‘’ 19 Now, this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess but confessed freely I am not the Messiah. 21 They asked him, then who are you? Are you Elijah? He said I am not. Are you the prophet? He answered no”.
When priests and Levites interrogated John the Baptist regarding his identity, he testified that he was not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet of Deut. 18:15. The last of the Old Testament Prophets, his public ministry ended 400 years of prophetic silence since Malachi. An ascetic, living in the wilderness, clothed in camel hair, subsisting on locust and wild honey, he preached a message of repentance by water baptism in the spirit of Elijah.
22 Finally they said, who are you? Give us an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself? 23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of the one calling in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.’’
John the Baptist was the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Messiah, Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, and Luke 3:3-6. He was the voice, not the WORD, the messenger, not the MESSAGE, the way maker, not the WAY.
John 1: 29-34
V 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!’’
Jesus, the perfect sacrifice fulfilled God’s need for a blood offering. Animal sacrifice was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ the perfect Lamb of God. Hebrew 10: 11-14, ‘’ day after day every priest stands and performs religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifice which can never take away sins. But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God……For by one sacrifice has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.’’
VV 30- 31, ‘’This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God.’’
John the Baptist preceded Jesus by birth , but Jesus preceded John the Baptist in existence because Jesus was pre-existent, self-existent, and eternal, John 1:1.
VV 32-33, Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit’ “.
John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus in the form of a dove, Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32. All the three Godheads of the Holy Trinity participated at Jesus’ baptism. As the Father spoke from heaven, the Holy Spirit descended on the Son, Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus Christ to the cross to become the substitutionary atonement for the sins of mankind. Thank You for Your amazing love, mercy, and grace, in Jesus name, Amen