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Jesus the Baptist

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image of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

This article seeks to address unresolved issues regarding Jesus' involvement in baptism, beginning by arguing that, on being baptized, Jesus became a close continuing disciple of John in a wilderness-based ministry. As Jesus affirmed John's ministry with its emphasis on baptism, and the Johannine tradition conveyed the view that Jesus baptized (Jn 3.22-23), which might explain Acts 18.24–19.7, it is likely Jesus took up John's baptism, his message and some miracle working. Following John's arrest, which Jesus interpreted as an event of eschatological significance, Jesus launched his early Galilean ministry among the villagers. Initially Jesus preached an unrealized, future reign of God, and continued baptizing. With an increasing scale of miraculous activity associated with his ministry, Jesus concluded that the kingdom of God had come, at least to some extent. At the same time, Jesus concluded that the preparatory rite of baptism was no longer needed.


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