The value of the baptism of John (Mt 21:25-21:26)

“‘Did the baptism of John

Come from heaven

Or was it of human origin?’

They argued

With one another.

‘If we say,

‘From heaven.’

He will say to us,

‘Why then did you not

Believe him?’

But if we say.

‘From human origins,’

We are afraid

Of the crowd.

All regard John

As a prophet.’”

 

τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάνου πόθεν ἦν; ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων; οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο ἐν ἑαυτοῖς λέγοντες· Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, ἐρεῖ ἡμῖν Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ;

ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον· φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον.

 

This question about John the Baptist and the value of his baptism can be found in Mark, chapter 11:30-32, and Luke, chapter 20:4-6, almost word for word.  Jesus asked this one question.  Did the baptism of John the Baptist come from heaven or was it of human man-made origin (τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάνου πόθεν ἦν; ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)?  Then the high priests and the elders argued with each other (οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο ἐν ἑαυτοῖς).  If they said that his baptism was from heaven (λέγοντες· Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ,), then Jesus would ask them why they had not believed in John the Baptist (ἐρεῖ ἡμῖν Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ)?  If they said that this baptism of John was from human origins (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων), they were afraid of the crowds of people (φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον) since they all regarded John the Baptist as a prophet (φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον).  They were stuck between a rock and a hard place.