Baptism of Our Lord

This coming Sunday -- January 12 -- again will be that strange festival day ... (1) On one hand there is the puzzlement over why Jesus submitted to the baptism by John ("confessing sins") ... (2) Then there is the puzzlement over why the Church early on continued to tell that story and even put it in writing ...

Comments

  • The reason Jesus gives is "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). My take is a) that it demonstrates his identity as the "second Adam" and b) it gave the Pharisees one less thing to criticise. There's an echo with the exchange with Peter at the Last Supper foot-washing, too.
  • The people who are being baptised by John are repenting not only of their own individual sins, but for the sins of the nation of Judah so that they can be incorporated into the remnant that will enter the Kingdom from Heaven that John has promised is near. Because righteousness is not about holiness, Righteousness is about God being faithful to his promises. God demonstrating loyalty to the covenant he established with Abraham, and with Moses, and with David. God completing, through Jesus his Son, the promise to Abraham of innumerable descendants. The promise to Moses of a prophet like no other to speak God’s word to the people. The promise to David of a king who will reign forever.

    Jesus offers himself for baptism so that he can identify with, and become part of, that remnant that will return from exile, to be truly God with us and usher in the Kingdom. It is this which will fulfill all righteousness.

    The Baptism is one of Matthew’s glorious trinitarian moments. Jesus asserts his mission to is to be God with Us. The Father affirms that Jesus is “The Son of God” and that he is the Son who has been brought out of Egypt. And the Holy Spirit anoints Jesus for service.


  • PhilipVPhilipV Shipmate
    edited January 5
    Why? To show to us that he is close to us; that he is with us: to share with us his love. Then we killed him. Puzzlement?: Remember we couldn't kill him. Remember all this.
  • If Jesus was to show us the way, it was surely vital that he demonstrated baptism. We must be ready to submit to baptism too, and to recognise it as putting the old way of life to death and starting afresh in the light of Christ. His timing was perfect.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    The reason Jesus gives is "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). My take is a) that it demonstrates his identity as the "second Adam" and b) it gave the Pharisees one less thing to criticise. There's an echo with the exchange with Peter at the Last Supper foot-washing, too.

    The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, however, is IMHO way overblown both by modern understanding and even by some comments in the Gospels ... By His practices and in his apparent theology, Jesus seems to identify more or less WITH the Pharisees ... But there is a "whamee" (a single, not a double) when Jesus answers John's objection by saying, "Let's just do all that God requires," thus dodging the question of John;s baptism being about "repentance of sins" ...
  • While John's baptism is referred to elsewhere as one of repentance, I don't think repentance of sins is explicitly mentioned in the account of Jesus' baptism, is it (one can see why!)?
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    While John's baptism is referred to elsewhere as one of repentance, I don't think repentance of sins is explicitly mentioned in the account of Jesus' baptism, is it (one can see why!)?

    No, but that is the general Gospel description of the nature and purpose of John's baptism (as an aspect of preparing for the "wrath to come"), hence John's well-considered objection to Jesus receiving it ... In our contemporary Catholic equivalence it could be something like Jesus going to weekly Confession ... Why would he do that ... ???
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, however, is IMHO way overblown both by modern understanding and even by some comments in the Gospels ... By His practices and in his apparent theology, Jesus seems to identify more or less WITH the Pharisees ...
    I don't think so. Jesus appears to take issue with the whole thrust of the oral Torah, which was the very essence of pharisaism, as conveyed in e.g.Mark 7:1-15 and Matthew 23:1-36.
  • As to why the church remembered it and put it into writing, I suppose because it (a) was striking, and (b) happened. The gospel writers didn't seem interested in papering over the faults of the apostles or giving sayings of Christ that don't make a lot of sense. Why cavil at the baptism?
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    The reason Jesus gives is "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). My take is a) that it demonstrates his identity as the "second Adam" and b) it gave the Pharisees one less thing to criticise. There's an echo with the exchange with Peter at the Last Supper foot-washing, too.
    I think there are multiple, overlapping, ways in which at this moment Jesus "fulfils all righteousness". Certainly identification with humanity is part of it.

    I'd add in that John is in a sense the last of the line of OT prophets, and at this moment he's standing at the Jordan representing all of them. There has for centuries been a thread through the utterances of the prophets that a Messiah will come, John has preached a message that this is imminent and the people need to prepare (that preparation including a sincere repentance of sins symbolised by baptism), and here before him is the Messiah. Jesus who John recognises as Lord over all, an identity affirmed by the voice from heaven, yet Jesus puts Himself under the authority of John, and to a real extent the rest of the prophets, in baptism. Jesus is making it clear that He's standing in the line of those prophets, to fulfil all that they had said and done, not to overturn that work.

