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.
dependence on the Synoptics still explain the contacts between John and the Synoptics in terms of contacts between the sources of the Synoptic writers and those available to the Fourth Evangelist, rather than among the Gospels themselves73.
Jesus is depicted in the Fourth Gospel as being empowered by the Spirit in order to provide life-giving revelation that would cleanse Israel. Jesus’ eschatological cleansing of Israel by the Spirit is captured by the Evangelist under the metaphor "to baptize with Holy Spirit", which in turn embraces Jesus’ ministry of revelatory teaching. In fact, "to baptize with Holy Spirit" is Jesus’ ministry; it is shorthand for Jesus’ salvific programme of revelation and cleansing by means of the Spirit. In other words, 1,33 is programmatic for Jesus’ ministry, in that it sets the agenda for Jesus’ ministry and summarizes in a nutshell Jesus’ salvific programme for Israel (and the world).
The Jewish picture of a messianic figure endowed with Spirit and revelatory wisdom who would purge/cleanse Israel of her enemies with his revelatory Spirit-imbued word, rooted in Isaiah 11, fits best the picture of the Johannine Jesus. Since the Jewish concepts of a messiah were diverse and consisted of a large complex of ideas, it is unlikely that John merely had one text or activity of the Messiah in mind. Rather, John probably employed from the traditions or sources to which he had access a metaphor that would succinctly summarize Jesus’ dominant activities of cleansing through revelation by means of the Spirit, and that at the same time could be linked to a similar nexus of messianic ideas in Judaism.
Consequently, according to our interpretation, there is no such thing as the "baptism in Holy Spirit" — neither as a technical term for a "second blessing" nor as a referent merely to one single event; rather, the metaphor "to baptize with Holy Spirit" is the umbrella-term for the sum total of Jesus’ soteriological activities by means of the Spirit.