The disciples of John the Baptist (Lk 7:18-7:18)

“The disciples of John

Reported

All these things

To him.”

 

Καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν Ἰωάνει οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ περὶ πάντων τούτων.

 

Luke said that the disciples of John the Baptist (οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ) reported to John (Καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν Ἰωάνει) all these things (περὶ πάντων τούτων).  Matthew, chapter 11:2, had something similar.  John the Baptist heard about the works or deeds of Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah, while he was in a prison.  Clearly John still had a number of disciples, despite his imprisonment.  Here Luke does not explicitly mention that John was in prison, just that a few of his disciples reported back to John the Baptist about Jesus and his activities.  How do you learn about Jesus?

John and Herod (Lk 3:19-3:20)

“John had rebuked

Herod,

The tetrarch ruler,

Because of Herodias,

His brother’s wife.

John also rebuked

Herod

For all the other evil things

That he had done.

Herod added

To all these evil things,

When he locked up

John in prison.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,

προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ

 

Both Mark, chapter 6:14-17, and Matthew, chapter 14:1-5, have the imprisonment of John much later in their works, while Luke has it right here at the beginning of his gospel story.  Luke said that John had rebuked Herod Antipas, the tetrarch (ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ) of Galilee because of Herodias (περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος), his brother’s wife (τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ) and all the other evil things that Herod had done (καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,).  Herod added to all these evil things (προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν), when he locked up John in prison (κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ).  The Roman educated Herod, was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE, as a client region, in the Roman Empire.  This Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great.  He had built the capital city of Galilee Tiberias, since he was a favorite of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE).  Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee seized John the Baptist and put him in jail.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Philip, after he had divorced his first wife.  His first wife went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  Herod’s new wife was called Herodias.  John had called him out for this marriage with Herodias, his brother’s recently divorced wife.  John had told Herod that it was not lawful for him to have her as his wife.  Thus, Herod had John arrested and sent to prison.

John the Baptist in prison (Mt 11:2-11:2)

“In prison,

John heard

About the works

Of the Christ.

He sent word

By his disciples.”

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἰωάνης ἀκούσας ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, πέμψας διὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ

 

Now we are back to the question of John the Baptist.  Luke, chapter 7:18, has something similar.  John the Baptist heard (Ὁ δὲ Ἰωάνης ἀκούσας) about the works or deeds of Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah (τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Χριστοῦ), while he was in a prison (ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ).  Clearly John still had a number of disciples, despite his imprisonment.  Thus, he sent a few of his disciples (πέμψας διὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ).  Luke said that there were two, but there is no number here.  John may have been in prison in Machaerus, about 5 miles east of the Dead Sea.  Notice that this is the first time that Jesus is called the Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ).