I've mulled over this observation in my head for a while now without arriving at a satisfying explanation: In Mark's and Matthew's Gospels (and if Q, then Q) there is no obvious fulfillment to John the Baptist's prophecies. In the Gospel of John we have the Johannine Pentecost of 20:22. In Luke-Acts we have the popular imagery of Pentecost. There is a "baptism of holy spirit" if you will, though arguably there is no baptism of fire, lest we see the Lukan imagery in Acts 2 as a redefinition of John's fire-language. These points are irrelevant though to my primary question: What is going on literarily? Why do these Evangelists seem to find it necessary to include the tradition regarding John's prophecy—even more in-depth in Matthew with language regarding the cleansing of the threshing floor in chapter 3—only to fail to explicitly show how this prophecy was fulfilled?
Sure, Jesus receives the holy spirit, but he doesn't baptize with it....or, does he? Morna Hooker and James Dunn have written essays in the past presenting the idea that the narrative includes fulfillment when Jesus does things like exorcisms and healing. These acts purify the land; they are a baptism of fire. Yet the nagging problem remains: What tips us off as readers that this is what the Evangelists are doing with John's prophecy? I welcome your insights and observations.