Friday, December 09, 2011

Thought of the Day: “No-man baptized Jesus.”

The author of John’s Gospel, in his description of John the Baptist, took a figurative page out of the poet Homer’s playbook.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus tells the Cyclops, who intends to eat and otherwise brutalize his crew, that his name is “No-man.” Then, when they blind the Cyclops and escape, the Cyclops cries out to his brothers, “No-man has blinded me.” For that reason they do not come to his aid, after all, no man had blinded them either.
Likewise, John the Baptist, in never explicitly baptizing Jesus in John’s Gospel, becomes a “No-man” as well. One of the sticky points of the relationship between John and Jesus is that Jesus appears to be John’s disciple, and even receives baptism for repentance and forgiveness of sin, not something Christians who are developing a higher Christology would find palatable; hence, this move in John that eliminates the act of Baptism. Further, John affirms again and again in this gospel that he is not X nor Y. He diminishes himself to the point that you could call him a No-man.
Thus, it could be said, “No-man baptized Jesus.”