Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
A river that had never been navigable, flowing into a sea that had never known a port? A river almost equal in length to our own Thames, but with no great city gathered upon its banks, and winding through no grand or picturesque scenery Such was the river of God, of which the Hebrew psalmist sung; the sacred river of Old Testament story, upon which Lot, the wandering emigrant, once lifted up his eyes; which Jacob, returning from exile, crossed with his staff, and over which had passed the descendants of the patriarch's twelve sons — a mighty nation, emancipated, and brought from afar, to inherit the land. Since then, along its shores, the tide of many a momentous battle had rolled; its waters had washed the leper clean; and among its pink oleanders and yellow marigolds, prophets had lingered in meditation, or listened at midnight to messages from heaven that made their skin creep. It was while standing on its brink that Elijah, the chief of an illustrious line, had been swept up in the chariot of the whirlwind; and by the sound of its waves, David, the prince of kings, had both thundered in victorious fight, and wept in misery. But now, at last, there is a new thing — a surprising thing. At one of the upper fords of this ancient river, the Redeemer of the world appears: not working marvellous works, or drawing crowds around Him by the magic of His gracious words, but meekly applying to receive at the hands of the reforming preacher of the day, who had been pronouncing the nation morally unclean, and calling it to repentance — a most humiliating rite; a rite which was understood to express the recipient's conviction of sin, and his need of purification.
(N. R. Wood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,