My Question: Is it possible John the Baptist was tempted by Satan like Jesus was?

Hi everyone,

My question is whether it is possible John the Baptist was tempted by Satan in the same way Jesus was. Just as Moses wasn’t able to see the promised land, I am wondering if there is symbolism here between that and John not seeing the fulfillment of the new covenant. Now I have to mention that this would mean that John failed in the way he was tempted by Satan and I am well aware of that, but I believe John wasn’t tempted with the same things that Jesus was.

I am drawing from several things.

First,

Matt. 11:11 (ESVS) ¶ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

And,

John 1:26 (ESVS) John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,
John 1:27 (ESVS) even whe who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

With,

John 13:5 (ESVS) Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

So in this way Jesus was ushering in a new covenant.

And also,

Matt. 3:11 (ESVS) ¶ “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

With,

Matt. 3:3 (ESVS) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare2 the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”
Matt. 3:4 (ESVS) ¶ Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

So John lived in the desert and I can’t help thinking of the symbolism of Moses & Joshua and John & Jesus.

Thoughts?

That is an interesting question, Jesse - it is certainly helpful to see a number of the Old Testament characters as “pre-figures” of Christ, that is to say, they demonstrated some aspects of the way in which Christ would come to redeem the world, through their leadership, sacrifice and servanthood. In this way, Jesus is the “hermeneutic” or theological lens through which we can best understand much of the OT. However, I’m not sure that I have considered John the Baptist (JtB) as a pre-figure of Christ in quite the same capacity. Moreover, to your specific question, I don’t think that I see any Biblical evidence to suggest that JtB was necessarily tempted by Satan in the same capacity as Jesus.

Therefore, I return the question to you - what theological significance would there be, if JtB was tempted by Satan in the same capacity as Jesus? It would seem to me to be reading too much above the text, in attempting to find extraordinary symbolism and imagery, rather than reading the plain meaning of the text. Or, to answer your question a bit differently, yes, I suppose that it is possible, but I don’t think we have the Biblical support to justify a conclusion of either yes or no.

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Thanks for answering.

IDK, I guess I just think it would add coherence to the Bible. That’s all.