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.

They seized Jesus (Mk 14:46-14:46)

“Then they laid hands

On Jesus.

They seized him.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἐπέβαλαν τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῷ καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτόν.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:50, but here in Mark, there was no conversation like in Matthew and the other gospel writers.  In Luke, chapter 22:48-53, Jesus reprimanded Judas for betraying him, before he was seized.  In John, chapter 18:4-11, there was a long dialogue of Jesus with those who came to get him, before he was arrested.  Mark said that Jesus did not respond to Judas at all.  They just put their hands upon him or grabbed Jesus (οἱ δὲ ἐπέβαλαν τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῷ).  Then they seized or arrested Jesus without any kind of conversation at all (καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτόν).

Judas had a signal (Mk 14:44-14:44)

“Now the betrayer

Had given them

A sign.

He said.

‘The one I will kiss

Is the man.

Seize him!

Lead him away

Under guard!’”

 

δεδώκει δὲ ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν σύσσημον αὐτοῖς λέγων Ὃν ἂν φιλήσω αὐτός ἐστιν· κρατήσατε αὐτὸν καὶ ἀπάγετε ἀσφαλῶς.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:48.  In Luke, chapter 22:47, there is an abbreviated version of only Judas kissing Jesus.  In John, chapter 18:2-9, there is long dialogue of Jesus with the crowd, with no Judas kiss at all.  It is interesting to note that John left this out in his otherwise well detailed description.  Mark said that this betrayer or deliverer of Jesus, Judas, had given the crowd a sign (δεδώκει δὲ ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν σύσσημον αὐτοῖς).  Judas had told them that the one that he kissed (λέγων Ὃν ἂν φιλήσω) would be the man to seize or hold (αὐτός ἐστιν·κρατήσατε αὐτὸν).  They were to lead him away securely under guard (καὶ ἀπάγετε ἀσφαλῶς).  Judas had this all set up, so that there would be no mistaken identity, as regards Jesus.

John the Baptizer (Mk 1:4-1:4)

“John the Baptizer

Appeared

In the wilderness.

He was proclaiming

A baptism

Of repentance

For the forgiveness of sins.”

 

ἐγένετο Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν

 

There is something similar, but not quite the same in all 4 gospel stories.  Matthew, chapter 3:1-2, called John the Baptist (βαπτιστὴς) not the Baptizer (ὁ βαπτίζων), but John was in the wilderness, like here, calling for repentance.  In Matthew, John also warned the people that the kingdom of heaven was near.  Luke, chapter 3:2:3, is actually closer to Mark, since he used the exact same words about John in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  John, chapter l:19-29, had a long dialogue with John and the priests and Levites about what he was doing.  Mark has this simple statement that John the Baptizer, or the one baptizing, appeared (ἐγένετο Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτίζων) in the wilderness or desert (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ).  How and what he did before or after did not matter.  He was there proclaiming or preaching a baptism of repentance, a life change, or metanoia (κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας) to have sins or faults forgiven or wiped away (ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν).  John tied this repentant change of life style baptism with the forgiving of sins or wiping away of past faults, since he was calling for repentance.  John and Jesus are linked in some ways like Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One is superior to the other but the other plays an indispensable role.