Cornelis Bennema, «Spirit-Baptism in the Fourth Gospel. A Messianic Reading of John 1,33», Vol. 84 (2003) 35-60
The various ways of understanding "baptism in the Holy Spirit" has caused much division in both academic scholarship and the church. Most theories have been based on the Synoptics and Acts, but the phrase o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is also present in the Fourth Gospel (1,33). However, Johannine scholarship has hardly given attention to this concept. This paper will seek to establish that o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is a programmatic statement for Jesus’ nexus of soteriological activities in relation to people by means of the Spirit. "To baptize with Holy Spirit" refers to Jesus’ programme of cleansing people through revelation by means of the Spirit. Moreover, this concept is rooted in Jewish messianic traditions, which were able to expect a messiah who would judge, restore and cleanse by means of his Spirit-imbued word.
also refers to Jesus’ continuous ministry of revelation and cleansing after his glorification through the disciples by means of the Spirit-Paraclete, then it is likely that the coming of the Spirit-Paraclete would also come under the heading "to baptize with Holy Spirit". Hence, both the giving of the Spirit in 20,22 and the awaited coming of the Spirit-Paraclete can be included in the concept "to baptize with Holy Spirit".
IV. The Meaning of Spirit-Baptism in the Fourth Gospel
We are now in a position to define more precisely the meaning of the metaphor bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| in the Fourth Gospel according to John’s understanding. Linguistically, we suggested that the two basic referents of bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| are revelation and cleansing, and that the Spirit would be instrumental (section I). Subsequently, we argued that this concept of revelation and cleansing by means of the Spirit is rooted in Jewish messianic expectations (section II). Assuming that the meaning of bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| would be further unfolded in the rest of John’s Gospel, we examined the nature of Jesus’ ministry and the role of the Spirit (before and after Jesus’ departure) (section III). This investigation showed that both revelation and cleansing are dominant aspects of Jesus’ ministry and frequently related to the Spirit. We suggested that these activities of Jesus by means of the Spirit are in fact an actualization of Jesus’ baptizing of people with Holy Spirit. Consequently, John seems to understand bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| as a metaphor for the Messiah’s ongoing revelation of God to and cleansing of Israel by means of the Spirit, effecting both salvation and judgement, depending on one’s attitude towards the Spirit-Baptizer56. Hence, bapti/zw e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is soteriologically necessary.
When did the Evangelist think that the Baptist’s prophecy concerning Jesus’ baptizing with Holy Spirit was fulfilled? Narratively 1,33 creates a tension — when will Jesus start doing it? — and, in the light of this, 3,22 is teasing, until 4,2 resolves the matter. The vast