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John 1:19 John the Baptist

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John the Baptist

John the Baptist confessed he was not the Messiah. When he was asked who he was; He told them that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness [NKJV].

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John 1:19-28

19. “He began his ministry in the Jordan Valley when he was approximately twenty-nine or thirty years old and boldly proclaimed the need for spiritual repentance and preparation for the coming of the Messiah.” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1348)

“We find out about his birth in the Gospel of Luke, but here the record of John the Baptist begins when a delegation from Jerusalem comes to question him. They come out to ask him, ‘Who art thou?’” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 374)

Luke 1:57-80; Luke 3:1-23

20. “He makes it very clear that he is not the Christ; he is not the Messiah.” (McGee, 374)

21. “If he’s not the Christ, he must be Elijah. If he’s not Elijah, he must be ‘that prophet.’ They are referring to a prophet ‘like unto Moses’ who had been promised back in Deuteronomy 18:15 John gives an emphatic ‘No!” He is not the predicted prophet of Deuteronomy.” (McGee, 374)

Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Malachi 4:5 Matthew 17:10-13

Who Is John the Baptist?

22. “They insist that he must tell them who he is. They can’t take back a report of just a string of negatives. So John does identify himself.” (McGee, 374)

23. “John quoted and applied Isaiah 40:3 to himself (cf. Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4).” (MacArthur, 1348)

“In humility, John compared himself to a voice rather than a person, thus focusing the attention exclusively upon Christ (cf. Luke 17:10).” (MacArthur, 1348)

“We can hardly imagine the shock the Jerusalem delegation must have felt upon hearing this rugged mountain man quote Isaiah 40:3 to describe himself. Think back to Isaiah’s warnings about the future rise of Babylon with the sharp break in the narrative which begins at chapter 40 to describe the future restoration of Israel.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from]

Isaiah 40:1-5

“‘Make straight the way.’ This would be the same as telling them to get the crooked things out of their lives; to deal with the things that are wrong. This we need to do also. When we do that, there is opened for us fellowship with God…We need to get our lives straight, and we can get them straight, by confession, as we are taught in 1 John 1:8-9.” (McGee, 374)

Why Baptize?

24. The group questioning John was sent by the Pharisees.

25. “John got his authority to baptize, not from men, but from heaven, because he was commissioned by God (Matthew 21:23-32).” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 287)

26. “John explained that his baptism was in water, but that the Messiah would come and baptize with a spiritual baptism. Again, John made it clear that he was not establishing a new religion or seeking to exalt himself. He was pointing people to the Savior, the Son of God (John 1:34).” (Wiersbe, 287)

27. “Each time John had opportunity to focus on himself in these encounters, he instead shifted the focus onto Messiah. John went so far as to state that he, unlike a slave that was required to remove his master’s shoes, was not even worthy of performing this action in relationship to Messiah.” (MacArthur, 1349)

28. “This Bethany is not to be confused with the village of Lazarus (11:1), which has traditionally been viewed as situated just over the brow of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. No substantive evidence has yet come to light concerning a Bethany where John could have been baptizing.” (Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002], 133)

“The better solution is that two Bethanys existed, i.e., one near Jerusalem where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived (11:1) and one ‘beyond the Jordan’ near the region of Galilee.” (MacArthur, 1349)


Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002
Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004

True Light                                                                                          Lamb of God

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