    Also, Matthew tries very hard to work a narrative into his Gospel that shows Jesus as the perfect embodiment of the people of Israel and includes echoes of the history of Israel and it's greatest leaders throughout the Gospel. We have had the massacre of the innocents from which Jesus escapes, as Moses escaped the orders of Pharaoh to kill all the male children of Israel. The holy family flee to Egypt until it's safe, an Matthew makes a point of God calling His Son out of Egypt using a passage that's about the people of Israel. Here Jesus passes through water in baptism, as the people of Israel passed through the Red Sea. He'll immediately go into the wilderness, reflecting the 40 years the people wandered the desert. Then we'll get the sermon on the mount, an act of law giving from a mountain.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    That's a fine exposition, AlanC.
  • tclune wrote: »
    The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, however, is IMHO way overblown both by modern understanding and even by some comments in the Gospels ... By His practices and in his apparent theology, Jesus seems to identify more or less WITH the Pharisees ...
    I don't think so. Jesus appears to take issue with the whole thrust of the oral Torah, which was the very essence of pharisaism, as conveyed in e.g.Mark 7:1-15 and Matthew 23:1-36.

    Jesus -- reportedly -- told the crowds, and so one assumes also His dsciples -- "Do whatever the Pharisees tell you, for they sit on Moses' seat ..." and -- reportedly -- He had disciples and sympathizers who were Pharisees ...
    mousethief wrote: »
    As to why the church remembered it and put it into writing, I suppose because it (a) was striking, and (b) happened. The gospel writers didn't seem interested in papering over the faults of the apostles or giving sayings of Christ that don't make a lot of sense. Why cavil at the baptism?

    Presumably the Evangelists had more stories and information at their disposal than they included in their books .... "John" says so flat out, e.g. ... And each Gospel presents the stories with various *twists* ... Any of them COULD have conveniently left out the account of Jesus' Baptism but instead they intentionally left it in ... A "bap
    tclune wrote: »
    The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, however, is IMHO way overblown both by modern understanding and even by some comments in the Gospels ... By His practices and in his apparent theology, Jesus seems to identify more or less WITH the Pharisees ...
    I don't think so. Jesus appears to take issue with the whole thrust of the oral Torah, which was the very essence of pharisaism, as conveyed in e.g.Mark 7:1-15 and Matthew 23:1-36.

    "Do whatever the Pharisees tell you, for they occupy the seat of Moses ..."
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Shipmate
    edited January 11
    The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.
  • The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.

    I don't understand what you mean by Jesus "removing" Moses and Elijah. They showed up, visited, went away. As visitors will. I don't see that he "removed" them.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.

    I don't understand what you mean by Jesus "removing" Moses and Elijah. They showed up, visited, went away. As visitors will. I don't see that he "removed" them.

    I don't think they were visitors. The disciples asked about building tabernacles equally to the three. God's response was that Jesus was his beloved Son. Listen to Him. Jesus was fulfilling the promise of the Law and the Prophets and it is to Him we should listen, rather than the Torah and The Prophets.
  • That's one interpretation. It certainly doesn't force itself upon one.
  • cgichard wrote: »
    That's a fine exposition, AlanC.
    That's good, it's a chunk of my sermon for the morning.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.

    I don't understand what you mean by Jesus "removing" Moses and Elijah. They showed up, visited, went away. As visitors will. I don't see that he "removed" them.
    I agree. I would say the point is he fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, so listening to him is listening to the Law and the Prophets.

  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    tclune wrote: »
    The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, however, is IMHO way overblown both by modern understanding and even by some comments in the Gospels ... By His practices and in his apparent theology, Jesus seems to identify more or less WITH the Pharisees ...
    I don't think so. Jesus appears to take issue with the whole thrust of the oral Torah, which was the very essence of pharisaism, as conveyed in e.g.Mark 7:1-15 and Matthew 23:1-36.

