The preaching of John the Baptist (Mk 1:7-1:7)

“John proclaimed.

‘The one who is

More powerful

Than I,

Is coming after me.

I am not worthy

To stoop down

And untie

The tong

Of his sandals.’”

 

καὶ ἐκήρυσσεν λέγων Ἔρχεται ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου ὀπίσω μου, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς κύψας λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ.

 

Mark and Matthew, chapter 3:11, are similar in their exposition of the preaching of John the Baptist.  However, there was no mention of a baptism of repentance here as in Matthew.  Also, Matthew had John unfit to carry the sandal rather than untie the sandal.  Luke, chapter 3:16-17, had John the Baptist not preaching, but responding to questions about whether he was the Messiah.  Luke, as well as John, chapter 1:27, also had John speak about being unfit to untie the tong or strap of his sandals.  John the Baptist was anticipating a messianic figure greater than himself.  He was the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, so that sometimes he was also identified with the prophet Elijah.  Mark said that John proclaimed (καὶ ἐκήρυσσεν λέγων) with a messianic tone that one more powerful than him was coming after him (Ἔρχεται ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου ὀπίσω μου).  He was not worthy or fit to stoop down (οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς κύψας) and untie the tong or the strap of his sandals (λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ).  John saw himself as subservient to the Messiah to come.

Advertisements

Elijah and John the Baptist (Mt 17:12-17:13)

“‘But I tell you!

Elijah has already come.

They did not recognize him.

But they did to him

Whatever they pleased.

Thus,

The Son of Man

Is about to suffer

At their hands.’

Then the disciples

Understood

That he was speaking

To them

About John the Baptist.”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι Ἡλείας ἤδη ἦλθεν, καὶ οὐκ ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτὸν, ἀλλ’ ἐποίησαν ἐν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἠθέλησαν· οὕτως καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μέλλει πάσχειν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν.

τότε συνῆκαν οἱ μαθηταὶ ὅτι περὶ Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς.

 

The comparison of John the Baptist and Elijah can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:12-13, but without the remark about the disciples understanding it.  Jesus told his disciples in a solemn pronouncement (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν).  He said that Elijah had already come (ὅτι Ἡλείας ἤδη ἦλθεν), but they did not recognize him (καὶ οὐκ ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτὸν).  They did to him whatever they pleased or wanted to do (ἀλλ’ ἐποίησαν ἐν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἠθέλησαν).  Thus, the Son of Man was also about to suffer at their hands (οὕτως καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μέλλει πάσχειν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν.).  Then the disciples understood (τότε συνῆκαν οἱ μαθηταὶ) that Jesus was talking to them about John the Baptist (ὅτι περὶ Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  The murdered John the Baptist was the new precursor prophet Elijah.

The powerful one to come (Mt 3:11-3:11)

“I baptize you

With water

For repentance.

But one,

Who is more powerful

Than I,

Is coming after me.

I am not worthy

To carry his sandals.

He will baptize you

With the Holy Spirit,

And with fire.”

 

ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμᾶς βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν· ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἰσχυρότερός μού ἐστιν, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς τὰ ὑποδήματα βαστάσαι· αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί·

 

The wording here is the same as in Mark, chapter 1:7-8 and Luke, chapter 3:16-17, indicating a common source. However, in Luke, John the Baptist was responding to questions about whether he was the Messiah. Instead, John said that he was anticipating a messianic figure greater than himself. He was the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, so that sometimes he was also identified with the prophet Elijah. John the Baptist was clear in this utterance (ἐγὼ μὲν). He baptized in water for repentance (βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν). However, after him (ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω μου), there would be a messianic one more powerful than him (ἐρχόμενος ἰσχυρότερός μού ἐστιν,). He felt that he was not fit or worthy to carry his sandals (οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς τὰ ὑποδήματα βαστάσαι). This one to come was going to baptize them (αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει) in the Holy Spirit (ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ) and fire (καὶ πυρί). Mark, chapter 1:8, also said that the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit, did not mention any fire. This is the second mention of the Holy Spirit in Matthew since he was also the originator of Jesus in the womb of Mary. Now he was going to use purifying fire in the baptismal washing.

The redeemer (Job 19:25-19:27)

“I know that my redeemer lives.

Then at the last he will stand upon the earth.

After my skin has been thus destroyed,

Then in my flesh I shall see God.

I shall see him on my side.

My eyes shall behold.

Not another shall behold.

My heart faints within me!”

This passage has a different translation in the Greek, Syriac, and Latin. It is often referred to as a precursor of Jesus the redeemer, or the Messianic savior who came to earth. Redeemer could also mean defender or vindicator. The Hebrew word of ‘goel’ or redeemer means a member of the family who avenged your honor, despite debts. Job believed that someone would help him. Whether this is God or not is not clear. However, even more controversial is the idea that his flesh will see God after his skin has been destroyed. Is this a hint at a resurrection, since throughout this work he talked about Sheol as a dead end place? His eyes will see even though he was faint.