They did not know (Lk 20:7-20:7)

“Thus,

They answered

That they did not know

Where it came from.”

 

καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν μὴ εἰδέναι πόθεν.

 

Luke indicated that the Jewish Jerusalem religious leaders answered (καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν) that they did not know where (μὴ εἰδέναι πόθεν) the baptism of John the Baptist came from.  This same response to Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:27, and Mark, chapter 11:33, almost word for word to each other.  Mark said that the chief priests, the Scribes, and the elders responded to Jesus (καὶ ἀποκριθέντες τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They said that they did not know (λέγουσιν Οὐκ οἴδαμεν) the value, origins, or power of the baptism of John the Baptist.  Matthew said that the chief priests and elders responded to Jesus (καὶ ἀποκριθέντες τῷ Ἰησοῦ εἶπαν) that they did not know (Οὐκ οἴδαμεν) the origins or power of the baptism of John the Baptist.  This non-response was better than an aggravating response.  Have you ever pleaded ignorance when you were too embarrassed to answer a question?

John was a prophet (Lk 20:6-20:6)

“But if we say.

‘Of human origin,

All the people

Will stone us.

They are convinced

That John

Was a prophet.’”

 

ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, ὁ λαὸς ἅπας καταλιθάσει ἡμᾶς· πεπεισμένος γάρ ἐστιν Ἰωάνην προφήτην εἶναι.

 

Luke indicated that the Jerusalem Jewish leaders thought that if they said the baptism of John was of human origin (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων), all the people would stone them (ὁ λαὸς ἅπας καταλιθάσει ἡμᾶς), because the people were convinced or persuaded (πεπεισμένος) that John was a prophet (γάρ ἐστιν Ἰωάνην προφήτην εἶναι).  Once again, this is a unique Luke usage of the term καταλιθάσει, to cast stones, stone down, stone to death, or overwhelm with stones, that is not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This question about the value of the baptism of John the Baptist can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:26, and Mark, chapter 11:32, almost word for word.  Mark said that these Jewish Jerusalem leaders did not want to say that this baptism of John was from human origins, man-made (ἀλλὰ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων).  They were afraid of the crowds of people (ἐφοβοῦντο τὸν ὄχλον), since they all regarded John the Baptist as a true prophet (ἅπαντες γὰρ εἶχον τὸν Ἰωάνην ὄντως ὅτι προφήτης ἦν).  Matthew indicated that if these leaders said that this baptism of John was from human origins (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων), they were afraid of the crowds of people (φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον), since they all regarded John the Baptist as a prophet (φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον).  There was no mention of being stoned in Mark and Matthew, only in Luke.  Nevertheless, these leaders were stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Have you ever been unable to answer a question?

Pharisees and lawyers rejected John (Lk 7:30-7:30)

“By refusing

To be baptized

By John,

The Pharisees

And the lawyers

Rejected

God’s purpose

For themselves.”

 

οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ νομικοὶ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἠθέτησαν εἰς ἑαυτούς, μὴ βαπτισθέντες ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke uniquely said that the Pharisees (οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι) and the lawyers (καὶ οἱ νομικοὶ) refused to be baptized by John the Baptist (μὴ βαπτισθέντες ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ).  Thus, only they had rejected God’s purpose for themselves (τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἠθέτησαν εἰς ἑαυτούς).  In other words, the Pharisees and the other followers of the law had rejected John and his baptism.  Thus, they had rejected God’s plan for themselves.  None of the other gospel writers mentioned this.  Clearly, this was an anti-Pharisee statement.  What group of people are you against?

The Holy Spirit and Jesus (Lk 3:22-3:22)

“The Holy Spirit

Descended upon Jesus

In a bodily form,

Like a dove.”

 

καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,

 

The role of the Holy Spirit after the baptism of Jesus was very important. Matthew, chapter 3:16, Mark, chapter 1:10, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost the same as here.  Luke said that the Holy Spirit (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον) descended (καὶ καταβῆναι) upon Jesus (ἐπ’ αὐτόν) in a bodily form (σωματικῷ εἴδει), like a dove (ὡς περιστερὰν).  John did not mention a dove, but he said that John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus.  In Matthew and Mark, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit as a dove descend on him.  This all took place after the baptism itself.   Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus had the power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan River.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing to become “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.  Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

Jesus praying (Lk 3:21-3:21)

“When Jesus also

Had been baptized,

He was praying.

Heaven was opened.”

 

καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος καὶ προσευχομένου ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν,

 

The four gospel stories show what happened to Jesus after he had been baptized.  Matthew, chapter 3:16, and Mark, chapter 1:10, are almost the same as here.  John, chapter 1:32, had John the Baptist explaining what was happening, but there was no mention of heaven opening or Jesus at prayer.  Luke said that when Jesus had been baptized (καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος), just as he was coming up out of the water, he was praying (καὶ προσευχομένου).  Heaven was opened (ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν).  There is no mention of Jesus seeing the heavens open as Mark indicated.  The idea of heaven opening up or breaking open was also found among the major Israelite prophets Isaiah, chapter 63:19, and Ezekiel, chapter 1:1.  All this happened as Jesus came up from the water, not during the baptism itself.  The idea of Jesus praying was unique to Luke and one of his favorite themes.  However, Luke did not have a description of John the Baptist, nor any discussion of whether John should baptize Jesus, as in Mark and Matthew.

Preaching a baptism of repentance (Lk 3:3-3:3)

“John went

Into all the region

Around the Jordan River.

He was proclaiming

A baptism

Of repentance

For the forgiveness

Of sins.”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν,

 

This section of Luke is very similar to all the other 4 gospel stories.  Luke explicitly said that John went into all the region around the Jordan River (καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν περίχωρον τοῦ Ἰορδάνου).  Mark, chapter 1:4, had the simple statement that John the Baptizer, appeared in the wilderness or desert, without mentioning the Jordan River.  However, Luke was actually closer to Mark, since he used the exact same words about John’s preaching.  He indicated that John was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν).  Matthew, chapter 3:2, said that the preaching message of John was very simple.  They should repent, turn their lives around, with a profound metanoia, a change of their spirit.  The equivalent about repentance, metanoia, or the change of heart can also be found in both Mark and Luke.  Matthew had John say that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, coming near.  The other canonical gospel writers did not use this term “kingdom of heaven.”  John, chapter l:19-29, had a long dialogue with John and the priests and Levites about what he was doing.  How and what John did before or after this preaching in the wilderness did not matter.  He was there proclaiming a baptism of repentance, a life change, or a metanoia, to have sins or faults forgiven or wiped away.

Believe or be condemned (Mk 16:16-16:16)

“The one who believes

And is baptized

Will be saved.

But the one

Who does not believe

Will be condemned!”

 

ὁ πιστεύσας καὶ βαπτισθεὶς σωθήσεται, ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας κατακριθήσεται.

 

This longer addition of Mark, is like the addition in Matthew, chapter 28:19-20.  Once again, there was an emphasis on baptism that was not mentioned prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  This Mark addition said that the one who believed (ὁ πιστεύσας) and was baptized (καὶ βαπτισθεὶς) would be saved (σωθήσεται).  However, anyone who did not believe (ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας) would be condemned (κατακριθήσεται).  Thus, this recommendation also brought a condemnation.  Belief and baptism were important.