Summary: People search for Jesus from differing perspectives. This is biblical and it is a blessing to find Him.
Jn 1:19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.
Jn 1:20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.’”
Jn 1:21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” This question was asked because of Malachi 4:5
Mal 4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. So that was the reason for asking.
He said, “I am not.” But you know what, he was Elijah, Jesus made this clear in
Mt 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.
For four hundred years, the people had waited for this prophecy to be fulfilled. Let’s put 400 years into perspective: 400 years ago was 1605. That is the year Cervantes published and Part 1 of Don Quixote Which is considered to be the first modern novel, the “Gunpowder Plot” a plot by Catholics to blow up the British Parliament was stopped, when 36 barrels of Gunpowder and a grumpy Catholic with a match was found in the cellar. Six years later the First edition of the King James Version of the Bible was printed. (By the way, the one we read today is the 11 edition.) Also in 1620 the Pilgrims landed in New England. We need to have perspective on exactly how long the people had been waiting for Elijah.
Back to verse 21 they asked John,
“Are you the Prophet?”
The prophet they are speaking of was prophesied of in
Dt 18:15 [where Moses said] The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
[John] answered, “No.”
Jn 1:22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
Jn 1:23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”
Jn 1:24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent
Jn 1:25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
Jn 1:26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know.
Jn 1:27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
Jn 1:28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Jesus the Lamb of God
Jn 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Jn 1:30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
Jn 1:31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Jn 1:32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
Jn 1:33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Jn 1:34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
This is early in Jesus’ ministry. This is before Jesus has proved who He is. To understand this statement by today’s standards, it would be like a pastor of a mega-church saying, “We have been doing a good thing here but there is a new start up church on the other side of town and I think we should all just move over there.”
Jn 1:35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
Jn 1:36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
Jn 1:37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Jn 1:38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
Jn 1:39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him.
I wonder how verse 38 fits into an evangelism program? Would that be a great way to get new members, to just look at them and say, “What do you want?” But honestly that might be the very best way. Just get to the point.