C Other Metaphors

One point which I did not follow up in the analysis of the metaphors of baptism and fire above (§17.4d) was that Jesus applied these metaphors to his own expected suffering. This in fact is the most striking feature of Jesus' usage: he evidently took up the Baptist's metaphor (baptism and fire) and applied it to himself. The Baptist had predicted one to come who would baptize others in fire (or fiery spirit) (§ 11.4c). Jesus affirmed the Baptist's expectation — where else could just this metaphor have come from? — but indicated that he himself, rather than dispensing the judgment, would himself have to endure it.214

Here we can see the likelihood that Jesus did not disown the Baptist's expectation of judgment entirely. It was not the primary emphasis of his own kingdom preaching (§ 12.5c), but he did not reject it altogether. What we hear, rather, is Jesus taking up the Baptist's distinctive metaphor and transforming it by treating it as a prescription of his own destiny.215 The parallelism of the Lukan version probably allows the expansion of each member of the twin saying to embrace the thought of the other:

I have a baptism (with which to baptize but have first) to be baptized with (it). I came to cast fire on the earth and how I wish it was already kindled (on myself).

In other words, we are not actually so very far from Schweitzer's infamous scenario: that Jesus not only expected the final tribulation to happen imminently, but by the time he reached (set off for?) Jerusalem had also concluded that he himself would have to endure the same tribulation.216 On his own behalf only? Or in solidarity with others? Or somehow on their behalf? Here unfortunately the previous clarity of the line of reflection fades, and we are left with the possible

214. Cf. Meyer, Aims 213; Allison, End of the Ages 128; Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom 250-52; Leivestad, Jesus 103 ('the death of Jesus would, as it were, become the flame that ignites the world conflagration'); Witherington, Christology 123-24.

215. I take up here my earlier suggestion argued in 'The Birth of a Metaphor — Baptized in Spirit', ExpT89 (1977-78) 134-38, 173-75, reprinted in my The Christ and the Spirit. Vol. 2: Pneumatology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998) 103-17 (here 107-12). Cf. particularly A. Vögtle, 'Todesankündigungen und Todesverständnis Jesu', in K. Kertelge, ed., Der Tod Jesu. Deutungen im Neuen Testament (QD 74; Freiburg: Herder, 1976) 80-88.

216. Quest2 347-49. Wright argues similarly (Jesus 577-84, 609-10).

implications of the imagery and its transformed usage — as with the of the implication of the righteous martyr (§ 17.5a) and the suffering Danielic son of man (§ 17.5b).

One possibility is that Paul's own further development of the baptismal metaphor in Rom. 6.3-4 ('baptized into Jesus' death') reflects Jesus' own adaptation of the metaphor. For if Jesus did use the Baptist's metaphor as an image of his own anticipated death, then that could easily have provided the inspiration for Paul's unprecedented use of the same metaphor. Paul could speak of a baptism into Christ's death, only because he was aware of the tradition that Jesus had spoken of his death as a baptism™ In which case the same question arises: whether the representative significance which Paul saw in Jesus' death, as expressed not least in this metaphor, was already anticipated in at least some measure in Jesus' own references to his imminent death.

Before turning to the last and most contested material, we should also mention Zech. 13.7, cited in Mark 14.27/Matt. 26.31 ('I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered'). The point is that the use of the same prophetic text in CD 19.7-10218 seems to have in view the same expectation of eschatological tribulation (the final 'visitation') and raises similar questions as to whether the smiting of the shepherd had overtones.

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