John did baptize in the wilderness
Of Judea, ( Matthew 3:1 ) , where he first appeared as a preacher; and is the same wilderness Isaiah has respect to in the above prophecy, ( Isaiah 40:3 ) . The words are best rendered in the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; "John was in the wilderness, baptizing and preaching the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins": according to which, the account of the Baptist begins with his name, John; describes the place where he was where he made his first appearance, and continued in, the wilderness; which was not a wild uninhabited place and without people, but had many cities, towns, and villages in it; and also declares his work and ministry there, which was preaching and baptizing: for though baptizing is here put before preaching, yet certain it is, that he first came preaching in these parts; and there baptized such, to whom his preaching was made useful. Baptism is here called, the
baptism of repentance:
because John required repentance antecedent to it, and administered it upon profession of repentance, and as an open testification of it; and this
or unto the remission of sins:
not for the obtaining the remission of sins, as if either repentance, or baptism, were the causes of pardon of sin; but the sense is, that John preached that men should repent of their sins, and believe in Christ, who was to come; and upon their repentance and faith, be baptized; in which ordinance, they might be led to a fresh view of the free and full forgiveness of their sins, through Christ; whose blood was to be shed for many, to obtain it: see ( Acts 2:38 ) .