Saturday, April 21, 2012

Delegating opportunities to baptize

You can find some interesting things when you compare the KJV to the JST.

Here are some verses as given in the KJV:

1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) (John 4:1-2)

Here are the verses that we ran across today in the JST that clarify the above:

1 When therefore the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

2 They sought more diligently some means that they might put him to death; for many received John as a prophet, but they believed not on Jesus.

3 Now the Lord knew this, though he himself baptized not so many as his disciples;

4 For he suffered them for an example, preferring one another. (John 4:1-4)

The difference between the JST and the KJV gives us several bits of information that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

First, it shows us that the Pharisees were keeping track of the size of the following of these grassroots leaders, and when they saw Jesus was making and baptizing more followers than John the Baptist had, they plotted Jesus’s death more intently. It seems they opposed Jesus from virtually the beginning of His ministry.

Second, while the KJV says that Jesus didn’t baptize, the JST says that Jesus did baptize. It confirms that baptism is an important ordinance and Jesus Himself performed it.

Third, these verses give us the intriguing information that Jesus allowed his disciples to baptize more than He baptized. He could have insisted on personally baptizing all of His disciples, but He didn’t. That makes me think that He wanted His disciples to get practice using their priesthood authority. “[H]e suffered them for an example” suggests that it may have been painful at times for Jesus to watch them, but He let them anyway, even allowing them to set their own examples for others.

This has a good message about delegating priesthood authority and opportunities to use that authority. Perhaps we underestimate the service an experienced priesthood leader does when he gives chances to use the priesthood to someone who is less experienced.


Trina said...

What a great message. We're excited when my son gets opportunities to use his priesthood and I love that my husband shares those. I HADN'T realized it spoke of that in the scriptures.

Sometimes I've thought the word suffer is similar to patience. In that sense I see him waiting patiently as they learned to use this authority. Just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing.