Born of Water: The baptism of John the Baptist, Part 1

BaptismofJesus2Price asked,

Were the disciples of Christ baptizing in the same manner as John the Baptist and his disciples ? If so, wasn’t that baptism just an outward expression of a repentance, changing of their ways ? Seems so. How else could baptism for salvation be augmented into the Old Law when Jesus said not one thing would be altered ? And, was this salvation only to those that were fortunate enough to hear this new teaching ?

Price,

The scriptures leave a lot of questions about John the Baptist (JTB) unanswered. And we usually come at JTB asking how it impacts the Plan of Salvation. We see baptism solely in terms of its effect on our individual salvation. This is, of course, a hugely important question, but it’s not the only question or the only point of John’s baptism — as I understand it.

I think there are several meanings of John’s baptism.

  • We know from Acts 19 as well as the Gospel passages that John’s baptism was “for repentance.” But repentance from what? To accomplish what? We’d like to say, “Repent of your sins,” but what sins were so severe in 30 AD or so that God needed to send a prophet to offer a path for forgiveness?
  • Two Gospels record that John’s baptism was “for the forgiveness of sins,” which is letter-for-letter the same as we read in Acts 2:38. “For” translates eis, most naturally meaning “into.”

(Mk. 1:4 ESV) John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

(Lk. 3:3 ESV) And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

The text speaks of “repentance for [into] the forgiveness of sins.” I think this refers not to some proto-Christian plan of salvation or a separate, new, brief dispensation, but to God’s promises made in Deu 30 relating to the end of Exile.

(Deut. 30:1-6 ESV) “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. 5 And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

Also Leviticus —

(Lev. 26:40-45 NAS) 40 ‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me — 41 I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies — or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. 43 ‘For the land shall be abandoned by them, and shall make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, shall be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes. 44 ‘Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. 45 ‘But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.'”

The Greek word translated “repent” is used in the OT (LXX) almost always of God. It didn’t become used of humans repenting of sin until intertestamental times. So it’s no surprise that the Torah doesn’t say “repent.” But the idea is plainly there.

JTB taught “repentance” in these terms —

(Lk. 3:9-14 ESV) “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”  11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”  13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”  14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” 

These are not new commands. John is teaching the ethical side of Torah, and so his emphasis is on concern for the poor and the oppressed. He teaches care for the poor and a refusal to abuse power — righteousness and justice — going back to God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 18:19).

Since JTB was preaching the coming of the Kingdom and Messiah, any Jew of that time and place would have thought of the end of Exile and God’s Torah promises. How do I enter the Kingdom? By returning to God in humility, confessing my iniquity, and seeking God’s favor.

The Jews saw “salvation” in terms of history and narrative. The great question for them was not “How do I go to heaven when I die?” but “How does Israel restore its relationship with God so that the nation will no longer be under the curse of Exile — and so the Kingdom will come?”

In other words, John’s ministry, while requiring individual repentance and baptism, spoke to the great national need to get right with God — and he would have been seen as preaching to the nation of Israel that the Kingdom is about to arrive and so it’s time for the nation to repent, as Moses taught.

Therefore, “forgiveness of sins” would be seen as a necessary step, not to go to heaven, but to bring about and to enter the Kingdom, as Exile was the punishment for their sins.

  • John baptized in the Jordan. This has deep symbolic meaning, including at least —

— John was clearly re-enacting the ministry of Elijah, and this is one of the places where we know Elijah was active. Elijah prophesied at the time of Ahab and Jezebel, a time when only a remnant of Israelites remained faithful to God. To emulate Elijah not only fulfills the Elijah prophecies but also declares the Jews to be in the same sinful state as they were in when Elijah preached — which ultimately led to the Assyrian conquest and the permanent end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. JTB appearing as Elijah was a warning that the Jews were in dire need of repentance.

— The Jordan River was the path from the wilderness into the Promised Land. To be baptized in the Jordan was to re-enact the renewal of God’s covenant as recorded in Deu and the entry into Canaan led by Joshua (which is the same Hebrew name as “Jesus”!) John’s baptism therefore was an act of re-covenanting — a national deed with individual implications.

