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pekoe
Apr 8th 2009, 04:58 PM
"And I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Spirit." Jn.1:33

"But John forbid Him saying, I have need to be baptized by You, but You come to me?" Mt.3:14

If John didn't know who the Messiah was until after he baptized Him, how could John know he needed to be baptized by Him?

Athanasius
Apr 8th 2009, 05:05 PM
"And I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Spirit." Jn.1:33

"But John forbid Him saying, I have need to be baptized by You, but You come to me?" Mt.3:14

If John didn't know who the Messiah was until after he baptized Him, how could John know he needed to be baptized by Him?

John 1:29-30 (NASB)
The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" This is He on behalf of whom I said, After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before Me.

Seems to me John knew.

pekoe
Apr 8th 2009, 05:11 PM
John 1:29-30 (NASB)
The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" This is He on behalf of whom I said, After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before Me.

Seems to me John knew.
John baptized Jesus prior to saying this.

Athanasius
Apr 8th 2009, 06:02 PM
Well, I've gotta get off to work so I won't be able to answer for a bit (though I look expectently for the answers of others). However upon looking at these two portions of scripture I will say two things. Firstly you're correct, John said that after baptizing Jesus. Secondly, the answer to this 'contradiction' is I think found in Jesus' declarative statements of the one coming after him. Anyway, will have to develop that later on.

markedward
Apr 8th 2009, 06:37 PM
When John said, "I did not know him", is it possible he just meant that he didn't know Jesus... as in... he hadn't met Jesus before, but he recognized him as the Messiah?

Similar to how I don't know the president, but I can recognize the guy when he shows up in private airplane and he's surrounded by black suits with sidearms and earpieces all wearing little US flag pins on their coats.

Besides, John had ye Holy Spirit to guide him.

Word of Light
Apr 9th 2009, 02:20 AM
When John said, "I did not know him", is it possible he just meant that he didn't know Jesus... as in... he hadn't met Jesus before, but he recognized him as the Messiah?

Similar to how I don't know the president, but I can recognize the guy when he shows up in private airplane and he's surrounded by black suits with sidearms and earpieces all wearing little US flag pins on their coats.

Besides, John had ye Holy Spirit to guide him.

Possible, but unlikely because they were related.
36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:36

markedward
Apr 9th 2009, 03:18 AM
Oh, duh. I completely forgot that. Well then... hm...

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2009, 03:57 AM
So I was thinking a bit more on this tonight (and excuse if this answer is poorly written, I'm tired and grumpy) and I came to this conclusion. There is important common ground to both John and Matthew that I believe is very relevant to the explanation of this contradiction. We'll first look to John and from the following section focus on verse 15:

John 1:14-18
14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'"

16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

18No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Now we'll turn to Matthew 3:7-12...

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;

9and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

10"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

12"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

We can see from this that John, prior to baptizing Jesus, understood that 'one would come' who would be greater than He. I would suggest that John believed it was Jesus but was not quite sure even up to the point of baptizing Jesus. It was only after Jesus was baptized that he was sure Jesus was the Messiah (and even after this John doubts while in prison). I would say along with this, however, that John believed Jesus was the Messiah, he just needed that extra bit of proof.

So to answer the contradiction. John had an idea of who Jesus was (hence his reluctance to be baptized) however he wasn't sure until he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus like a dove.

pekoe
Apr 9th 2009, 12:14 PM
I think the conversation between John and Jesus in Mt.3:14-15 never happened. It doesn't make sense in light of Jn.1:33.

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2009, 03:24 PM
I think the conversation between John and Jesus in Mt.3:14-15 never happened. It doesn't make sense in light of Jn.1:33.

I see no reason for it to have not happened.

pekoe
Apr 9th 2009, 05:17 PM
I guess the reason would be because in Mt., John recognizes Jesus as Christ before he baptizes Him, but says in Jn. that he didn't know who the Messiah was until after he baptized Him. Actually, I got this paradox out of a book titled, "A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament", by Rabbi Samuel Sandmel. Sandmel says the conversation between Jesus and John in Mt. was probably added by an apologist to explain that even though John baptized Jesus and Johns baptism was one of repentance, Jesus didn't nedd it for that reason. I think Sandmel might be right.

