Baptised at the beginning

κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν

Mark 1:4

Perhaps one reason why Jesus’ baptism by John stands at the beginning here (one reason why it was found fitting for a Gospel to begin like this; one reason why the idea of Jesus’ ministry starting with his baptism took such strong hold) is that baptism was the beginning for Mark’s community as well. Baptism was what had happened when they heard the voice crying in the wilderness: it was their making-straight, their crossing of the Jordan. It was where they repented, confessed their sins – and were drawn into the orbit of Jesus, the coming of YHWH. That this stands here establishes (wittingly or unwittingly) a connection between the readers/hearers and what they are reading/hearing: the baptized reading the story of one baptized – those who have repented, and prepared themselves for the coming of God, reading/hearing of the form taken by the coming of God. One way of summarising the import of this whole text, therefore, could be: This is what you have let yourself in for.

One Thought on “Baptised at the beginning

  1. Noting your interest in Biblical exposition & hermeneutics, I wondered if you might be interested in my blogs – (this is my academic work for a PhD) & (this is part of my work as a pastor).

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