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.

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Jesus came to John (Mt 3:13-3:13)

“Then Jesus

Came from Galilee

To John,

At the Jordan River,

To be baptized by him.”

 

Τότε παραγίνεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάνην τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

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 1:34.  Even many of the historical Jesus skeptics consider the fact that John the Baptist baptized Jesus to be a real historical episode.  Jesus now appeared (Τότε παραγίνεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on the scene for the first time.  He came from Galilee (ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας), where Matthew left him as a young child with his father Joseph.  Jesus came with a purpose, to see John the Baptist (πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάνην) at the Jordan River (ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην).  He wanted John the Baptist to baptize him (τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ).  John did not seek out Jesus, Jesus came to him.

Are the gospels biographies?

The gospels belong to the ancient genre of biography.  These ancient biographies were concerned with providing examples for readers to emulate, while preserving and promoting the subject’s reputation and memory.  Thus, they were about kerygma or preaching.  They were not biographies in the modern sense.  The biographies of Jesus are more like apocalyptic history, depicting Jesus as caught up in events near the end of time.  Despite this, scholars are confident that the gospels do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus.  There is no guarantee that the gospels are precisely historical in our modern sense of history.  These are faith documents, not eyewitness accounts.  Modern scholars are cautious of relying on the gospels uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public life of Jesus.