Commentary of Mark 1:1-11

About: this paper was delivered to Professor Peter Rodgers at Fuller Theological Seminary during my second year for a class on Exegetical Methods. Paper below the jump.

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Mark 1:1-11

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God. As it was written in the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, I am sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way. A voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight’.” John was present in the wilderness baptizing and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. And all the land of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were coming out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River while confessing their sins. And John was wearing camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and he was eating locusts and wild honey. And while speaking he proclaimed, “One mightier than me is coming after me, of whom I am not worthy to stoop down to loosen the straps of his sandals. I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” And it happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John, and immediately, while rising up from the water, he saw the heavens splitting and the Spirit coming down onto him like a dove, and a voice came from the heavens, “You are my only son. I am well pleased with you.”


1:1 – Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εύαγγελίου – The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God. Ἀρχὴ is anarthrous. Every time it is used in Mark, it never has the article, and it is always translated as definite. Ἀρχὴ is defined by τοῦ εύαγγελίου. This is the beginning of the good news. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is the subject of τοῦ εύαγγελίου. The good news is concerning Jesus Christ. It is possible that Mark 1:1 stops with Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ and υἱοῦ θεοῦ was not part of the original text, but it is not likely. Textual witnesses not containing υἱοῦ θεοῦ are א, Θ, and Origen. It appears that in light of the evidence of א‭ ‬and Origen, the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) omits υἱοῦ θεοῦ in its translation, leaving the verse in this way: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah.”  However, B, D, and A include υἱοῦ θεοῦ. The New International Version (NIV), King James Version (KJV), New Living Translation (NLT), and New American Standard Bible (NASB) all include υἱοῦ θεοῦ in their translations. Since the support for υἱοῦ θεοῦ is broad, having Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine support, and it can account for the absence in the three aforementioned witnesses as homoiteleuton, where scribes would have allowed it to drop out due to the long string of genitives, we should accept it as part of the original text. Furthermore, the gospel as a whole allows for its inclusion since the Sonship of Jesus is a key theme throughout. υἱοῦ θεοῦ is a title of Jesus Christ, identifying him as the Son of God.

It is important to note the connection between this opening verse and the birth statement of Caesar Augustus in the Roman emperor cult. The Priene incription comes from 9 BC; it identifies Caesar as a savior and as a god, who was the beginning for the world of good news (Evans 2003, 1066). The language of Mark 1:1 echoes this Priene inscription (2003, 1066). Mark 1:1 is an attempt to challenge the claims of the Roman emperor cult (2003, 1066).

1:2 – Καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ – As it is written in the prophet Isaiah. Mark includes the reference to the prophet Isaiah, whereas Matthew and Luke do not. Matthew and Luke only reference Malachi 3:1 and they make no mention of Isaiah 40:3. The conjunction Καθὼς connects Mark 1:1 with the quotations in 1:2-3 (France 2002, 50). Therefore, the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God, is tied to the quotations that follow. If Mark 1:1 is to be understood as the title of the whole gospel, we must not neglect its immediate connection with 1:2-3. Some textual witnesses have in the prophets as opposed to in the prophet Isaiah. The KJV follows this variant, but the NIV, NLT, TNIV, and NASB all have Isaiah as the reference. To take Isaiah out of the reference was clearly an attempt to get rid of confusion since Malachi 3:1 is also quoted in 1:2, and that before Isaiah.

ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν πρὸ προσώπου σου ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου – Behold, I am sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way. This quotation comes from Malachi 3:1, and it echoes Exodus 23:20, which also echoes the wilderness (France 2002, 63). God is speaking here, and he proclaims that he will send a messenger who will prepare the way. This quotation is paired with a quotation from Isaiah 40:3.

1:3 – φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ – A voice crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” The messenger from Malachi 3:1 is the voice crying out in the wilderness who proclaims, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” This quotation is from the Septuagint of Isaiah 40:3 (Gould 1896, 5).

Note the use of way and paths in Mark 1:2-3. This theme is identified to be the gospel of Jesus Christ mentioned in 1:1 (Edwards 2002, 28-9). The quotations themselves are used to demonstrate that the kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus is the culmination of Jewish history, of which its prophecies pointed to Jesus (Gould 1896, 5). Therefore, Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1 (and Exodus 23:20) together are the Ἀρχὴ from Mark 1:1. The gospel of Jesus Christ did not start with the incarnation, but with the Old Testament.