  • Scholars are beginning to conclude the proselyte baptism predates JTB, and so John’s baptism would have been a very humbling act by a Jew. As JTB said, it’s not enough to be a descendant of Abraham. You must enter by repentance, not birthright. You have to re-enter rather than assuming you’re already there. In other words, you’re no better than a Gentile proselyte — and must accept that fact to truly repent.
  • John did not preach that the Kingdom had arrived but that it was imminent. Therefore, baptism and repentance weren’t for entry but to be ready to enter when the Messiah is revealed. It was an act of preparation.
  • The Jews engaged in ritual washings to remove ceremonial impurity. This had become much more important by the time of Jesus than pre-Babylonian Captivity. Most mikvehs (mikvehim) found by archaeologists post-date Nehemiah and Ezra. To be immersed would be to admit of ceremonial impurity and a resulting separation from God. For example, Jews had to be immersed before entering the Temple, although the Torah has no such command. The risk of accidental contamination was enough for the rabbis insist on an immersion.  Thus, the Kingdom is pictured by John as being like the Temple — making it the place where heaven and earth meet, where God truly dwells, and where God is worshiped.
  • The Essenes rejected the Temple as not complying with Torah, and so they substituted immersion for the sacrificial system. It was a means of gaining God’s forgiveness among that group — likely based on the OT Spirit and water passages, mixed with the mikveh practices of mainstream Judaism.

[to be continued]

 

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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12 Responses to Born of Water: The baptism of John the Baptist, Part 1

  1. Price Futrell says:

    I think it’s interesting that you suggest that the Jews saw immersion as something that they would humble themselves to do… An act of repentance… Perhaps that is why JTB was so adamant against the Pharisees who came out to witness or even perhaps “go through the motions” of baptism… They must have not been very repentant for JTB to deny them baptism and to speak of them in the way that he did. It does seem that from historical context that the “washings” were a symbol of cleansing from impurity… I can go with that. Besides, when Paul later speaks to those that had received John’s baptism they said they hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit…Of course it was before the new covenant was inaugurated…

    It does make one wonder what exactly Mark and Luke had in mind when they used “eis” to refer to forgiveness of sin in light of your suggestion that the baptism wasn’t for entry into the Kingdom but in preparation of the event… It seems that your comments regarding the historical and national view points of the Jews would suggest that it meant they wanted to communicate that baptism (at that point) was in anticipation of forgiveness of sin at some future date…

  2. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Price wrote,

    It does make one wonder what exactly Mark and Luke had in mind when they used “eis” to refer to forgiveness of sin in light of your suggestion that the baptism wasn’t for entry into the Kingdom but in preparation of the event… It seems that your comments regarding the historical and national view points of the Jews would suggest that it meant they wanted to communicate that baptism (at that point) was in anticipation of forgiveness of sin at some future date…

    I’ve not made myself clear. I think JTB’s baptism was into the forgiveness of sins, meaning forgiveness was received upon immersion. I just don’t think they immediately entered the Kingdom, as the Kingdom had not yet come. They gained forgiveness to be prepared to receive the Kingdom in the future.

    But the Kingdom would require faith in Jesus as Messiah — non-negotiably. Therefore, John’s baptism wasn’t a ticket into the Kingdom. It was, rather, preparation for the Kingdom.

    I think it did place the person into a state of grace — saved by faith — until Jesus was revealed as Messiah and faith required faith in Jesus.

    It’s quite unprovable, but it would seem likely that those humble enough to accept immersion by JTB and who were taught to expect the Messiah would almost always have come to faith in Jesus when he was revealed.

    So it’s not a step that was absolutely essential to salvation. Rather, it was preparation of the heart to be open to the Kingdom when it came. But this preparation provided forgiveness on the spot — but not regeneration or rebirth. There was no Spirit.