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2009, 05:25 PM
I guess the reason would be because in Mt., John recognizes Jesus as Christ before he baptizes Him, but says in Jn. that he didn't know who the Messiah was until after he baptized Him. Actually, I got this paradox out of a book titled, "A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament", by Rabbi Samuel Sandmel. Sandmel says the conversation between Jesus and John in Mt. was probably added by an apologist to explain that even though John baptized Jesus and Johns baptism was one of repentance, Jesus didn't nedd it for that reason. I think Sandmel might be right.

Seems like two different issues to me.

pekoe
Apr 9th 2009, 07:40 PM
They are, but because of Sandmels hypothesis which stems from the plain reading of the two passages, we are left with a conclusion that the conversation between Jesus and John in Mt. never occured.

markedward
Apr 9th 2009, 09:00 PM
You know what? I don't think Jesus and John ever spoke to each other. Heck, I don't think John and Jesus were even related. Their relation was probably made up by somebody who wanted to make Jesus seem legit, so they made up his relation to John the Baptist, who was a well-known prophet of the time.

I hope you see the point I'm getting at. If you're going to claim some part of Scripture was falsified, how can you trust any of it? Besides, where is the historical proof that Matthew's gospel contains an apologist's addition? I'm not talking about some rabbi's conjectures based on "critical analysis", where is the tangible evidence of manuscripts from, say, 100-300 AD, that don't contain the conversation found in Matthew? Unless such manuscripts are produced, this theory is entirely baseless.

mcgyver
Apr 9th 2009, 10:07 PM
Well, (and I say this carefully) I find Rabbi Sandmel's assertion here to be rather suspect; for quite a few reasons...but most of all because of a lack of cultural context which serves to clear up this alleged contradiction.

Either the good Rabbi is either ignoring 1st century Jewish culture and expectations, or has obscured them.

If I may, let me approach the salient scripture and then give a perspective from contemporary Jewish culture. My sources for Jewish culture of the time include (but are not limited to) Emil Schurer, Eldersheim, and Lightfoot, as well as Josephus and others.

This was a time of rapt anticipation to the Jewish people. At this time they were expecting the Messiah to show up at any time.

Their idea of Messiah however was somewhat different that what they got. They were expecting Messiah to come as King, to overthrow the Romans, smite the gentile nations, and place Israel upon the throne of rulership over the nations...they felt that this was their destiny as the chosen of God.

The key then I believe, is not that John did not know who Jesus was, but rather he did not know What Jesus was, as I think we can see in the following passages of scripture.

First of all, let us look at Matthew 3:10-15.

10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

There are a couple of interesting points in this passage that I would like to point out.

First is the Baptism its self. Baptism was not originally a Christian rite...it was a Jewish rite. A proselyte was baptized into the Jewish faith, as sign that he had repented of his pagan ways. Normally a Jew would not see any need to be baptized, as he was already one of God's chosen...so in that many were coming to be baptized there is a remarkable picture being painted for us.

They are getting ready for their coming KING...The Warrior King..The Lion of the Tribe of Judah...for this is who they were expecting. Even in John's words we see an almost a war-like declaration to be ready for the coming of the KING.

John's hesitation to baptize Jesus makes perfect sense in this context. John sees Jesus as the King of the world who is about to restore the kingdom to Israel.

So what did I mean when I said that John did not know What Jesus was (as opposed to who He was)?

Look now at the Baptist's words in the gospel of John on the day after Jesus was baptized:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!....

I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

and

And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29, 31, 34)

A world of difference one day makes...John declares Jesus not as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; but as the sacrificial Lamb of God...John declares that he himself did not know that Messiah was to come as the lamb and not the lion (compare Isaiah 40:1-4), and further bears witness that in spite of the fact that Jesus has come to take away sins instead of smiting the gentile...He is the Son of God.