    Jesus -- reportedly -- told the crowds, and so one assumes also His dsciples -- "Do whatever the Pharisees tell you, for they sit on Moses' seat ..." and -- reportedly -- He had disciples and sympathizers who were Pharisees ...
    It is always difficult to discuss Biblical interpretation over the internet because the Bible is a complex document that requires substantial integration to begin to understand. The phrase you quoted in your duplicate post was actually from the beginning of the Matthew passage I linked in my OP. However, it is important to read more than a single phrase of scripture to arrive at an informed view of what scripture is saying. Matthew, for example, goes on for another 35 verses berating the Pharisees for their practices. The Mark passage I linked to does not even have one verse of praise for them. Perhaps your view is a tad stilted?
    It appears that Christ is telling the crowd to respect authority when He acknowledges the Pharisees' position within the Temple hierarchy. But then He belabors the ways in which the Pharisees have failed to be worthy of their position within the Jewish community. And, as Mark makes clear, He is much less approving of the Pharisees' interpretation of scripture than your snippet might lead one to believe. Throughout the Gospels, Christ is opposed to a legalistic (read "Pharisaic") interpretation of the Torah found in the oral Torah. Glossing over the entire thrust of the Gospels to raise up an isolated phrase is not likely to lead to a robust understanding of the message (or messages) of the Gospels. Or so ISTM.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.

    I don't understand what you mean by Jesus "removing" Moses and Elijah. They showed up, visited, went away. As visitors will. I don't see that he "removed" them.
    I agree. I would say the point is he fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, so listening to him is listening to the Law and the Prophets.

    You understand "fulfilling the Law and the Prophets" of Matthew 5:17 differently from me. The Law and the Prophets were seen to expect the coming of a prophet like Moses and it was also understood that Elijah's return would precede the Anointed One. If people could see it, Elijah had returned as John The Baptist, and Jesus was a prophet like Moses, seen in His Pentateuch of discourses in Matthew. In Matthew 22 Jesus says about the greatest commandment and the one like it that on them hang the Law and the Prophets or they are The Law and The Prophets.

    People often think that fulfilling the Law and the Prophets is only obeying the (Levitical and Deuteronomic etc) laws to be found them and that Jesus endorsed those laws, when they contain a lot more than that. I have found it better to understand them as the Jewish Lore and Jesus was seen as fulfilling its expectations. In that way listening to the Law and the Prophets means seeing that those expectations are fulfilled in Jesus.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited January 11
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.

    I don't understand what you mean by Jesus "removing" Moses and Elijah. They showed up, visited, went away. As visitors will. I don't see that he "removed" them.
    I agree. I would say the point is he fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, so listening to him is listening to the Law and the Prophets.

    You understand "fulfilling the Law and the Prophets" of Matthew 5:17 differently from me.
    Perhaps I do.

    People often think that fulfilling the Law and the Prophets is only obeying the (Levitical and Deuteronomic etc) laws to be found them and that Jesus endorsed those laws, when they contain a lot more than that.
    Perhaps, but I rarely encounter such people. In my experience, people understand fulfilling the Law and the Prophets as (a) loving God with all of one’s heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving neighbor as self; (b) Jesus’ personal obedience to the Law and Prophets, in which we share though baptism/being made one with him; or (c) a combination of (a) and (b).

  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited January 12
    Firstly if I was going to my old church (URC) I would expect a sermon on the lines of what is above plus perhaps the emphasis that Jesus is in Baptism associating himself with our sins and taking them upon himself in preparation for his passion and cross. In my church (Anglo-Catholic) I would expect rather than this emphasis to get a mention on it not being Christ's whose nature is changed but that of the water. Christ's baptism makes all water holy and good for the washing away of sins. John's baptism becomes effective through the Baptism of Christ. I am not saying either is right, I have not formed my judgement but I do find it intriguing the different twists the two Western traditions have given to the same passage.

    Secondly I have a pet theory that the early Church quite quickly absorbed the Disciples of John and that this shows in the text such as when Paul comes upon Christians who have only had the Baptism of John. As I said it is a pet theory. That means that Jesus' relationship with John has to be handled carefully. In that respect Jesus' Baptism is not simply about sins but also about the status of John and that Jesus respected/agreed with John's teaching. This allows the Disciples of John to feel that their history is honoured within the Church.
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Secondly I have a pet theory that the early Church quite quickly absorbed the Disciples of John and that this shows in the text such as when Paul comes upon Christians who have only had the Baptism of John. As I said it is a pet theory. That means that Jesus' relationship with John has to be handled carefully. In that respect Jesus' Baptism is not simply about sins but also about the status of John and that Jesus respected/agreed with John's teaching. This allows the Disciples of John to feel that their history is honoured within the Church.

