January 18, 2005

Jesus and John the Baptist

I'm back but sleep deprived and have miles to go before I sleep. I'll check in later and try to catch up.



22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized.

23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized

24 -- John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.

25 Now a discussion about purification arose between John's disciples and a Jew.

26 They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him."

27 John answered, "No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.

28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.'

29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled.

30 He must increase, but I must decrease."

1 Comments:

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Larry said...

Thinking of the context in which our book was written there seems to be a suggestion here that the church(es) John addressed had undergone controversy between the followers of John the Baptist and of Jesus. Some scholars believe that this passage in John reflects that controversy occuring about the end of the 1st century.

The statement of John the B. that "He must increase, but I must decrease" has more significant metaphoric import. In Matthew 11:11 we read the words of Jesus:

"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

John the B and Jesus both are saying that living in the kingdom of God is a greater calling than John the Baptist had. He was pointing people to the one who would tell them about the kingdom of God; he was not living in it; it came along after his time.

We are living in it, at least potentially. (Jesus constantly tries to raise our self image onto his own level, as he does here in Matthew.)

 

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