What does Matthew 3:5 mean?
ESV: Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,
NIV: People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.
NASB: At that time Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the region around the Jordan;
CSB: Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were going out to him,
NLT: People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John.
KJV: Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
Verse Commentary:
John the Baptist became a well-known figure in Israel, known for one clear message: Repent from your sins and be baptized because the coming of the Messiah is near (Matthew 3:1–2). The fact that he preached his message in an area of wilderness didn't keep the crowds away. People traveled from Jerusalem and all around the region to listen to him and to be baptized by him.

Of course, almost nobody knew that John would identify Jesus as the long-promised Messiah of Israel. They also did not know that the kingdom Jesus would establish would come first to the hearts of those who follow Him and only much later would take the form of a political kingdom on earth.
Verse Context:
Matthew 3:1–12 introduces John the Baptist, preaching and baptizing in the wilderness of Judea near the Jordan River. John, dressed in camel hair and a leather belt in the style of the prophet Elijah, has a simple message: repent because the kingdom of heaven is coming. Crowds come from miles around, including even Israel's religious leaders. John calls those leaders vipers and warns that Messiah will bring the wrath of God against the unrepentant. The Messiah will baptize the repentant with the Holy Spirit and fire. The trees that do not bear fruit, spiritually speaking, will be cut down and burned.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew introduces John the Baptist as a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3. He is the voice crying in the wilderness as he prepares the way for the Lord. John calls the crowds who travel to hear him to repent from their sins. The kingdom of heaven is close! He also warns of God's judgment, specifically on Israel's spiritually-barren religious leaders. Finally, the Messiah he has been speaking of arrives and insists that John baptize Him. When he does, the heavens break open, the Holy Spirit comes to rest on Jesus, and the voice of God the Father says Jesus is His Son and that He is pleased with Him.
Chapter Context:
Matthew's story of Jesus jumps forward several decades from the moment when His family settled in Nazareth. This passage finds John the Baptist preaching about repentance in the wilderness and baptizing those who are willing. Crowds come from all around to hear John preach in the look and style of Elijah, including Israel's religious leaders. John warns them of God's coming judgment on those who do not truly repent. Jesus arrives and insists that John baptize Him. As Jesus emerges from the water, the heavens break open, the Holy Spirit descends to rest on Jesus in dove-like form, and the voice of God declares that Jesus is His Son. After this baptism, Jesus will be led into the desert to be tempted by Satan, in chapter 4.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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