Everything that is above is very easily researched, and is in line with culture and belief of that time...so there really is no contradiction here.

pekoe
Apr 10th 2009, 12:17 AM
Hi markedward.
Yes, I see the point you were making. It wouldn't bother me if a scribe added an explanation of scripture, even though one wasn't needed. I guess if some portion of of the Bible was falsified, you would have to examine it the way any other body of ancient literature is tested.

pekoe
Apr 10th 2009, 12:19 AM
Hi mcgyver.
I think your explanation is plausible. Thanks.

apothanein kerdos
Apr 10th 2009, 12:27 AM
"And I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Spirit." Jn.1:33

"But John forbid Him saying, I have need to be baptized by You, but You come to me?" Mt.3:14

If John didn't know who the Messiah was until after he baptized Him, how could John know he needed to be baptized by Him?

The joys of translations into English...

He is using the word eidon, which in the context of "knowing" means that He didn't perceive who Jesus was. He didn't know that Jesus was the Messiah at that point. So he knew him, in the sense that he knew who He was, but he didn't know Him, in the sense of what His purpose was.

Matthew 3:14 is better understood when we think about the context of Jesus' ministry. Jesus was related to John so the two undoubtedly knew each other. At best, John would have known of Jesus. After all, a trained rabbi who doesn't sin is fairly uncommon now and even back then. Thus, Jesus would have had a reputation and people would have known about Him before His ministry began.

John was baptizing for repentance. Realizing that his cousin Jesus was sinless and had a stellar reputation, John wouldn't have understood why he needed to baptize a man who had no need for repentance.


At least, that's my take on it.

pekoe
Apr 10th 2009, 12:44 AM
Thanks apothanein kerdos.
I think your explanation is excellent. I was taught that the Bible is inerrant. It may well be, but if it isn't, I'm not afraid of that. I believe I can still trust Gods word even if translators etc. possibly messed it up a bit. Anyway, Rabbi Sandmels argument is a valid one and I'm glad that both you and mcgyver have thought it out better than I did. Thanks again.

apothanein kerdos
Apr 10th 2009, 12:59 AM
Thanks apothanein kerdos.
I think your explanation is excellent. I was taught that the Bible is inerrant. It may well be, but if it isn't, I'm not afraid of that. I believe I can still trust Gods word even if translators etc. possibly messed it up a bit. Anyway, Rabbi Sandmels argument is a valid one and I'm glad that both you and mcgyver have thought it out better than I did. Thanks again.

The Bible, even the translations, is inspired. However, most people believe that the Bible is only inerrant in its originals - not in its translations. There's quite a bit lost in the translations and sometimes the translators can get it wrong. More often than not, such errors lead to annoyances, such as apparently contradictions. I've yet to see a translation error that affects doctrine.

pekoe
Apr 11th 2009, 12:58 AM
I saw a program on the History Channel about a guy who forged a stone tablet which supposedly had an inscription on it from Solomons time that some archaeologists judged to be authentic. On closer inspection, it was proved to be a fake. One of the scholars who examined the writing said the forgerer didn't know that a modern Hebrew word he used which is interpreted as "repair" in ancient Hebrew meant "to tear down"...the exact opposite. If there are misinterpretations from one language to another, I'm not fazed by it.

Athanasius
Apr 12th 2009, 12:36 AM
Thanks apothanein kerdos.
I think your explanation is excellent. I was taught that the Bible is inerrant. It may well be, but if it isn't, I'm not afraid of that. I believe I can still trust Gods word even if translators etc. possibly messed it up a bit. Anyway, Rabbi Sandmels argument is a valid one and I'm glad that both you and mcgyver have thought it out better than I did. Thanks again.

It's also occurred to me that we're neglecting the history of the conceptions and births of John and Jesus. I think it perfectly reasonable to believe that John understood who Jesus was supposed to be, however he wasn't sure (for some unknown reason, which seems strange to me), hence the sign at His baptism. I'm fairly confident that Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias would have told Jesus and John (respectively) what the Lord had revealed to them. I'll take a wild guess and propose that would include John being a forerunner, Jesus being the one who will come after.

pekoe
Apr 14th 2009, 02:39 PM
Hi Xel"Naga.
Another really good angle. I'm glad I'm here!

Veretax
Apr 14th 2009, 06:02 PM
I've always taken John's doubts as being the result of being imprisoned. That absent his freedom, his mental faculties perhaps were weakened, or even he, found his faith failing him, and hence why he sent some to find out.