John the Baptist Has a Few Problems

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  • Stephen
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    We read of John and what he is and will grow up to be.
     
    "But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God." Luke 1:  13-15
     
    So here we have a man who is great in the eyes of god and who, it also says, was filled with the “holy spirit”..
    John is beloved by many to have been the forerunner to the Christ Jesus.
     
    Some 30+ years pass and John finally makes his appearance as a fully grown adult and introduced as someone crying in alone the wilderness,telling anyone who will listen to repent because one greater than he is to come.
     
    John story continues : >
    "The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” I Myself did not know him
    , but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’"

    Then John gave this testimony:‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I Myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told me,“The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.”
     I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen one. John 1:29-34.
     
     I will scratch at these verses later but for now it suffices to say that John had recognised Jesus ( his cousin) immediately,  as the “lamb of god”, “the one he meant”,and “the one that was to come”, and “the one prophesied about”.. And to add to this, all of John’s beliefs are definitely confirmed, John says, by a spirit dove coming down from heaven and perched itself on the lamb. John is without doubtfully convinced that all the requirements of the coming of this lord have been fulfilled.  And after a few words John proceeds to baptise his cousin Jesus (who he says he didn’t know).
     
    We then leap to Johns arrest and imprisonment, where John who converses quite a lot with his captor Herod, something quite strange happens. John, who himself is filled with “Holy Spirit” and of who it is said was “great in the sight of the Lord” either has a complete and serious memory lapse or a great shadow of doubt descends on him.
     
    Because,for all of the his drum banging about “the one to come”, “the lamb” and seeing “doves from heaven” these feelings of doubt concern him enough to, well, let’s read it:
     
     And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus,saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? Luke 7: 19
     
     Can it be even possible that, for a man such as this man who is filled with Holy Spirit” and of who it is said was “great in the sight of god”, could had made such a dire mistake and gross error?! This Was a man who it appears was immaculately conceived for the very purpose of going before and forewarning about, identifying and baptising Jesus the Christ,the saviour of the world.
     
    And one has to notice he is not punished for doubting.
     

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Stephen
    I am not sure that John is having as many problems as you might think. 

    John was a levite priest. We know this because his father is one and levites followed the family business. John may or may not have known Jesus. Sure their parents knew each other - but they were a significant distance from each other. It is not like they could simply jump into a car and go visit whenever they felt like it. Also both boys would have commenced work pretty early in their lives - and it is not like they had it easy like us - to have weekends and a 38 hour week.  Remember they were in a land captured by Romans and probably needed consent to go from one place to another. 

    John was at the river for more than one day. the gospels clearly give the idea that all of the Jerusalem and Judea went out to him to be baptised. This would have taken more than one day to do - especially given that many people would have had jobs and the Pharisees and the soldiers are not going to appear after one day. 

    I think John probably did know Jesus - but that does not mean he knew Jesus was the messiah. This may never have occurred to him until this moment when he came to be baptised. you are correct that John was full of the spirit - as was Jesus. And at Jesus's baptism this was evident in the way he spoke to Jesus and by the confirmation of God the Father and the Spirit of God at that time. I think there is no doubt that John believed Jesus was the messiah. 

    Later on when John was in prison - John sent his disciples to ask the question about whether Jesus really was the messiah or not. I am not sure that at this time John was so confident about Jesus.  I am not sure that at that time he was so confident of much. He knew he was a prophet but had been thrown into prison. He had been watching Jesus but Jesus did not seem to the messiah he was imagining. The Pharisees, and Israel and by extension John probably believed the messiah was going to come and rescue Israel from the Romans and restore all things back to Israel and set up his kingdom. Gee, even Jesus disciples thought this as well. Perhaps John was getting nervous sitting in prison. 

    Yet Jesus response to John's disciples was not what they were expecting - he reminded them of the promises of what the messiah would be like from the Isaiah passages. Look at what I have been doing - this is my kingdom - it is not of this world. It is not a political kingdom. It is one as you proclaimed when you baptised me - as the lamb of God, dying for the sins of his people to bring reconciliation between God and man and his kingdom was going to be a spiritual one. 

