Gospels Cut from Jewish Scriptures, #4

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by Neil Godfrey

Here we look at the sources in the Jewish Scriptures for:

a. John the Baptist

b. the Baptism of Jesus

c. the wedding at Cana

d. the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness

The table is primarily a translation and slight modification of pages 183-226 of Nanine Charbonnel’s Jésus-Christ, sublime figure de paper. All posts archived here.
Luke 3:1-6; Matthew 3:1-16: John the Baptist the precursor [prodromos] of the Messiah = Malachi 3:1: “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way [epiblepsetai odon] before me.
Luke 3:3; Matthew 3; baptism by John = future time, Ezekiel 36:25, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean…”
Mark 1; Matthew 3:11, the announcement by John of a baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire. = “That the Divine Spirit was to rest in a peculiar measure on the Messiah, was an expectation necessarily resulting from the notion, that the messianic times were to be those of the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh (Joel iii. iff.)” [Strauss, II, ii, 51]
John 1:29, John the Baptists says of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” = Isaiah 53:7 “like a lamb to the slaughter”
John Baptizes Jesus The Messiah must be anointed by Elijah. cf Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 8: “But Christ — if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere — is unknown, and does not even know Himself, and has no power until Elias come to anoint Him, and make Him manifest to all. And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing.
Baptism of Jesus = crossing the Red Sea, a new Moses, a new people of Israel
in the Jordan = crossing the Jordan with a new Jesus/Joshua (Joshua 1:2; 4)
Mark 1: the heavens are rent

the sky opens

= Isaiah 64:1 (that you would rend the heavens and come down)

= the opening of the Book of Ezekiel, beside the river

= Exodus 40:34, the cloud descending on the newly anointed tabernacle

the spirit descends = Isaiah 11:2; 61:1; 42:1 “Here is my servant, my chosen one; I have put my spirit on him”
in the form of a dove = Genesis 1:2 “the spirit hovered over the waters” + Targum Qoelet 2:12: the dove is the symbol of the holy spirit (Strauss, II. 2, 51)
the voice calls, “the Beloved Son” = the royal investiture (Psalm 2:7 “You are my son. Today I have begotten you.”) +

to Abraham: your only son, your well-beloved (Genesis 22:2)

Matthew 3:17 “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” = Isaiah 42:1 “my chosen one in whom I delight”


the People of God are His well-beloved:

LXX Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5, 26

Isaiah 44:2

LXX Psalm 59:7; 107:7

Baruch 3:37

Luke 3:23 Jesus was about [ὡσεὶ (hōsei)] thirty years old when he began his ministry ὡσεὶ (hōsei) = “like”, not necessarily “about”. Compare David who was 30 years old when he became king: 2 Samuel 5:4; and the age when the priests could begin to take their responsibilities in the tabernacle (from 30 years) Numbers 4:3
Jesus began to travel throughout the region when he was 30 years. = the new Joseph (Genesis 41:46). Joseph was 30 years when he began to travel throughout Egypt; Origen — he was 30 years when released from prison.
John 2: The Wedding at Cana = Amos, Hosea, Isaiah — all announce the banquet of the renewal of the covenant


See also Mary and the Cana Wedding for more midrashic connection

Mary: “Do everything that he tells you” = the new Joseph (Pharaoh to the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do all that he tells you” (Genesis 41:55)
“Woman” (John 2:4) = the new Eve

= the people of Israel

“they have no more wine” Genesis 27:28; Genesis 49:11 At the messianic banquet there will be an abundance of new wine, freely given
the six stone jars the six days of creation
the purification of the Jews wine replaces the water of the law
“you have kept the good wine” The Jews, when they read the story of Isaac’s blessing in the synagogical version, spoke of the wine that God had created from the beginning of creation and that he had put in reserve under his throne. This tradition was repeated in the synagogical version of the Song of Songs. One of the signs which made it possible to recognize the Messiah was precisely the gift of the wine put in reserve from the beginnings of creation. (Google translation, Manns, p. 75)
Mark 1:6 “In the wilderness, among the wild beasts” = the new Adam, Genesis 2:20 +

Isaiah 11:6-9 — all the animals reconciled

Matthew 4: the three temptations in the wilderness = the three temptations of the people in the desert: Exodus 24 + Deuteronomy 8:2 — “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you” + 

the new Adam, Genesis 3:5, tempted by the serpent

Luke 4:1-2 — forty days = Elijah 1 Kings 19:8 — forty days in the desert

= Deuteronomy 8:2 — 40 years for Israel in the desert +

Exodus 24:18 — 40 days was Moses on Mount Sinai

= the time for spiritual combat: Genesis 7:17 (40 days of Flood), Jonah 3:4 (Jonah pronounces doom on Assyria in 40 days)

First temptation: the bread (Jesus cites Deuteronomy 8:3, from the LXX) recognition of manna, which represents the law: Exodus 16
The request for a miracle (Jesus cites Deuteronomy 6:16) The people of Israel doubt at the oasis of Massah (Exodus 17)
Second temptation: on the mountain Psalm 91:11-12 “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” + 

Ezekiel 40:2 “In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city”

Third temptation: on the Temple, commanded to worship Satan (Jesus cites Deuteronomy 6:13) Ezekiel 8:14 The prophet is transported in spirit to the Temple in Jerusalem; +

the new Moses on Mount Nebo. Deuteronomy 34:1 — from the top of the mountain the Lord showed him all the land +

Exodus 32: the people worship the golden calf

Angels serve him = Elijah at Horeb (1 Kings 19:5)


Future posts will continue this series.

Charbonnel, Nanine. 2017. Jésus-Christ, Sublime Figure de Papier. Paris: Berg International éditeurs.

Manns, Frédéric. 1994. Jésus, Fils De David: Les Évangiles, Leur Contexte Juif Et Les Pères De L’église. Paris: Mediaspaul.

Strauss, David Friedrich. 1892. The Life of Jesus Critically Examined. 2nd ed. London: Swan Sonnenschein.

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