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Matthew 3:1-3

May 16, 2011

The first remarkable thing from Matthew 3 is that John the Baptist is recorded preaching the same message as Jesus: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is very interesting when compared to Mark 15:43. There’s a lot of speculation as to what Joseph of Arimathea’s “waiting for the kingdom of God” might have been. Well, I don’t know if Mark and Matthew would agree on this, but according to Matthew, that would probably mean that Joseph of Arimathea was a follower of John the Baptist. If Joseph of Arimathea was a follower of Jesus also, however, he wouldn’t have been condemning to Jesus to death in Mark 14:53 and 64. Of course, Matthew and John say that Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus, but they don’t say that Joseph was a member  of the Jewish council or that all the council members condemned Jesus to death.

Another indication that Mark may also have associated John the Baptist with the teaching of the kingdom of God is Acts 18:25 and 19:1-5. I know that Acts doesn’t necessarily represent Mark’s views anymore than Matthew does, but the the two Christian writings of Matthew and Acts might give us a glimpse of the theology of fellow Christian writing Mark.

Matthew 3:3’s claim that Isaiah spoke of John the Baptist in Isaiah 40 is hard to believe. However, since Isaiah’s prediction could probably not be said to have been fulfilled by anything else, Matthew’s claim is not clearly incorrect. The fulfillment of Isaiah would certainly be looked for from those who believed the prophecies of Isaiah and took them literally.

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