Say not within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father — That is, trust not in your being members of the visible Church, or in any external privileges whatsoever: for God now requires a change of heart; and that without delay.
 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
He answereth — It is not properly John, but the Holy Ghost, who teaches us in the following answers, how to come ourselves, and how to instruct other penitent sinners to come to Christ, that he may give them rest. The sum of all this is, Cease to do evil, learn to do well. These are the fruits worthy of repentance.
 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
He shut up John — This circumstance, though it happened after, is here mentioned before our Lord's baptism, that his history (that of John being concluded) may then follow without any interruption.
 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
Jesus praying, the heaven was opened — It is observable, that the three voices from heaven, see Luke 9:29,35; John 12:28; by which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced either while he was praying, or quickly after it. Matthew 3:13; Mark 1:9.
 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
And Jesus was — John's beginning was computed by the years of princes: our Saviour's by the years of his own life, as a more august era.
About thirty years of age — He did not now enter upon his thirtieth year (as the common translation would induce one to think) but he now entered on his public ministry: being of such an age as the Mosaic law required. Our great Master attained not, as it seems, to the conclusion of his thirty-fourth year. Yet what glorious achievements did he accomplish within those narrow limits of time! Happy that servant, who, with any proportionable zeal, despatches the great business of life; and so much the more happy, if his sun go down at noon. For the space that is taken from the labours of time, shall be added to the rewards of eternity.
The son of Heli — That is, the son-in-law: for Heli was the father of Mary. So St. Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph (recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families.
 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Adam the son of God — That is, whatever the sons of Adam receive from their human parents, Adam received immediately from God, except sin and misery.