    The disciples of John The Baptiser have continued to today in Iran and Iraq as Mandeans. They are few in number and it could be the case that some followed Jesus while others remained as followers of John.
    There is that narrative about John sending some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the expected one or if they should look for another.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    cgichard wrote: »
    That's a fine exposition, AlanC.
    That's good, it's a chunk of my sermon for the morning.

    Bloody excellent Alan. Screamingly obvious once some genius points it out.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    The baptism allows the writers a way to present the start of Jesus' mission and show that God has named him as his Son in whom he is well pleased. It also allows John to represented the old Israel that is passing away with the coming of Jesus.
    In Mark God repeats this at the transfiguration and by telling the disciples to listen to Him and removing Moses and Elijah Jesus is symbolically superseding The Law and The Prophets.
    That's my take, anyway.

    I don't understand what you mean by Jesus "removing" Moses and Elijah. They showed up, visited, went away. As visitors will. I don't see that he "removed" them.

    I don't think they were visitors. The disciples asked about building tabernacles equally to the three. God's response was that Jesus was his beloved Son. Listen to Him. Jesus was fulfilling the promise of the Law and the Prophets and it is to Him we should listen, rather than the Torah and The Prophets.

    To me it's always been a symbolic vision. Not a diplomatic visit from up the limbo line. So I agree @LatchKeyKid.
  • PhilipVPhilipV Shipmate
    God he had to demonstrate his constant presence within human existence in a necessary family relationship. When Jesus, God who is with us, insists - in that antinomian way - of subjecting to the gesture of blessing and consecration by a person, it confirms there is an everlasting interweaving of destinies. A notion such as Adam II is rather tropical and supersessionist.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Secondly I have a pet theory that the early Church quite quickly absorbed the Disciples of John and that this shows in the text such as when Paul comes upon Christians who have only had the Baptism of John. As I said it is a pet theory. That means that Jesus' relationship with John has to be handled carefully. In that respect Jesus' Baptism is not simply about sins but also about the status of John and that Jesus respected/agreed with John's teaching. This allows the Disciples of John to feel that their history is honoured within the Church.

    The disciples of John The Baptiser have continued to today in Iran and Iraq as Mandeans. They are few in number and it could be the case that some followed Jesus while others remained as followers of John.
    There is that narrative about John sending some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the expected one or if they should look for another.

    Jack Miles, in his wonderful book Christ:A Crisis In The Life Of God, notes that Christ answered John's disciples with a laundry list of the signs that Isaiah gives of the Messiah -- excepting only that of freeing the captives. Miles interprets this entire episode as having a subtext of John saying to Christ, "Don't forget me here in Herod's dungeon" and Christ answering, "Sorry, dude, you're on your own." I don't know if Miles is right or not, but it's an intriguing gloss on the periscope. FWIW
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Periscope? Did I do that or is there autocorrect on the Ship's editor?
  • tclune wrote: »
    Periscope? Did I do that or is there autocorrect on the Ship's editor?
    I have an autocorrect that works on any text I am writing. It does this on Ship postings and is not a function of Ship software.
  • tclune wrote: »
    Christ answered John's disciples with a laundry list of the signs that Isaiah gives of the Messiah -- excepting only that of freeing the captives. Miles interprets this entire episode as having a subtext of John saying to Christ, "Don't forget me here in Herod's dungeon" and Christ answering, "Sorry, dude, you're on your own." I don't know if Miles is right or not, but it's an intriguing gloss on the periscope. FWIW

    This has always appeared to be the obvious explanation of this passage to me. Or at least one of them. John is the first person Jesus is worried about himself becoming a stumbling-block for, because he doesn't wholly match John's expectations.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    tclune wrote: »
    Christ answered John's disciples with a laundry list of the signs that Isaiah gives of the Messiah -- excepting only that of freeing the captives. Miles interprets this entire episode as having a subtext of John saying to Christ, "Don't forget me here in Herod's dungeon" and Christ answering, "Sorry, dude, you're on your own." I don't know if Miles is right or not, but it's an intriguing gloss on the periscope. FWIW

    This has always appeared to be the obvious explanation of this passage to me. Or at least one of them. John is the first person Jesus is worried about himself becoming a stumbling-block for, because he doesn't wholly match John's expectations.

