Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The 8th Step-
The 8th Step
The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Why is the author careful to distinguish between the two separate domains of the countryside and the city?
Are these domains of countryside and city meant to mirror the domains of the heavens and the earth mentioned in Genesis 2:4 or are they more specialized, reflecting on Abram who stayed in the countryside and Lot who went into the cities?
Why are the words “sins” and “baptism” repeated from verse 4 here?
What is the nature of the sins that the people confess?
What is the domain of the Jordan River and how does that relate to the domains of the heavens and the earth and the countryside and the cities?
Level 1: People of all geographic and social locations are going out to John seeking the baptism of repentance that leads to the forgiveness of their sins.
Level 2: Both the spiritual descendants of Abraham, those who live in the countryside and the spiritual descendants of Lot, those who live in the cities, are going out to John, seeking the forgiveness of their sins. Confession is a crucial element in this baptism of repentance.Level 3: The author is using a series of contrasts: the heavens and the earth, the people of the countryside and the people of Jerusalem to set up the next verse in which John outlines the baptism of water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The contrast between the people of the countryside and the people of Jerusalem makes clear that all have sins they need to confess and receive forgiveness from. The religions institutions of the countryside and the city or equally inadequate.