1:4 – Ἰωάννης ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ βαπτίζων καὶ κηρύσσων – John the Baptizer was in the wilderness and was preaching. Many have argued the Gospel of Mark refers to John as Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτίζων, so that ὁ βαπτίζων is his title. They argue that while the textual witnesses are split, the article should be included in 1:4. By taking into account the style of Mark, it is argued that we find this is the favorite way of identifying John in the gospel narrative (Elliot 1993, 192). They say it is easy to see that due to the influence of Matthew and Luke, which refer to John in the noun form (βαπτιστής) as opposed to Mark who refers to him in the participial form (βαπτίζων), it was likely for scribes to change to the more popular title in the noun form (1993, 191). Being more familiar with the noun form, it is likely that scribes did not recognize ὁ βαπτίζων as a title for John in 1:4, so they attempted to clean up the verse by omitting the article and make βαπτίζων parallel with κηρύσσων by joining it with καὶ it is argued (1993, 192). However, this argument is not satisfactory.

The text does not necessarily support the use of a title. The inclusion of καὶ makes the understanding of the participle βαπτίζων tied to κηρύσσων. Furthermore, the rest of this section does not refer to John as the Baptizer; at times the Gospel of Mark finds it necessary to refer to John as the Baptizer or the Baptist, but not every time does it give him this title. This section refers to ὁ Ἰωάννης (1:6) and Ἰωάννου (1:9) in addition to Ἰωάννης here. There is no reason to identify him as the Baptizer since no other John has been mentioned yet. While Matthew uses the noun form in the parallel text (3:1), Luke does not refer to John as one associated with baptism, but rather with his father, Zachariah (3:2). Furthermore, the way ἐγένετο is translated affects whether or not we should understand the participle as a title. If we translate it at the beginning of the sentence as we do later on in the section in 1:9, it becomes, “It happened that John the one baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming . . .” However, this is awkward. It is better to place it at the end, so that it becomes, “John, the one baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming . . . was present.” But this is true only if we keep the article. There is no reason for us to keep the article if we are not going to maintain that the participle functions as John’s title. The title is not necessary. If it actually is a title, the rest of the section is not concerned with it. If we do not include the article, then ἐγένετο becomes, “John appeared in the wilderness baptizing and proclaiming . . .” The dative ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ is a dative of place, identifying where John was present. It is significant that D, which is more expansive, does not include the article. It is also significant that the majority of the Byzantine texts do not include the article, and neither does A or W. Furthermore, Θ does not have the article. In favor of the article are א, B, L, and Δ. The textual witnesses are seemingly split. The inclusion of the article, however, can be explained by the attempt to identify βαπτίζων as the title of John, which would need the article. The evidence is mixed among the textual witnesses, and although the text is best supported as having the article, it can be argued that the article does not belong in the text, especially if one does not see the necessity for a title to be present. The NIV and KJV do not translate the participle as the title for John, but instead they treat βαπτίζων and κηρύσσων as parallel. This translation is supported by the inclusion of καὶ, because it joins the two participles as a dual action of John as present in the narrative. The majority of the textual witnesses include καὶ. The one major exception is B, which does not include καὶ but does include the article. If the article is included it is hard to see the need for καὶ. Yet the textual witnesses are stronger in support for καὶ than for the article. Since καὶ fits the text nicely between the two masculine nominative present participles, and because it has early and broad textual support, we can be confident that it belongs in the text. Given that it belongs in the original text, we have to consider the article in light of this confidence. The use of καὶ between the participles desires a parallel translation, which does not easily allow for βαπτίζων to be attached to the article and understood as a title. The NASB, TNIV, and NLT all take the participle as the title for John, and they treat κηρύσσων as a parenthetical phrase relating to ἐγένετο. No matter how we understand the original text, the context clearly indicates that John was present in the wilderness baptizing and proclaiming, no matter how the text is determined here in 1:4. Since the use of βαπτίζων at this time is still in the introduction to Mark, it is at least possible that Mark was not using it as a title here but rather to define his action, and since he was so well known for this action, later in Mark he was defined with the title to clarify who he was so that the title echoed his function out in the wilderness.

The wilderness theme is important. John the Baptizer is immediately identified as the messenger from Malachi 3:1 and the voice who cries out in the wilderness from Isaiah 40:3. John the Baptizer is the one who prepares the way of the Lord. It is with the coming of John that we know the coming of the Lord is immanent. The wilderness itself is significant. It was a place of renewal, of hope and new beginnings (France 2002, 57). It was where God made the people who came out of Egypt his own (2002, 57). It was where Israel learned to trust God for protection and provision (2002, 57). It was where God prepared the way for his people (Edwards 2002, 27). Thus, from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, John the Baptizer’s presence in the wilderness is linked with this renewal theme, which is a preparation for the coming of the Lord.

βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν – a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. This baptism was different from the common ritual washings that were regular and repeated (France 2002, 66). It was different because it was performed by an outside agent, John the Baptizer, whereas the ritual washings were administered by the individual (2002, 68). Furthermore, John’s was a baptism of repentance. It signified moral and spiritual renewal, which fits his presence in the wilderness (Edwards 2002, 30). His baptism was a practice of moral reform (2002, 31). Repentance itself was the inward act, but his baptism was the outward sign of that inward act (Gould 1896, 6). He preached a baptism of repentance for the purpose (εἰς) of forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness of sins dealt with the cancellation of the guilt of sin (BDAG, 155). His baptism involved the forgiveness of sins in some way or another. In Matthew, John proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has come” (3:2). However, Luke retains the βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν (3:3), but it also adds the connection to Isaiah 40:3 in Luke 3:4. Matthew brings in Isaiah 40:3 as John quotes it in his proclamation in Matthew 3:3.

1:5 – καὶ ἡ Ἰουδαία πᾶσα χώρα καὶ οἱ Ἱεροσολυμῖται πάντες ἐξεπορεύετο πρὸς αὐτὸν καἰ ἐβαπτιίζοντο ὑπ᾽αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ ποταμῷ ἐξομολογοὐμενοι τὰς ἁμαρτἰας αὐτῶν – And all the land of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were coming out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, while confessing their sins. It is interesting that the people of Judea and Jerusalem were leaving the central hub of the Jewish universe to meet John the Baptizer out in the wilderness. The fact that they went out to him and not vice versa is striking as well. As indicated already, they were being baptized by John, which is different from the regular ritual washings in Judaism. They were confessing their sins, which is contemporary or simultaneous with their being baptized by John. The NIV, KJV, TNIV, and NASB takes ἐξομολογοὐμενοι as contemporaneous to ἐξεπορεύετο. The NLT takes ἐξομολογοὐμενοι as temporal with a past tense, like this: “And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.” However, the present tense of ἐξομολογοὐμενοι indicates a simultaneous action with ἐβαπτιίζοντο and should be translated as “while confessing,” but it does not mean that the people were baptized as they were actually confessing their sins. The confession and the baptism were simply bound up as a unit; the text does not indicate which action happened first. Matthew contains this same contemporary participial phrase in 3:6.

1:6 – καὶ ὁ Ἰωάννης ἦν ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσθίων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον – And John was wearing camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist and he was eating locusts and wild honey. Neither Matthew or Luke contain the reference to John’s clothing or diet as Mark does here in 1:6. This statement regarding the clothes reinforces John’s prophetic image (France 2002, 69). It echoes 1 Kings 1:8, which identifies that Elijah wore hair and a belt (Edwards 2002, 32). Mark is identifying John the Baptizer with Elijah. The statement regarding the diet demonstrates, if anything, John’s character. He was a man of the wild and survived, apparently, off of the land, though still within the limits of the Law.

1:7 – Καὶ λέγων ἐκήρυσσεν ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου – and while speaking, he proclaimed, “One mightier than me is coming after me.” While he was speaking to those he was baptizing, he proclaimed that someone else would come after him, and that one would be greater than John. λέγων is contemporaneous with ἐκήρυσσεν; it is possible to not even translate λέγων since the main action is synonymous with it, but to match the style of the text it is appropriate to keep it in the translation.  ἰσχυρότερός indicates one who is stronger either physically, spiritually or mentally, and in this case it indicates someone who would be stronger spiritually (BDAG, 480). ἔρχεται indicates that the coming of the ἰσχυρότερός was immanent (Cranfield 1959, 48). Furthermore, the coming of the Lord was seen as immanent since the messenger was in the wilderness preparing the way. The proclamation of the messenger reinforces this immanent coming.

οὗ ἱκανὸς οὐκ εἰμὶ κύψας λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ – of whom I am not worthy to stoop down to loosen the straps of his sandals. John makes a comparison between himself and the immanent ἰσχυρότερός. He humbly declares himself not even fit to perform the role of a Gentile slave to the ἰσχυρότερός (Edwards 2002, 33). Matthew has a different account of this humbling statement than Mark and Luke. Mark and Luke (3:16) both say that John humbly admits he is not worthy of untying the sandal straps of the ἰσχυρότερός, whereas Matthew (3:11) says John admits that he is not worthy to carry the sandals of the ἰσχυρότερός.

