Tuesday 27 June 2017

Bible Book:

“Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized.” (v. 22)

John 3:22-30 Tuesday 27 June 2017

Psalm: Psalm 25


After the very familiar material encountered yesterday,especially in verses 16-17, we now enter territory much lesswell-trodden. Indeed, these verses do not figure at all in theRevised Common Lectionary of Sunday readings, so we never get thisin a Sunday service if the lectionary is followed.

Two things are surprising. First, we are told that Jesusbaptized people (although a curious note is added later, at John4:2, stating that it was his disciples rather than Jesushimself who baptized). And then we have a picture of John theBaptist and Jesus operating simultaneous ministries of Baptism,perhaps even as rivals. There's a sense of Jesus's ministry growingas John's recedes, and a fresh presentation of the picture of Johnas forerunner which we've already had in John1:15, 19-23. It has been suggested by some scholars that Jesusmay have been a disciple of John the Baptist who then went his ownway with his own followers and eclipsed his former mentor. This canonly be speculation, but there is clearly an interesting relationbetween them.

It is John who first introduces the idea that Jesus may be theMessiah, something Jesus himself acknowledges in his extendedconversation with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 (see Friday). This Messiah, the great hope ofIsrael, is the anointed one whom God sends to save his people, theChrist (to use the Greek word Christians have adopted).

Psalm 25 is strikingly individualistic after the broad grandeurof Psalm 24. Only in its last verse do we get any sense of acommunity. This is a feature of very many psalms, the majority ofwhich are individual laments, crying out to God from situations oftrouble and distress. It's been truly said that the Psalms were notwritten on a pleasant English Sunday afternoon; they are born ofreal, hard human experience, trying to make sense of it all in thelight of faith in God. The human need for assurance, guidance,salvation indeed, is movingly set out in this wonderful poetry.

To Ponder

  • How do you respond to the idea that Jesus may have baptizedpeople with water and been a disciple of John the Baptist?

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