ESV - 39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.
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I believe that this kind of baptism Jesus speaks of is baptism by the Holy Spirit. As we know, the final “baptism” Jesus went through was His crucifixion and death, and the punishment for sin was carried out by the Father Himself. Therefore, we can say that Jesus probably means “Believe in me, die to your old ways, and be raised to life as I will be.”
In my opinion, Jesus was not speaking of baptism in a sacramental or beneficial sense, but was likening the degree of His forthcoming sufferings (in which he would be "immersed" to the point of dying) to baptism in the sense of being submerged in water, but (unlike baptism) to the point of drowning (similar to the manner in whch the psalmist (likely David) in Psalm 42:7 spoke of his afflictions as waves washing over him).
I think Jesus was referring James and John to the experiencing of a baptism (Luke 12:50; also see Psa. 41:7; 69:2, 15). James was going to be beheaded (Acts 12:1-2) and John would experience extreme persecution as being exiled (Revelation 1:9). “Are ye able,” said the Master, “To be crucified with Me?” “Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered, “To the death we follow Thee.” Refrain Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine. Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine. Thy guiding radiance above us shall be A beacon to God, to love and loyalty. Are you able to relinquish Purple dreams of power and fame, To go down into the Garden, Or to die a death of shame? Refrain Are ye able, when the anguish Racks your mind and heart with pain, To forgive the souls who wrong you, Who would make your striving vain? Refrain Are ye able to remember, When a thief lifts up his eyes, That his pardoned soul is worthy Of a place in paradise? Refrain Are ye able when the shadows Close around you with the sod, To believe that spirit triumphs, To commend your soul to God? Refrain Are ye able? Still the Master Whispers down eternity, And heroic spirits answer, Now as then in Galilee. Refrain by Earl Marlatt: Marlatt, Earl Bowman. (Columbus, Indiana, May 24, 1892--June 13, 1976, Winchester, Ind.). One of twin boys, he was born into the family of a Methodist Episcopal minister at Columbus, Ind. Graduating from DePauw University, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1912, he continued his studies at Harvard and Boston Universities, Oxford, England, and the University of Berlin. Upon returning to America he spent one year in newspaper work at Kenosha, Wisconsin, and then joined the United States Army, serving as a second lieutenant of field artillery in World War I. He joined the staff at Boston University as Associate Professor of Philosophy in 1923, becoming Professor two years later, was Professor of Literature, Boston University School of Theology, and Dean, 1938-1945. In 1946 he became Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Member of many learned societies, a poet of distinction, he won the Golden Flower at the May Day Poetry Tournament in Boston, 1925, and has been President of both the Boston Browning Society and the Boston Authors' Club. A writer of prose as well as verse he has contributed widely to American journals. Marlatt was closely associated with and was literary advisor to H. Augustine Smith who compiled a series of hymnals during the 1920s, most of which were for young people. He was associate editor of The American Student Hymnal, 1928, one of the Smith books, and for many years a member of the Executive Committee of the Hymn Society.
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