A couple of weeks ago I preached on John the Baptist at Crosspointe. It probably should have been a series — there was a ton of stuff I had to leave out so that we could be out of the gym in time for Children’s Church on Sunday morning.
I read a lot of stuff while preparing for the message — some of it very enlightening, some of it not so. For anybody who found any of it interesting and wants to dig deeper, here are some of the more interesting articles/sermons/etc. that I found. (I’ll be posting the actual message (text) in the next week or so.)
(links after the jump)
Online commentaries are great — they’re searchable, and they don’t need lots of shelves to hold them. Two of my favorite sites for such commentaries are Crosswalk and the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Here’s a few to explore:
- Crosswalk.com: Exposition of the Bible: Luke — John Gill [1697-1771]
- CCEL: From the Talmud and Hebraica — Gordon Lightfoot [1602-1675]
- CCEL: A Life of Christ  — Augustus Neander
- CCEL: Word Pictures in the New Testament: Luke — A.T. Robertson
I came across the site Journey With Jesus and really enjoyed the short essays presented here:
- John the Baptist: Divine Wisdom from the Lunatic Fringe
- The Baptism of Jesus: A Vision and a Voice
- Wading Into the Waters: The Baptism of Jesus
Here’s an interesting set of thoughts on baptism, including the function of baptism in Jewish conversion today:
Dr. James Tabor is a professor and archaeologist specializing in the origins of Christianity. His site The Jewish-Roman World of Jesus has some interesting articles on John the Baptist, Jewish history and culture, and Roman culture at the time of Jesus, among loads of other material:
- Essays on John the Baptizer
- The Roman World of Jesus: An Overview
- The Jewish World of Jesus: An Overview (this was the main source for my 3-minute lesson in Jewish History)
The John the Baptist entry from the Catholic Encyclopedia contains a lot of interesting apocryphal tradition on JB — particularly how Mary and Elizabeth (JB’s mother) were related, and how JB was “cleansed from the stain of original sin” while still in the womb.
This article from Jesus: A Historical Reconstruction contains some interesting commentary and history. The author’s view is that Jesus was not the Messiah, but that he took up John the Baptist’s ministry after JB was executed. What I really found interesting is the postscript and link to this page about the Mandeans, a small religious sect in the middle east that traces its roots back to the disciples of John the Baptist.
To the Ends of the Earth: The Baptism of Jesus contains a lot of description of the physical area where John the Baptist operated, the historical significance of the desert to the Jews and other commentary on the story of Jesus’ baptism.
As always, your comments are welcome.