Sunday 30 August 2020

What was John the Baptist doing when he baptized?

John the Baptist was seeking the Lamb of God, and at the same time building a group of disciples and followers for the Lamb when he was found.

He did this by baptism; which was a 'diagnostic test', a supernatural method for discernment.

When John baptized, he could see the movement of the divine spirit. When he saw the spirit descend and touch upon a person during baptism, this person was accepted as a disciple.

These disciples would then bring other people to John for "testing".

The author of the Fourth Gospel (miscalled "John" - actually Lazarus) was one such disciple, and brought his sister's betrothed husband Jesus to John for testing.

When Jesus was baptised, the divine spirit descended and stayed with Jesus. By this, John knew that Jesus was the Lamb of God; and Jesus became fully divine - such that he could consciously participate in creation and perform miracles.

John, and also Jesus's chosen disciples, continued to recruit followers by discerning-baptism for a while; but John's essential work had been done by finding Jesus and being the agent of his divinization - thus John's ministry waned as Jesus's waxed.

Note: To evaluate the above, you might try reading the earlier chapters of the Fourth Gospel, bearing in mind this "diagnostic"/ discerning explanation of the nature of baptism.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"The author of the Fourth Gospel (miscalled 'John' - actually Lazarus) was one such disciple, and brought his sister's betrothed husband Jesus to John for testing."

It seems natural to assume that the unnamed disciple of John who was with Andrew in John 1:35-40 is the author. He and Andrew didn't hear John say Jesus was the Lamb of God until the day after he first announced it, which implies that they were not present at Jesus' baptism. Andrew and the anonymous disciple then followed Jesus (meaning they literally followed him around!) and asked him where he lived -- something the author would surely have known already if he was Jesus' brother-in-law.

Pangloss said...

Bruce, where is the 'evidence' from scripture (anywhere) that Jesus was betrothed/married to Lazarus' sister? I believe this is reading into scripture what is not there. Surely it cannot be proven not to be the case yet because there is no direct stating Jesus was married, it should not be considered as the likely condition. Very thin ice and also completely not in line with church tradition i.e. Biblical text interpretation. I believe there is a reason other than scripture not stating Jesus' eventual marital condition which is that He could not be married simply because He was/is the second type of man (1 Korinthians 15) and any earthling is of the first type of man which is Adam (this is how we are born, as Adamites, and only after being reborn we get the Christ nature in addition). The two types -in their case it would be pure types- plus Jesus also being God do not mix and merge. Also, no mention of offspring of Jesus and his wife anywhere. Unusual in those times of no anticonception. So the odds are clearly against the assumption. It is Gnostic supposition at best.

Bruce Charlton said...

@P I argue this in my minibook on the fourth gospel Lazarus Writes, which is in linked the sidebar. There are indeed several references to Jesus being married - the marriage at Cana is just the first. But this is not from a Gnostic perspective, but almost the opposite. I regard mainstream Christianity as not divisible from Gnosticism, since the error in both cases wad to interpret Jesus from within prior Greek-Roman philosophical assumptions.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm I'm confident about the author of the Fourth being Lazarus, and Jesus's brother in law from multiple strands of converging evidence (given in the book) - and from the overall theme of the Gospel; but not confident about the meaning of that passage. Clearly it is more than simply descriptive, and also something about it rings false to me - an omission or insertion I guess.

I have long felt that it did not fit to regard baptism as a transformative initiation, since clearly it didn't/ doesn't work, is ineffective. Also, we are apparently not told what John was "teaching', what his followers Do, the nature of his "cult"... Then I realised that we Are told...

Moonsphere said...

Bruce, the reason I am attracted to certain "heretical" views of the Bible is that they have explanatory power. They offer a solution to a mystery or a paradox. This is why I too believe that Lazarus was "the disciple Jesus loved" and that he was the author of the Fourth Gospel and the Book of Revelation. Another example would be Steiner's "two Jesus children", which I know you do not agree with. But nonetheless you would accept that it offers an explanation to a mystery.

But I cannot understand why you would believe that Jesus was bethrothed to Mary Magdalene. It would appear to illuminate no great mystery and solves no paradox.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Moonsphere. I explain all this in Lazarus Writes. It makes deep sense from my perspective that a man-woman dyad is God the primary creator, and all fully creative (ie procreative - ie productive of pre-mortal spirit children) gods likewise.

So I would expect the resurrected ascended Jesus to marry in a divine sense, and it would be consistent that he also married while mortal - and the same woman. And that's what the fourth gospel says.

This is (one strand of) Mormon theology, and as you may know I believe in the truth of that revelation.

Of course all this must be tested by individual intuitive discernment.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Moons. The two Jesus idea assumes that the Nativity stories of both Matthew and Luke are both correct, and "John" is wrong. I assume that "John" is true, therefore that Jesus was born in Nazareth in (presumably) unremarkable circumstances, and was not distinguished or known to be the Saviour until he was baptised age 30.

Mat and Luke nativities are, I presume, later distortions caused by trying to fit Jesus into pre-existing Messiah and millennial Jewish expectations. Rather than what Jesus actually taught, and did.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

My further comments on this are becoming much too lengthy for a comment and will probably end up as a post on my own blog.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm Good, that's what I hoped would happen!

Anonymous said...

I always thought that rabbis were expected to be married. And Jesus was the ultimate rabbi. Would anyone have listened to an unmarried rabbi?