  3. Price Futrell says:

    @ Jay.. That would be remarkable if in fact the disciples of JTB could immerse someone to have their sins forgiven. Jesus said He was authorized to forgive sin and healed a person on the spot to confirm it. JTB never made any such claim nor did Paul refer to any forgiveness of sin in reference to his baptism. However Jesus did tell his disciples if they forgave anyone’s sin that the sin would be forgiven (John 20:23).. Is it possible that the sins that were forgiven were immediate instead of some ongoing forgiveness that we are privy to today ? If so, I might could accept that but it still seems odd that neither JTB himself nor Paul mention that JTB’s baptism actually forgave sin. But, what do I know.

  4. laymond says:

    So, does this mean that baptism, and the new covenant only apply to Jews, since non Jews were not included in the previous law. Or the exile.

  5. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Price,
    The text does refer to forgiveness of sins in reference to John’s baptism:

    Mark 1:4 – John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

  6. Price Futrell says:

    I think Jay address the forgiveness of sin thing regarding JTB’s immersion.. I can live with his explanation.. I was just pointing out that JTB HIMSELF never mentioned forgiveness of sin in relation to his baptism…nor did Paul who later referred to it.. Only Mark and Luke through “eis” which by now we all know has a variety of meanings… In fact it was JTB who made this remark….[Jhn 1:29 ESV] 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”…. Now that seems JTB was convinced that it was Jesus who forgave sins not what he was doing… but opinions vary.

  7. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Price wrote,

    That would be remarkable if in fact the disciples of JTB could immerse someone to have their sins forgiven.

    I don’t recall addressing the question of baptism by John’s disciples, but I think that’s likely the case. I take it as nearly axiomatic that all who come to God with faith, repentance, and trust (or in NT language, “faith”) will be accepted by him — from Abraham until now.

    If a disciple of JTB baptized someone for repentance in anticipation of the imminent coming of the Kingdom, then the baptized person clearly meets this standard. He is forgiven. Pre-Pentecost, he does not receive the Spirit, is not a new creation, is not regenerated, re-begotten (reborn), or yet a part of the Kingdom. But they are in the same state as the OT heroes listed in Heb 11 as saved by faith.

    Jesus said He was authorized to forgive sin and healed a person on the spot to confirm it.

    It’s not as though forgiveness was unavailable before Jesus began his earthly mission. Heb 11 and countless other passages demonstrate that forgiveness was available under the Law of Moses — and received by some. So being forgiven was hardly revolutionary.

    What was revolutionary was Jesus claiming the power to grant forgiveness himself. John baptized into the forgiveness of sins, but didn’t claim to be the person doing the forgiving. He baptized on behalf of God, who forgave. Jesus claimed to stand in the place of God.

    (Matt. 9:2-6 ESV) 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

    JohnTB wasn’t accused of blasphemy because he didn’t claim to be the one doing the forgiving.

    When a preacher baptizes a convert in church “for the forgiveness of sins” and announces afterwards that the person’s sins have been forgiven, he is not blaspheming. He is only announcing that God keeps his promises. And JTB and his disciples were in the same place.

    The forgiveness found in John’s baptism is the forgiveness promised by God in Lev 26 and Deu 30. John merely announced the person baptized to be among the penitent faithful as demonstrated by her humble submission to baptism at the prophet’s call.

    However Jesus did tell his disciples if they forgave anyone’s sin that the sin would be forgiven (John 20:23)..

    Most commentators read this as I do: that we are to announce that God is faithful to keep his promises to those who come to him with faith — not that we get to decide who to forgive other than in the indirect sense that our failure to evangelize is a decision to risk damnation for those we could have reached for Jesus.

    Is it possible that the sins that were forgiven were immediate instead of some ongoing forgiveness that we are privy to today ?

    A year or so ago, I would have said it was a one-time forgiveness in contrast to Christianity, which provides continuous forgiveness. But I have since realized that the promise given to Abraham applied to Israel as well the church. Abraham’s forgiveness was continuous or else it was worthless — but he could fall away.

