“Who are you?” The priests and Levites said to John the Baptist.
“He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No’ (Jn. 1:20-21, ESV).“
Nearly every way you approach this passage, it is both an interesting and obscure way to transition from the “Prologue” we covered in John 1:1-18 into the next section of the chapter. Who is this John the Baptist fellow, and what exactly do we need to know about him? What is his role in the story of Jesus?
It is not long after that when the answer begins to come into view.
He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.’ … ‘I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even He who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie (Jn. 1:23, 26-27, ESV).
John the Baptist is the one who makes the way for Jesus, and as part of the role he plays, we see yet another confirmation that Jesus is no ordinary man. He is the God-man, sent to save us from our sins—something John the Baptist makes even more clear in his next statement.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because He was before me.’ I myself did not know Him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that He might be revealed to Israel (Jn. 1:29-31, ESV).
The big Jesus “reveal” continues.
So, as we look forward to our next passage in John 1:19-51, keep your hearts, minds, ears, and eyes fixed on the “Word” we first started to meet in John 1:1-18. Because this man named Jesus is the one John the Baptist introduces us to as he ushers in the ministry of the Christ—our Messiah. No longer are we looking at the past, or where Jesus came from, but the focus has shifted. Jesus has arrived, and He is inviting others to be a part of what is to come.
And just as Jesus asks His first disciples, “What are you seeking? (Jn. 1:38),” we can respond to His instruction, “Come and you will see (Jn. 1:39).” Thus, our journey through the Gospel of John continues.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER AS YOU STUDY:
- Why is John the Baptist’s role in the story of Jesus important to understand?
- What is so significant about baptism to our Christian faith?
- What are some of the main things highlighted about Jesus in this passage?
- What can we learn about some of Jesus’ first disciples from this passage?
- What additional questions arise for you about Jesus from where we have been in John 1? (Reach out and let us know if you want to talk more about it: https://www.harvestworld.com/contact-us/).
Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review: