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John the Baptist’s Final Testimony

John the Baptist’s Final Testimony

Excerpt
These verses, in placing the activities of Jesus and John alongside each other, provide the setting which will lead to the dialogue introducing John’s testimony. Jesus moves with his disciples from Jerusalem, where the conversation with Nicodemus has been set, into the Judaean countryside and there he baptized. For those familiar with the Synoptic tradition, this description of Jesus’ activity would strike a surprising note, since nowhere in the Synoptics is Jesus said to have baptized. For the historical issues raised by such a statement and its later qualification in 4:2, see the discussion below after the comments on this pericope. John’s similar activity is next introduced. He also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. John’s baptizing in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan was mentioned earlier in 1:25–8. Now he has moved north, leaving Jesus baptizing in the general area of the lower Jordan valley where he had previously been. The two most likely original sites of Salim are both in Samaria—either near ancient Bethshan or Scythopolis in northern Samaria on the west side of the Jordan, or just to the east of Shechem, an area in which there were many springs. The apparently superfluous note—for John had not yet been thrown into prison—is best seen as underscoring, for those familiar with the Synoptic tradition where Jesus is portrayed as only beginning his own ministry after John’s imprisonment (cf. Mark 1:14Matt. 4:12Luke 3:20), that the present story has to be set in an earlier period in which the two figures were operating… More
Lincoln, Andrew T. The Gospel according to Saint John. London: Continuum, 2005. Print. Black’s New Testament Commentary.
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