    The difference is the Spirit.

    If so, I might could accept that but it still seems odd that neither JTB himself nor Paul mention that JTB’s baptism actually forgave sin.

    As quoted in the main post above, two of the Gospels say John baptized into the forgiveness of sins, including Luke – who quotes Peter saying exactly the same words in Acts 2:38. It’s no coincidence. But obviously there was something new in Acts 2 — and this was (a) the name of Jesus and (b) the Spirit — which are the two main themes of Peter’s sermon.

    As I’ve pointed out a few weeks ago, most of the Jews missed out on salvation — which is the point of Rom 9 – 11. Not having the Spirit did not make salvation impossible, but it meant that most Jews were damned.

    We think most were damned for rejecting Jesus, which I believe as well, but we imagine that they were all saved up to that point. But the signs are that most Jews were lost and in need of repentance to be saved — which is why God sent JTB and why the Jews remained in Exile — an exile that continues today.

    The same hardheartedness that made Jesus unbelievable to them meant they were already lost. Jesus came, not to damn the Jews, but to rescue them from damnation — as well as the destruction that would soon follow. They were like the Jews in the days of Jeremiah — only a few were faithful and most were not, and so God was about to impose the curses threatened in the Torah — severe curses indeed — not just damnation but loss of their city, their Temple, and their honor — defeat at the hands of pagan Romans, etc.

    After the resurrection, “faith” was redefined to mean faith in Jesus as Lord = YHWH. This is one of the key points of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. But this was not designed to make salvation harder but easier. After all, they’d SEEN Jesus. They’d seen the miracles. They’d heard his preaching. He came with a flurry of supernatural evidences comparable to God’s appearance atop Mt. Sinai.

    Faith should have been easy — but the Jews wanted a different kind of god. And so, at Mt. Sinai, they made a golden calf. At Pentecost, they sharpened their knives to kill Romans.

    3,000 died following the golden calf episode as punishment. 3,000 were saved at Pentecost. Despite the Jews’ unbelief, God used the faithful remnant to reverse the curse and the Exile and bring the Kingdom — and the Spirit.

    And by the power of the Spirit outpoured on the faithful, the Kingdom has grown into the billions. The Spirit matters — not in the sense of providing a continuous forgiveness otherwise impossible, but by being a Helper so that the faithful are far more likely to remain faithful by the power of God dwelling within them.

  8. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Price wrote,

    In fact it was JTB who made this remark….[Jhn 1:29 ESV] 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”…. Now that seems JTB was convinced that it was Jesus who forgave sins not what he was doing… but opinions vary.

    We learn from Hebrews that all forgiveness is by the power of the cross, going back to the beginning of time. So John was not inconsistent in baptizing for forgiveness even though Jesus would not die on the cross to take away the sins of the world until later. After all, Jesus himself declared sins forgiven before his death, and there are countless OT passages in which sins are forgiven. It’s just that all grace was granted in anticipation of Jesus’ sacrifice.

    Forgiveness happens in heaven, where God lives, outside of time as we experience time.

    (Heb. 9:15 ESV) 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

  9. dwight says:

    What I see is an attempt to pit scripture against itself. Jesus could forgive sins, but with the absence of Jesus, it was immersion or the cleansing of sins. Note we don’t see the apostles stepping into the role of forgiving sins as Jesus did.

  10. Larry Cheek says:

    I question this, “That would be remarkable if in fact the disciples of JTB could immerse someone to have their sins forgiven.” and “If a disciple of JTB baptized someone for repentance in anticipation of the imminent coming of the Kingdom, then the baptized person clearly meets this standard.”
    I do not find a record that any of JTB followers baptizing anyone. Not even a clue that any one of them believed that they should or could.

    It would not seem unreasonable to me to understand that, a messenger sent directly from God and His Word (Jesus) to the earth to prepare the (WAY) for Christ to begin his mission on earth to have the same authority from Christ to forgive sins as Christ did prior to his sacrifice. Do you notice the message that JTB taught? I do not read that he went about declaring The Messiah is coming, The Messiah is coming! Or that the Kingdom is coming,Kingdom is coming. His message is almost totally contained in the following.

