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
Cornelius a Lapide
After this, &c. This means that Jesus went from Jerusalem, a citizen of which Nicodemus appears to have been, to some other part of the land of Judea, because He would avoid the sects and enmities of the chief men of Jerusalem. So S. Chrysostom and others. As the former saith, "He was accustomed to come into the city at the solemn feasts, that He might publicly make known the doctrine of God: from thence He often retired to the river Jordan."
Baptized, not so much by Himself as by His disciples, as is said in iv2. Yet He first Himself baptized there. He baptized by others for several reasons—1. To show that His baptism was different from that of John. For the latter was conferred by John alone; but Christ"s baptism was conferred by others also, His disciples, Christ in them and by them working Mightily2. To show that the authority, power, and continuance of His baptism were to extend through all succeeding ages. So SS. Augustine and Cyril3. Because He Himself was occupied in the greater works of teaching, healing the sick, and working miracles. Moreover, when the disciples of Christ baptized, they were not yet apostles. For they were made apostles after John"s imprisonment. But those things happened before it, as is evident from verse24. These disciples therefore were not yet apostles, nor even priests, for they were afterwards created priests by Christ at His Last Supper.
Wherefore it is an error to say, as S. Chrysostom and Tertullian do (de Bapt. c2), that Christ did not baptize, because before His death baptism had not the power of remitting sins, and conferring the Holy Ghost; therefore that the disciples of Christ thus baptized with John"s baptism, not Christ"s. S. Chrysostom says, "Both baptisms, viz, that of John and that of the disciples of Christ, were devoid of the Spirit. They both had the same object in view, which was to gain disciples to Christ." That there was no excellence in either the baptism of the one or the other, he argues from the words in the7th chapter, The Spirit was not yet give, because Jesus was not yet glorified. But I will show that this is not the meaning in the proper place.
Let us add S. Leo (Epist4 , ad Episc. Sicil, c2). "Properly, in the death of the Crucified, and in His resurrection from the dead, the virtue of baptism makes a new creature out of the old, that both the death and the life of Christ should be wrought in them that are born again, as the blessed Apostle Paul says, "Know ye not that as many of us as are baptized into Christ, have been baptized into his death?""
But S. Paul"s meaning is different, as I have said on the passage, and Song of Solomon , as I think, is S. Leo"s. For before His death Christ remitted sins to the paralytic, and also to Mary Magdalene, and filled her with the spirit of charity: and that by His word only, without a sacrament. For this forgiveness derived its justifying power from the merits of Christ both present and to come: and especially from His death, which He had already undertaken to suffer, and had offered Himself to God the Father to he a victim for the salvation of men. Wherefore, as the Eucharist instituted before the death of Christ sanctified the apostles, so also did baptism. Thus at length S. Augustine in this passage (Tract15).
In like manner it is not very probable what D. Soto thinks, that the disciples here used as the form in baptism, I baptize thee in the name of Jesus Christ, whereas after His resurrection they said, I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. This is improbable, because in so doing Christ would have changed the form of baptism, and in so doing He would have instituted two baptisms. Besides, it is not probable that Christ baptized in His own name when He Himself baptized His apostles.
Moreover, Euthymius says that the belief of the most ancient Fathers was, that Christ Himself baptized the Blessed Virgin and S. Peter. Evodius, S. Peter"s successor in the see of Antioch, says in his treatise called Lumen, or The Light, that Christ with His own hands baptized Andrew, John , and James , and that they baptized the rest of the apostles.