23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.
This verse changes scenes from Judea, where Jesus was with His disciples, to Samaria, where John the Baptist and his disciples were ministering.
Both Jesus and John the Baptizer were attracting large crowds. John was also baptizing during the same time Jesus and His disciples were.
John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
John the Baptist was baptizing during the same time as Jesus’ disciples in Aenon on the west bank of the Jordan River. Aenon is Aramaic for “spring.” The location is not known today. Tradition suggests that the site is about six miles south of Beth-Shan, west of the Jordan River.
because there was much water there.
“Much water” indicates they were baptizing by immersion. If all they needed to do was sprinkle or baptize by pouring (affusion), then they would not have needed such a great volume of water as was there. This place may have been an area where there was a group of seven fountains south of Galilee.
And they came and were baptized.
John and his disciples were still baptizing large crowds that came to him while Christ’s disciples were baptizing.
The “for” explains that this incident took place between the temptation of Jesus and the Baptizer’s imprisonment. The synoptics do not relate this earlier time period in the life of Jesus. The readers of the gospel of John had already read the synoptics, so they knew that John was thrown in prison because those gospels were written earlier.
John had not yet been thrown into prison.
The apostle’s readers in Ephesus knew from reading the synoptic gospels that John the Baptist had been thrown in prison (Mt 14:1-12; Mr 6:14-29; Lu 3:19-20). The apostle John did not tell of the Baptist being thrown in prison because it did not relate to his argument.
The first three chapters of the gospel of John and part of the fourth must be placed chronologically before Matthew 4:12. There is no way to determine how much time elapsed between Jesus’ baptism and John’s imprisonment.
The inerrant Word always expresses itself with integrity.
There are those who attempt to claim that there are fallacies in the gospel of John because the book relates events in different sequences than the synoptics. A passage such as this shows how erroneous those claims are.
The gospel of John supplements and expands Matthew, Mark, and Luke. There was an interim period when the Baptist’s and Jesus’ ministry overlapped. There was no discrepancy with the synoptics at all. Everything in the gospel of John to this point took place prior to John’s imprisonment by Herod Antipas (Mr 1:14).