Jesus came to John to be baptized (Mk 1:9-1:9)

“In those days,

Jesus came

From Nazareth

Of Galilee.

He was baptized

By John

In the Jordan River.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάνου.

 

One concrete event, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus at the Jordan River, stands at the beginning of the public life of Jesus in all four of the canonical gospel accounts of Mark, chapter 1:9, Matthew, chapter 3:13, Luke, chapter 3:21, and John, chapter 1:32-34.  Even many of the historical Jesus skeptics consider the fact that John the Baptist baptized Jesus to be a real historical episode.  Mark said that in those days it came to pass (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις) that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee (ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River (καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάνου).  In this first appearance of Jesus, the first thing he did was submit to the baptism of John the Baptist.  Thus, he might have been a disciple of John.  Only Matthew and Mark indicate where he came from, although Matthew only mentioned Galilee and not Nazareth.  Jesus came with a purpose, to be baptized by John in the Jordan River.  John did not seek out Jesus.  Jesus came to him.  In Matthew, chapter 3:14-15, John was reluctant to baptize Jesus, but finally did.  There was no such discussion in any of the other gospel stories.

John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus

Although Matthew did not show the same relationship of Jesus and John the Baptist as cousins, as it was in Luke, chapter 1:36, he still has them as familiar to each other.  They were at a minimum, friends.  In this portrayal, Jesus came to John, not the other way around.  John was already an established preacher, baptizing in the Jordan River.  Did they have the same message or was it different?  In one sense, both John and Jesus wanted people to repent, since the kingdom of heaven was near.  However, there are no indications in the biblical texts that Jesus was baptizing people the way that John was doing it.  Thus, they might have been semi-co-workers without any formal relationship established, although John the Baptist would appear again in this gospel story of Matthew.  Clearly, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus at the Jordan River stands as the beginning of the public life of Jesus, both here and in the other three canonical gospel accounts of Mark, Luke, and John.  Jesus became someone special as “the anointed one,” “Χριστος,” “the Christ,” from this moment on.  Was there any particular self-realization on the part of Jesus here?  How did the disciples of these two men work with each other?  What was the reaction of Jesus to the post-baptismal event, when God, the Father, sent his Spirit, the dove, to empower Jesus, before he could begin his public ministry?  God clearly announced that Jesus was his beloved son.  With his prophetic divine vocation revealed, Jesus was ready to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  Jesus had come to proclaim his ethical judgment of righteousness during this messianic time when the fullness of the Holy Spirit would come to all the followers of Jesus.