Question: I came across a supposed contradiction that has stumped me. John 1 "seems" to say Jesus was baptized between verses 34 and 35. Verse 35 says "again the next day..." (day one). Verse 43: "the following day" (day two). Chapter 2, verse 1 says on "the third day...in Cana of Galilee...." So John seems to say that Jesus was in Cana three days after His baptism, even though John doesn't mention His baptism. The other gospels seem to say that Jesus went to the wilderness for 40 days right after His baptism (Matthew:3:13-11). Mark:1:9 tells us that Jesus was baptized, while verse 12 says "immediately" the Spirit drove him into the wilderness; Luke seems to also say that Jesus went to the wilderness after he was baptized. The question is "Where was Jesus three days after His baptism?"
Response: Paul admonishes in 2 Timothy:2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." In view of this, what is the context of these verses and how might they rightly be divided?
We don't believe this is a contradiction, particularly since John's discourse regarding Christ (Jn:1:29-36) speaks of the baptism as past tense. After identifying Jesus as the lamb "which taketh away the sin of the world" (v. 29), John states "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him" (v. 32). He's speaking of an event that has already occurred. Consequently, we see no contradiction in the other gospels that speak of the Lord's temptation in the wilderness following shortly thereafter. John 1 is speaking of a separate event, and one that took place after those recorded in the other gospels.