John 4:2
(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
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(2) Though Jesus himself baptized not.—This is a correction, not of the writer’s statement, but of the report carried to the Pharisees. The form of the report is quite natural. John did personally baptise, and when multitudes thronged him, it is probable that his disciples assisted. Greater numbers still (John 3:26) were thronging to the baptism administered ministerially by the disciples of Jesus. (Comp. Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5; 1Corinthians 1:15-17.) They had been drawn to Him by His teaching and miracles in Jerusalem and the country round about, and they spoke of receiving His baptism. But the writer cannot let the report appear in his Gospel without correction. There was a reason which they did not know for the fact that Jesus did not baptise with water, for it was He “which baptiseth with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33). and this power His disciples had not yet received (John 7:39).

4:1-3 Jesus applied himself more to preaching, which was the more excellent, 1Co 1:17, than to baptism. He would put honour upon his disciples, by employing them to baptize. He teaches us that the benefit of sacraments depends not on the hand that administers them.Though Jesus himself baptized not - The reason why Jesus did not baptize was probably because, if He had baptized, it might have made unhappy divisions among his followers: those might have considered themselves most worthy or honored who had been baptized by Him. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:17. 2. Jesus baptized not—John being a servant baptized with his own hand; Christ as the Master, "baptizing with the Holy Ghost," administered the outward symbol only through His disciples. For he himself did not personally baptize any, but left it to his disciples, himself attending to the greater work of preaching the gospel, by which men and women were made fit for the ordinance of baptism.

Though Jesus himself baptized not,.... And therefore as Nonnus observes, it was a false report that was made to the Pharisees; at least in part, so far as concerns the act of baptizing: though it may be this is observed, not so much to show the falsehood of that report, as to correct what is said of Christ's baptizing; lest it should be understood, as if he baptized in his own person; whereas he did not, that not so, well comporting with his greatness and majesty: wherefore "the king did not baptize in water", as Nonnus expresses it, but left that for his disciples and servants to do; he had other and greater work to perform, as to preach the Gospel, and work miracles, heal diseases, cast out devils, &c. And besides, had another sort of baptism, of a more excellent nature to administer, namely, the baptism of the Spirit; and since water baptism is administered in his name, as well as in the name of the Father and of the Spirit, it does not seem that it would have been administered with that propriety by himself, in his own name; add to which, as is also observed by others, it might have occasioned contentions and disputes among the baptized, had some, been baptized by Christ, and others by his disciples; the one valuing themselves on that account, above the others. The Persic version indeed suggests, as if both Christ and his disciples baptized, rendering the words thus, "Jesus was not alone who baptized, but the disciples also baptized": whereas the truth of the matter is, that Christ did not baptize in water at all:

but his disciples; they baptized in his name, and by his orders, such who were first made disciples by him.

(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
John 4:2. Here John inserts a clause corrective of one impression which this statement would make: καίτοιγεαὐτοῦ. καίτοιγε is slightly stronger than “although,” rather “although indeed”. Hoogeveen (De Particulis, p. 322) renders “quanquam re vera”; see also Paley, Greek Particles, pp. 67–8. τοι is the old form of τῷ, “hereby,” “truly,” “in fact”. The clause is inserted to remind us, as Bengel says, that “baptizare actio ministralis (cf. Paul’s refusal to baptise). Johannes minister suâ manu baptizavit, discipuli ejus, ut videtur, neminem; at Christus baptizat spiritu sancto.” So too Nonnus, who says that the king did not baptise with water. “By leaving the baptism of water to the apostles, He rendered the rite independent of His personal presence, and so provided for the maintenance of it in His Church after His departure,” Godet.

2. Jesus himself baptized not] Because baptizing is the work of a minister, not of the Lord. Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33).

John 4:2. Ἰησοῦς, Jesus) So the [Vulg.] Lat. Ἰησοῦς αὐτός is the reading of the Greeks [B: also of the old Lat. ab: Αὐτὸς Ἰης. is that of AD: and K inserts ]; αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Chrysost.—οὐκ ἐβάπτιζεν, did not baptize) To baptize, a ministerial action: Acts 10:48, “He, Peter, commanded them to be baptized” [sc. by subordinate ministers]; 1 Corinthians 1:17, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” John, being a minister [subordinate to Him], baptized with his own hand; his [Johns] disciples, as it seems, baptized none. But Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit.[71]

[71] ἀλλʼ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, but His disciples) It is delightful to observe in this passage, in what way the Saviour gradually led on His disciples to the discharge of ministerial duties. Their first province was that of baptizing (after the manner, as it were, of deacons”), in this place: then also to announce the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 10:7, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand): at length they were bound to publish abroad everywhere the full doctrine concerning Jesus Christ the Son of GOD, and His passion and resurrection.—Harm., p. 170.

John 4:2Though (καίτοιγε)

Literally, and yet. The report of Jesus' baptizing brought to the Baptist by his disciples is corrected.


The imperfect tense: it was not His practice to baptize.

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