1:8 – ἐγὼ ἐβάπτισα ὐμᾶς ὕδατι. δὲ αὐτὸς βαπτίσει ὐμᾶς πνεύματι ἁγίῳ – I baptized you with water. But he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. John makes an additional comparison that demonstrates further the superiority of ἰσχυρότερός. This comparison is regarding baptism. Matthew (3:11) and Luke (3:16) says that John claimed that the ἰσχυρότερός will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, and they make no mention to his own baptism in contrast. In Mark, John’s baptism was with water, which is in contradistinction to the baptism of the ἰσχυρότερός who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. The aorist ἐβάπτισα does not indicate that John had ceased baptizing, but it probably indicated that he was talking to those he had already baptized and so it was appropriate to use the aorist. John contrasts the two baptisms, which is evident in the contrastive δὲ. The baptism of the ἰσχυρότερός is inward, not outward (France 2002, 71). In other words, it is spiritual not physical. John’s baptism was preliminary or preparatory, meaning it was of lesser significance than the spiritual baptism of the ἰσχυρότερός (2002, 71). John’s baptism was paving the way for a permanent and more powerful reality to come in the baptism of the ἰσχυρότερός. Furthermore, John’s baptism was symbolic; it outwardly expressed an inward reality. His was a ritual or physical expression, but the baptism of the ἰσχυρότερός is strictly a spiritual or inward reality (Gould 1896, 2). The baptism of the ἰσχυρότερός is of greater significance for the sole reason that the bestowal of the Holy Spirit was the action of God in the Old Testament (Edwards 2002, 33). To say that the ἰσχυρότερός would baptize with the Holy Spirit was tantamount to identifying him as God.

1:9 – Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας – And it happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee. The ἰσχυρότερός abruptly enters the scene at this point in the narrative, but only the readers  already familiar with the story of the good news of Jesus Christ know this to be true. The text itself does not yet identify this Jesus of Nazareth as the ἰσχυρότερός. In fact, the text lends to the idea that this Jesus is certainly not the ἰσχυρότερός. Jesus comes from Nazareth, a town in Galilee that was very much incomparable to Jerusalem. Jesus was sort of a “nobody” who came from an obscure town. This Jesus would not have been a good fit for the ἰσχυρότερός John mentioned in his proclamation (France 2002, 75).

καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη ὑπὸ Ἰωάννου εἱς τὸν Ἰορδάνην – and he was baptized by John in the Jordan. If the former clause in 1:9 did not entirely convince the readers that Jesus was not the ἰσχυρότερός, this current one does. To be baptized by John would likely disqualify Jesus as the ἰσχυρότερός in the readers’ minds (France 2002, 75). It is often speculated as to why Jesus was baptized, but the text does not give us any real answers. We know that it happened, and it was apparently necessary, but beyond that we do not know. The NLT improperly translates the Greek text, taking the passive βαπτίσθη and translating it as an active, in this this way: “One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.” The NIV, KJV, TNIV, and NASB all properly translate βαπτίσθη in the passive.

1:10 – καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδεν τοὺς οὐρανοὺς σχιζομένους καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν ὠς περιστερὰν – and immediately while rising up from the water he saw the heavens splitting and the Spirit coming down onto him like a dove. Here we see the Gospel of Mark’s first stylistic use of εὐθὺς. Luke omits the rising up theme and adds an element of prayer in the baptism of Jesus (3:21). Matthew retains Mark’s use of εὐθὺς, although there is a textual variant in Matthew regarding its use (3:16). Only the KJV and NASB retain the use of εὐθὺς in their translations of Mark. The NIV, NLT, and TNIV either ignore it, “As Jesus was coming up out of the water” (NIV and NLT), translating the participle as simultaneous with εἶδεν, or a more colloquial phrase is used, “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water” (TNIV). Any of these translations is acceptable. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting open. Matthew and Luke do not use the same verb in reference to the heavens. Whereas Mark uses σχίζω, “to tear open” (BDAG, 981), Matthew (3:16) and Luke (3:21) use ἀνοίγω, “to render something accessible or open” (BDAG, 84).

The vision in Mark is reminiscent of Ezekiel 1:1 and Isaiah 63:19 (64:1 in English texts; France 2002, 77). The vision in Ezekiel, also by a river, saw the heavens open. Isaiah is a plea for God to tear open the heavens and come down. At the baptism God tore open the heavens and came down. Not only did Jesus see the heavens splitting, but he also so the Spirit coming down onto him, which is significant. The Spirit was given by God to particular people in the Old Testament, but it was an identifying marker of the Messiah, such as in Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; and 61:1 (France 2002, 77). Texts like these identify the expectation that the Messiah would be endowed with the Spirit (Edwards 2002, 36). Thus, Jesus is marked out as the Messiah when the Spirit comes down and rests on him (France 2002, 77). This theme of splitting is also found in the Testament of Levi and other Jewish texts. It appears during cataclysmic demonstrations of God’s power, like the splitting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14:21, Moses’ splitting of the rock in Isaiah 48:21, the splitting of the Mount of Olives on the Day of the Lord in Zechariah 14:4, or the descent of the heavenly man in Joseph and Aseneth 14:3 (Edwards 2002, 35-6). The splitting is significant precisely because it marks an incident of utmost importance.

