Messianic complex

John 1:6-8, 19-28

John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth. The synoptic Gospels all say so, and the kerygma in Acts connects the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with that baptism. But although Mark seems to find it quite right that Jesus should have been among those who heeded John’s preaching, all the other evangelists seem discomfited by the suggestion that Jesus was somehow a disciple of this other preacher.

In Matthew’s account, it is John himself who raises the issue and makes clear that he knows who is greater: “I ought to be the one baptized by you.” Luke provides the story in which John is destined from before birth to be the prophet for his younger cousin. Matthew has Jesus explaining the baptism as a “fulfilling of all righteousness,” and Luke describes the baptism as an occasion of Jesus’ solidarity with others and prayerful relationship to God.


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