“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.” vs. 13
The relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist has been a source of endless speculation from the beginning. That there was a connection is obvious, it’s mentioned numerous times in all four gospels. Mark and Luke tell us that Jesus, having been raised in Nazareth, traveled from Galilee to the Jordan where John was baptizing. Since John’s baptism included the confession of sins, it could be concluded that Jesus too was aware of his need for repentance. It may be that he was intending to become one of John’s disciples. Matthew feels a need to provide clarification. So he adds a bit of dialog to the other accounts. Jesus, Matthew affirms, didn’t need forgiveness, he was submitting to baptism as a mark of his total identification with sinners. Whether the story needed Matthew’s corrective can be debated. Many have no difficulty believing that Jesus was just like every other human who has lived. In their estimation, such a Jesus is even more appealing. The fact that he knows what it feels like to wrestle with issues of sin and guilt is for them a huge comfort–if Jesus was a sinner it’s certainly not a deal breaker. Of course such a notion has never been a part of orthodoxy. Most of us have grown up believing that Jesus was without sin–and that he took our sins upon himself to insure our forgiveness. For the orthodox it’s hard to imagine anything else!
Thought for the Day: Why was Jesus baptized?