That the Spirit was visible like a dove may only mean that Jesus could see the Spirit, but it does not necessarily mean anything more (Evans 2003, 1067). It could be possible that it echoes Genesis where Noah sends out a dove, but the vocabulary does not match, and it is difficult to say whether or not this was intended by the author.

1:11 – καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός ὁ ἀγαπητός μου εὐδόκησα ἐν σοὶ – and a voice came from the heavens, “You are my only son; I am well pleased with you.” The fact that a voice is coming from the heavens stands in stark contrast to the voice that came from the wilderness. In contrast to the words that came from the wilderness, the words that are to follow in 1:11 stand out as being of utmost importance (France 2002, 79). Some textual witnesses do not have the verb ἐγένετο, such as the original hand of א, and D. Others have ἠκούσθη instead, such as Θ and 28. It is likely that the text did not originally include ἐγένετο, although it seems that it was at least implied, because D, which is normally expansive, is shorter, and the original, earlier copy of א‭ ‬omits it, and the other variants can be explained by scribal attempts to clarify what the action of the voice from heaven was. The text used above is supported by the second correct of א, A, B, and L. Matthew and Luke differ from Mark and from each other. Matthew supplies λέγουσα, “saying” (3:17). Luke supplies γενέσθαι, “came” (3:22). Given Matthew and Luke’s practice of supplying an action, it is possible that Mark would have supplied ἐγένετο, but the evidence does not strongly support its inclusion. The NLT does not use either, but instead supplies “said.” The NIV, KJV, TNIV, and NASB retain the use of ἐγένετο, or at least they might supply it as an implied verb.

The statement, “You are my only son; I am well pleased with you,” comes from the heavens. Luke follows Mark here, while Matthew puts the statement a little differently. Matthew has “This is my only son, in whom I am well pleased” (3:17), which is different from the use use of the second person in Mark and Luke (3:22). The first clause of the statement is probably from Psalm 2:7 and Genesis 22:2 (Evans 2003, 1067). Psalm 2:7 says, “You are my Son; today have I begotten you.” The first clause of the heavenly statement in 1:11 is quite close with the first clause in Psalm 2:7. The addition of ἀγαπητός probably comes from Genesis 22:2. It reads, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.” In the Septuagint, only is ἀγαπητός. The original meaning of ἀγαπητός is only (Turner 1930, 13). We must beware of the NIV, KJV, NLT, TNIV, and NASB, which all translate ἀγαπητός as a referent to one being loved and without the idea of only. The noun ἀγάπη was a Christian creation; it is rarely found in the Septuagint and not found in classical Greek literature. Aristotle used it of an only son in Ethics and of the only eye of a one-eyed man in Rhetoric (Turner 1930, 13). The Septuagint uses ἀγαπητός as only in Genesis 22:2, 12, 16; Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 6:26; and Zechariah 12:10 (1930, 13). For the purposes of this section of the Gospel of Mark, ἀγαπητός ought to be translated as only. Jesus is identified by the voice from the heavens as the only son. The heavenly voice at the baptism declared Jesus to be God’s son, and anointed and equipped him with God’s Spirit (Edwards 2002, 39).

The latter part of the baptism, Mark 1:10-11, which is based on Isaiah 63:19 (64:1 in English texts), contains all the elements of the Testament of Levi. The Testament of Levi says, “The heavens will be opened, and from the temple of glory sanctification will come upon him, with a fatherly voice, as from Abraham to Isaac. And the glory of the Most High shall burst forth upon him. And the Spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him [in the water]. For he shall give the majesty of the Lord to those who are his sons in truth forever” (18:6-8; Charlesworth, 1.795). This text expands Isaiah 63:19 (Edwards 2002, 35). In Jewish tradition, the splitting of the heavens, the giving of the Spirit, and the voice from heaven signify the inauguration of the kingdom of God (2002, 34). Therefore, Jesus is seen as the inaugurator of the kingdom of God in 1:10-11, especially because the heavens have opened and the Spirit has come forth (2002, 34). He is clearly identified as the ἰσχυρότερός, despite coming from Nazareth and being baptized by John.


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