    I am of the view that John had along with everyone else of his generation completely missed how God's messiah was going to set  up his kingdom. Instead of reading passages such as Is 53, they read passages like Psalm 2. They started with his kingdom and not with their heart. 

    So I do not think that John had any more problems than most people did at the time including Jesus' own disciples. Even after he died, they still did not get it. It was only after he had risen from the grave and had seen him that things began to dawn upon them. and then it changed everything - and the world was turned upside down. today - people still don't get it. We want a god who will turn up like superman and save us - rather than a saviour who wants to deal with our hearts. We want a god after our hearts - not one who is going to fix our heart and transform it. 

  • Stephen
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    --> @Tradesecret
    John may or may not have known Jesus.
     
    Oh please.According to scripture John knew of Jesus alright, it is said that he that he even recognize Jesus” in the womb” did he not?
     
    John 1-34
     
    Sure their parents knew each other -but they were a significant distance from each other.
     
    Stop being devious. The centre of operations surrounding both Jesus AND John the Baptists was Bethany/ Bethabara by the Jordan. It was also the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.
     
    “These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing”.John 1:28.
     Six days before the Passover Feast, Jesus went to Bethany,where Lazarus lived. John 12.
    You are also avoiding the fact that John; it is said, jumped in the womb of Elizabeth at the glad tiding the mother of Jesus shared with her.
     
    And there is the undeniable biblical account of John Recognising Jesus for who he was: “the lamb of god, the one he had “been speaking about”. And had all his beliefs confirmed by a descending “dove from heaven”.  Although for some strange an unfathomable reason he denies even knowing Jesus. He also, as mentioned, has doubts and second thoughts as to whether he had anointed the right man after all this crying and wailing in the wilderness about the one to come”         
     
     
     
     


  • Stephen
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    --> @Tradesecret
     Remember they were in a land captured by Romans and probably needed consent to go from one place to another. 
     
    I admire and accept your ‘guess work’ I hope you afford me the same privilege in times to come.
     
    John wasat the river for more than one day. the gospels clearly give the idea that all of the Jerusalem and Judea went out to him to be baptised. This would have taken more than one day to do - especially given that many people would have had jobs and the Pharisees and the soldiers are not going to appear after one day. 
     
    Yes Indeed and many would have witnessed John at work on the day of Jesus baptism.
     
     
    I think John probably did know Jesus - but that does not mean he knew Jesus was the messiah.
     
    You know full well he knew Jesus. The evidence is overwhelming. And the scripture categorically states that John recognised Jesus to be “the lamb of god the one to come and the “saviour” -  (that is the messiah- of mankind). The Reality of course is that according to scripture he recognised him as the saviour of the Jews from the RomanYoke. Stop taking me for some dunce and I will afford you the same courtesy.
     
     
     
    This may never have occurred to him until this moment when he came to be baptised.
     
     The Scripture say he recognised him. 
     
     
     And at Jesus's baptism this was evident in the way he spoke to Jesus and by the confirmation of God the Father and the Spirit of God at that time.
     
     
     Evident To you maybe. I believe it was a confrontation and not as christians have been led to believe , that  John being submissive to Jesus. I believe there was a power struggle at play. 
     
     
    Later on when John was in prison - John sent his disciples to ask the question about whether Jesus really was the messiah or not.
     
    Yes I Know. BECAUSE HE DOUBTED! And I notice too they were disciples of John, i.e.JOHN'S disciples and not Jesus'. Why would John continue to have disciples when he had proclaimed Jesus the messiah and the “one to follow”?
     
    I am not sure that at this time John was so confident about Jesus. 
     
    He Obviously wasn’t confident at all. Otherwise he wouldn’t have sent his disciples to ask Jesus. In other words, he had doubt!
     
     
    Jesus didnot seem to the messiah he was imagining.
     
    I agree.Because what was expected of a Messiah and the one the Jews was expecting was someone who would rid the country of Romans and all things Roman and free people from the Roman Yoke. In essence, a freedom fighter!
     
    The Pharisees, and Israel and by extension John probably believed the messiah was going to come and rescue Israel from the Romans. 
     