    Mat 3:1-2 ESV In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (2) “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
    Mat 3:5-6 ESV Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, (6) and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
    Mat 3:7-12 ESV But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (9) And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (10) Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (11) “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

    Mar 1:4-5 ESV John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (5) And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

    Luk 3:3 ESV And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

    He did not claim any power to forgive sins, but proclaimed that power was in the baptism that he was administering. Oh yes, many will say that the baptism of JTB was not forgiving sins, but I don’t believe that they are properly discerning the text. They are not diagramming the sentence to discover the subject, verb and the prepositional phrases which refer to the subject. Even the simplest diagramming will not allow (repentance) or (forgiveness) to become the subject of the communication. Baptism is the subject and (of repentance) is describing a prerequisite that is required prior to submitting to the baptism. Don’t believe me, listen to John, Mat 3:8 ESV above, he was not just baptizing with preparation in mind, repentance was to proceed the baptism.

    We should also notice that John had been baptizing approximately 6 months prior to meeting Jesus. His mission was well known by many of the Jews, there were many coming to be baptized. By his own admission it looks like many were coming who had no idea what was happening. Notice Mark and Luke for the size of the area he was drawing followers from.

    Baptizing was the center of his teaching, because that was what he was sent to do.
    Joh 1:31-34 ESV I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” (32) And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. (33) I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ (34) And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
    Comparing what John said here with what he was commissioned to do for Jesus. He was the first to bring Jews into the (Way) which Jesus continued building upon, and those who were baptized by JTB were in the (Way) prior to God adding to the church daily those who were being saved in Acts as he was establishing his church.
    Mat 3:3 ESV For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the (way) of the Lord; make his paths straight.'”
    Mat 11:10 ESV This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your (way) before you.’
    Mar 1:2-3 ESV As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your (way), (3) the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the (way) of the Lord, make his paths straight,'”
    Luk 3:4 ESV As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the (way) of the Lord, make his paths straight.
    Joh 1:23 ESV He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the (way) of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
    Notice what Jesus said and how many times the followers of Christ were referred to as (The Way) later in scriptures.
    Joh 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am the (way), and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    Act 9:2 ESV and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the (Way), men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
    Act 19:9 ESV But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the (Way) before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.
    Act 19:23 ESV About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the (Way).
    Act 22:4 ESV I persecuted this (Way) to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
    Act 24:14 ESV But this I confess to you, that according to the (Way), which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,

    Baptism was the way that JTB was sent to prepare for Jesus.

  11. laymond says:

    Larry said: “It would not seem unreasonable to me to understand that, a messenger sent directly from God and His Word (Jesus) to the earth to prepare the (WAY) for Christ to begin his mission on earth to have the same authority from Christ to forgive sins as Christ did prior to his sacrifice. ”

    Larry, are you now saying that JTB was deity, as well as Jesus. And are you saying that Jesus participated in the decision to “send” JTB ? question; Who was first to speak the words of God, JTB or Jesus.? this discussion gets weirder, and weirder.

  12. Dwight says:

    We often discount JTB and his work, but his work was teaching about Christ (preparing the way) and baptizing for repentance (turning). This would be in line with what baptism was used for prior to JTB in proselyzing from gentile to Jew, but here it would be from Jew to Christ.
    Mar 1:4-5 ESV John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
    I don’t think John was baptizing for the forgiveness of sins, but for turning to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. John didn’t have the power and Christ hadn’t died yet for the world to set up the New testament and until then they were still required to live as Jews, not Christians, which is what Jesus himself did. Even in Jesus own teaching of the kingdom, as in the beatitudes, he set up positions of the heart for change.
    John was priming the people for Jesus and what would come.
    I would assume that JTB still taught about Jesus and baptized people even after Jesus had come. It is what he did. John also did some commentary work/preaching against Herod/Herodias marriage.

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