    The Church, like John, has the task of preparing the Way of The LORD. But we don't get to know ahead of time what that Day of The LORD will be or when it will come ...
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    @tclune, Jesus wouldn't do that. He gave John the best possible answer; you decide. John would have decided yes.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    tclune wrote: »
    Christ answered John's disciples with a laundry list of the signs that Isaiah gives of the Messiah -- excepting only that of freeing the captives. Miles interprets this entire episode as having a subtext of John saying to Christ, "Don't forget me here in Herod's dungeon" and Christ answering, "Sorry, dude, you're on your own." I don't know if Miles is right or not, but it's an intriguing gloss on the periscope. FWIW

    This has always appeared to be the obvious explanation of this passage to me. Or at least one of them. John is the first person Jesus is worried about himself becoming a stumbling-block for, because he doesn't wholly match John's expectations.

    The Church, like John, has the task of preparing the Way of The LORD. But we don't get to know ahead of time what that Day of The LORD will be or when it will come ...

    How are we doing?
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Shipmate
    edited January 17
    Eutychus wrote: »
    tclune wrote: »
    Christ answered John's disciples with a laundry list of the signs that Isaiah gives of the Messiah -- excepting only that of freeing the captives. Miles interprets this entire episode as having a subtext of John saying to Christ, "Don't forget me here in Herod's dungeon" and Christ answering, "Sorry, dude, you're on your own." I don't know if Miles is right or not, but it's an intriguing gloss on the periscope. FWIW

    This has always appeared to be the obvious explanation of this passage to me. Or at least one of them. John is the first person Jesus is worried about himself becoming a stumbling-block for, because he doesn't wholly match John's expectations.

    The Church, like John, has the task of preparing the Way of The LORD. But we don't get to know ahead of time what that Day of The LORD will be or when it will come ...

    It's that intriguing passage where the call to prepare the Way of the Lord in the desert is reworked to the call being in the desert to prepare the Way of the Lord.
    Maybe that gives us licence to similarly misquote scripture! I certainly don't get from scripture that the Church has the task of preparing the Way of The Lord. That happened historically, and I suppose we could see the church symbolically repeating it.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Jesus did that all the time: 'misquoted' by our modern, rational epistemology. Which is something I've never heard admitted from the pulpit or in any Christian writings. If He was the divine incarnate, then He was still right. For the 'wrong' reasons. It means that God is most pragmatic. Jesus, being fully human, of His time, with the intellectual toolkit of the time, knew that He also had a fully divine nature, that He was the only begotten son of God born in to a culture in which God had constantly intervened according to its and therefore His understanding, in fulfillment of prophecy, despite the fact that we know that neither occurred. Did God tweak the pronouncements of the prophets so that Jesus could easily see Himself? Did God make non-Messianic prophecy truly prophetic of Messiah? Layered? Dual? As with the rest of reality, I suspect not. There is no trace of Him, no need for Him in creation; it has nothing missing. If He actually intervened in Jewish history and culture to ensure that Jesus 'got the message', I wouldn't be surprised, but there is no smoking gun. Cyrus makes for a suspiciously warm one.

    We have to take it on faith.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    In a way, I always thought of the Baptism of Jesus much like a coronation. He goes into the water he sees the dove descending on him and hears the voice "You are my Son, the Beloved" One Gospels, I think, says John the Baptist also saw and heard this. Got to have a witness, you know.
  • In Mark, we are told that Jesus saw the Holy Spirit and descend and heard God's voice speaking to Him saying "You are my son".
    In Matthew, Jesus sees the dove/spirit descend on himself and God says to John the Baptiser "This is my Son".
    Luke is similar to Mark, though Luke says Jesus's baptism occurs after all the people had been baptised.
    In John's view, the purpose of John's baptism is that the Son of God might be revealed. Only in John do we find that John saw the Spirit of God descend on Jesus (but without it being like a dove) so that John can be a witness that Jesus is the Son of God.

    It also gives the writer of John the opportunity to narrate that John tells his own disciples that Jesus is the Lamb of God to allow them to become disciples of Jesus. The call of the disciples happens very differently in John and Mark. Mark says nothing about their call except that they were busy at work.

    I don't think it's good to try and harmonise the Gospel narratives or we will miss the message that each author is making.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Actually dove-likeness features in John also
    And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.”
    (John 1.32)

    I broadly agree with you about avoiding the kind of harmonising which flattens out the features of the individual gospels, but with some incidents, and the baptism is one, I prefer a hermeneutical approach which begins with the idea that there is an underlying event which, with different emphases and foci, they are all seeking to address.
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