    Yes I Have already said that.      
     
     
    It is oneas you proclaimed when you baptised me - as the lamb of God, dying for the sins of his people to bring reconciliation between God and man and his kingdom was going to be a spiritual one. 
     
    No,you're adding your own words to the text of the scripture . There is no mention or evidence that John had baptised this man Jesus proclaiming that “he would die to save the world from sin”.
     
    The Scripture clearly and simply states :
     
    “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”.
     
    No, not asingle mention of death or anyone dying to achieve his mission.That typically, is your own extrapolation. In other words YOU have added that to the scripture.
     
     
    I am of the view that John had along with everyone else of his generation completely missed how God's messiah was going to set  up his kingdom.
     
    But of course you know better than those who were actually present 2000 years ago. You Are entitled to surmise and guess. Please afford me the same privilege.  
     
     
    So I don't think that John had any more problems than most people did at the time including Jesus' own disciples.
     
     
    John Should have known better. He was, as you say, a High Priest. He was educated a lot more than the illiterate population of the time. He had been away studying from birth for 30 + years. in other words , John the Baptist knew EXACTLY what was expected of a Messiah.
     
     
     
     
     
     We Want a god who will turn up like superman and save us - rather than a saviour who wants to deal with our hearts. We want a god after our hearts - not one who's going to fix our heart and transform it. 
     What You want and what happens in reality are miles apart I am sorry to inform you.
     
     

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Stephen
    Stephen, I am not assuming you are a dunce. 

    I was making statements as a response to what I read in your original post. 

    I hardly think that referring to what babies jumping for joy within wombs when they were not even born might give light upon whether Jesus and john knew each other later. John jumped at that stage. I am not convinced that is sufficient by itself to prove they knew each other.

    I have many cousins I have never met throughout life. And they live in the same town as I do. It is not anything more than probable. Not that I actually think it is an issue anyway. 

    As I said I think he probably knew Jesus - but not as the messiah until his baptism.  I reject your view about it being a power play. But what is your evidence for such a statement. He certainly was fulfilling the prophecies of the OT. He certainly wanted to see God's kingdom come in. He did not think that he himself was the messiah. He was waiting for the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and who was greater than him - so much he was not worthy to untie his shoe laces. 

    That John's confidence was shaken when he was put in prison is not unreasonable. You seem to think he must have been superman or something. That once he was filled with the Spirit that he was suddenly unable to lose confidence. John was human.  He sent his disciples. I don't know why you think he must divest himself of his disciples. We don't know how long they had been with him. We don't know what their relationship was with him.  Just because the messiah had arrived was not a signal that he to stop doing his ministry of preparing people for the coming messiah. 

    I assume you understand OT theology relating to the Passover lamb and also to the sacrificial system of the Jewish system. Hebrews reminds us that it was a shadow of things to come and that it pointed to the coming of the messiah. In the OT, when people thought of lambs, they did not think like we did today of cute cuddly little lambs who bleat for their milk and who sit in the arms of children. They immediately thought of the sacrificial lamb who was used as part of the atoning sacrifice at the temple for the sins of the priest and then of the people of God. When John labeled Jesus as the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, it was obvious that he was linking Jesus with the sacrificial lamb in the OT system. So no I reject your assertion that I have added to the scriptures by extrapolation or otherwise. This has been the teaching of the church since day dot and I am following in their traditions of which I find logical procession of thought from the OT to the NT. 

    I don't think I know better than others. but what I do know is that I have the NT and the interpretation as provided by the Spirit of God that those people did not have at that time. John was in the old covenant - hence with an understanding prior to the coming of the messiah. We live in the time since then with the benefit of the Messiah's wisdom and Spirit. 

    I never said John was a high priest. I said he was a levite and the son of Zechariah who was at one time high priest. Actually I am not sure he was high priest although he certainly was appointed to enter the holy of holies in that particular year. Jewish children were not illiterate. Of all the cultures in the world at that time, they had a high level of literacy. they were people of the book and having the ability to read the book or the scrolls meant that the nation had a high motivation for ensuring that children were taught from a young age. John was literate. And he was intelligent and he was called by God. But how much did he know of what the messiah was meant to be - I don't know. Obviously, he knew Jesus was the lamb of God. Significantly, he also was meant to understand Jesus' reference about healing the sick and making the blind see. But he was human and he was prone to all of the same cultural issues of the time and of the Jewish nation. Gee, even Christians today get mixed up about the kingdom - and they are in the new covenant. 

    but my point is and remains the same. John was not perfect. He did not have perfect knowledge.  He had doubts like the rest of us - even when he was confronted by the truth. Experiences one day can quickly turn into doubts in the future. Think of the Jewish people. released from Egypt - walked through water - and then less than a month later were turning to another god - in the shape of a golden calf. All this proves is that humans are fickle. john was human. John had a job and he fulfilled it. But he also had doubts which were laid to rest after his disciples visited and spoke with Jesus.  

  • Stephen
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    As I said I think he probably knew Jesus - but not as the messiah until his baptism. 
    But then he recognised him for THE messiah and john perfectly understood what a messiah was and what was expected of a messiah.
     
     I reject your view about it being a powerplay. But what is your evidence for such a statement.
     
    To be explained later
     
    He certainly was fulfilling the prophecies of the OT.
    I agree. I believe they were both enacting these prophecies as they had been brought up and trained to do.
     
     
    He certainly wanted to see God's Kingdom come in.
    Yes where the all of Judea was for Jews And free of outside influences. They were god’s chosen according to them and the OT
     
    He did not think that he himself was the messiah.
    Yes I know. he was vying for position of High Priest. But Jesus was born into the duel role via Mary and Joseph if the scriptures are to be believed.
     
    He was waiting for the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and who was greater than him.
     
    Yes a messiah.
     
    That John's confidence was shaken when he was put in prison is not unreasonable. You seem to think he must have been superman or something.
    No. I actually think John was in protective custody. He wasn’t super human although the scripture will have us believe he was somehow “special” seeing doves, and lambs and filled with holy spirit. Strange though, John is also have said to " have a demon". 
     
     I don't know why you think he must divest himself of his disciples.
     
     
     
     I didn’t suggest that but the scripture does. I Believe Jesus and John were, to my mind, rivals. I believe Jesus was or believed himself to be High Priest and king because of his pedigree.
     
     
    We don't know how long they had been with him. We don't know what their relationship was with him. 
    EXACTLY, WE DON’T KNOW!!! Thank you. this is why I have said all along that these gospels are vague and anomalous, enigmatic, dubious and packed with half told stories.


    This is why people like you can take literary license to   add, extract, interpret and misinterpret, expunge and sometimes deliberately lie at will
     
     
    Just because the messiah had arrived was not a signal that he to stop doing his ministry of preparing people for the coming messiah. 
     
    That makes absolutely no sense. If he had arrived then he wouldn’t still be coming, would he.
     
    John was in the old covenant - hencewith an understanding prior to the coming of the messiah.
     
     Indeed
     
     
     We live in the time since then with the benefit of the Messiah's wisdom and Spirit. 
     
    This to me is saying, John then,although filled with something many others were not – the holy spirit - , and was great in the eyes of god , didn’t actually understand the OT scripture,  or what a messiah was and was expected of such a man, although he was a highly trained educated priest and probably of  the line of Arronite Priests.
     
     
     You are correct on one thing here, that it appears to me that John the Baptist was absolutely shocked at what Jesus Actually turned out to be as were many others at the time, and this is why he doubted.
     
    I never said John was a high priest.I said he was a levite and the son of Zechariah who was at one time high priest.
    Indeed ergo of the line of Arron and levites who were all priests.
     
    Actually I am not sure he was high priest although he certainly was appointed to enter the holy of holies in that particular year.
     I submit that John wanted the role of high priest when the job of freeing Palestine of the Romans was done i.e.after the rebellion /war.. because he believed himself to have a rightful claim.. this is where the rivalry I spoke of comes in. 
     
     
     
     and John certainly acted as such. He was baptised and preaching about the coming of the lord.
     
     
    Jewish children were not illiterate.
     
     
     
     those of the lower classes, the masses, were most certainly illiterate.