After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
All Commentaries on John 3:22 Go To John 3
1. Nothing can be clearer or mightier than the truth, just as nothing is weaker than falsehood, though it be shaded by ten thousand veils. For even so it is easily detected, it easily melts away. But truth stands forth unveiled for all that will behold her beauty; she seeks no concealment, dreads no danger, trembles at no plots, desires not glory from the many, is accountable to no mortal thing, but stands above them all, is the object of ten thousand secret plots, yet remains unconquerable, and guards as in a sure fortress these who fly to her by her own exceeding might, who avoids secret lurking places, and sets what is hers before all men. And this Christ conversing with Pilate declared, when He said, I ever taught openly, and in secret have I said nothing. John 18:20 As He spoke then, so He acted now, for, After this, says the Evangelist, He went forth and His disciples into the land of Judæa, and there He tarried with them and baptized. At the feasts He went up to the City to set forth in the midst of them His doctrines, and the help of His miracles; but after the feasts were over, He often went to Jordan, because many ran together there. For He ever chose the most crowded places, not from any love of show or vainglory, but because He desired to afford His help to the greatest number.
Yet the Evangelist farther on says, that Jesus baptized not, but His disciples; whence it is clear that this is his meaning here also. And why did Jesus not baptize? The Baptist had said before, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Now he had not yet given the Spirit, and it was therefore with good cause that he did not baptize. But His disciples did so, because they desired to bring many to the saving doctrine.
-->And why, when the disciples of Jesus were baptizing, did not John cease to do so? Why did he continue to baptize, and that even until he was led to prison?
Ver. 23 . 'John also was baptizing in Ænon'; and to add, Ver. 24 . 'John was not yet cast into prison,'
For to say these things was to declare that until that time he did not cease to baptize. But wherefore did he baptize until then? For he would have made the disciples of Jesus seem more reverend had he desisted when they began. Why then did he baptize?--> It was that he might not excite his disciples to even stronger rivalry, and make them more contentious still. For if, although he ten thousand times proclaimed Christ, yielded to Him the chief place, and made himself so much inferior, he still could not persuade them to run to Him; he would, had he added this also, have made them yet more hostile. On this account it was that Christ began to preach more constantly when John was removed. And moreover, I think that the death of John was allowed, and that it happened very quickly, in order that the whole attention of the multitude might be shifted to Christ, and that they might no longer be divided in their opinions concerning the two.
Besides, even while he was baptizing, he did not cease continually to exhort them, and to show them the high and awful nature of Jesus. For He baptized them, and told them no other thing than that they must believe in Him that came after him. Now how would a man who acted thus by desisting have made the disciples of Christ seem worthy of reverence? On the contrary, he would have been thought to do so through envy and passion. But to continue preaching gave a stronger proof; for he desired not glory for himself, but sent on his hearers to Christ, and wrought with Him not less, but rather much more than Christ's own disciples, because his testimony was unsuspected and he was by all men far more highly esteemed than they. And this the Evangelist implies, when he says, all Judæa and the country around about Jordan went out to him and were baptized. Matthew 3:5 Even when the disciples were baptizing, yet many did not cease to run to him.
If any one should enquire, And in what was the baptism of the disciples better than that of John? we will reply, in nothing; both were alike without the gift of the Spirit, both parties alike had one reason for baptizing, and that was, to lead the baptized to Christ. For in order that they might not be always running about to bring together those that should believe, as in Simon's case his brother did, and Philip to Nathanael, they instituted baptism, in order by it to bring all men to them easily, and to prepare a way for the faith which was to be. But that the baptisms had no superiority one over the other, is shown by what follows. What is that?