Summary: John the Baptist’s testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The Testimony of John”
I. The Question (19-22)
• Vv. 19-20 John the Baptist’s voice breaks 400 years of silence.
• “The Jews” is used by John to describe many groups within the Jewish community; here it is referring particularly to the Pharisees.
• Background on the Jews of this time: 3 Groups: 1. Zealots 2. Essenes 3. Pharisees
o Comment on the state of Jewish-Christian affairs during John’s writing.
• The priests and the Levites are sent out because they thought John could be the Messiah. Were they sent to anoint the King?
• John replied and told them who he was, indeed the Baptist was a great prophet sent from God, but he was not the Christ.
• Vs. 21 Why would they assume he was Elijah? What was the significance surrounding Elijah?
• Are you the Prophet? (Deut. 18:15,18)
• 2 Witnesses from Rev. 11
• Vs. 22 If you are not either one of these two, then exactly who are you?
o “Make straight the way of the LORD.”
o Term used to describe clearing the path for a coming king.
II. The Answer (23)
• Vs. 23 John replies that he is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3
• John’s voice was to call the people to repentance so that their hearts would be ready to receive the words that Christ was about to bring to them. Because a person needs to realize he is drowning before he is able to be saved.
o To repent means to turn from your sin how can we do this without God?
• God still uses the voice of His humble servants to prepare the hearts of those whom call is calling unto salvation.
III. The Baptism (24-26)
• Vv. 24-25 Because they were sent by the Pharisees they went deeper with their questions; if you are not Elijah or the Prophet then why are you baptizing, or literally what gives you the right to baptize.
o The Jews practiced proselyte baptism of Gentiles, but John was baptizing both Jews and Gentiles.
• Vs. 26 John says that he baptizes with water, indicating there would soon be another type of baptism, of the Spirit.
• The Baptism of John was done for several reasons:
1. It was not Christian baptism.
2. It had nothing to do with salvation.
3. It contrasted ceremonial cleansing.
4. It was done as a sign of repentance, and was done to both Jew and Gentile.
• Why does John tell the priests and Levites the very one they are looking for they do not know? Did they not know all the prophecies about the coming Messiah?
• “know” could also be translated comprehend, understand, or acknowledge.
o Scripture continues to point out the difference between knowing about Christ and having Him in your heart as Lord and Savior.
IV. The Humility (27-28)
• Vs. 27 We see the humility of John knowing that anything he was doing, no matter how important it was, was nothing compared to who Christ is and what He was about to do.