John 1:19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." 21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." 22 Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" 23 He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the LORD,"' as the prophet Isaiah said." 24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" 26 John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.

We’ve seen the testimony of John about Christ, now we see the powers that be asking John who he is and why he is doing all the things he is doing, especially baptizing.  They are worried about who he is and why he has come and why so many people are flocking to him out in the desert.  John will not even speak about who he is but does what he always does, his job, which is to point others to Jesus.  The ones who are sent go away without the answer of who he is, but heard something much more important that they do not even listen to or care about.  How sad for them.

The Presentation by John The Baptist

Who was John? …The cousin of Jesus

We see the early years of John the Baptist in Luke 1:5-80

His birth is foretold by Gabriel to His father Zacharias in 1: 5-25   

Zacharias rendered speechless

Jesus birth is foretold to Mary in 1:26-38

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in 1:39-45

Baby leaped for Joy (John)

Mary sings a song of joy in 1:46-56

John’s birth in 1:57-66 ….Named him John

Zacharias’ prophetic song in 1:67-79

John’s growth and early life in 1:80

He lived in the wilderness, wore a camel hair coat and ate locusts and honey

We see his Public Ministry in Luke 3:1-18

  1. John’s Presentation of Christ to the religious leaders – verses 19-28

Verse19 - Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

  • Jews used about seventy times in John’s Gospel. Refers to the Sanhedrin or governing body of Jews
  • Made up of legalistic Pharisees who had about 600 laws that they kept in addition to the 10 Commandments
  • They traveled 26 miles to question John
  • This shows 7 things
  1. Sending persons of such character and figure, was showing John a great deal of honor
  2. Serves to make his testimony of Christ the more public and remarkable
  3. It also shows what a noise John's ministry and baptism made among the Jews, that it even reached Jerusalem, and the great council of the nation;
  4. They thought he was the Messiah, it shows the opinion that was entertained of him

Luke 3:15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.

  1. They were afraid that there may be something to what he was saying. They were the top dogs and might lose their position of power.
  2. They thought they needed no repentance, so could not stand someone preaching it
  3. It was a show of power, they sought to stop him from his ministry

Verse - 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ." Or Messiah... both mean "the Anointed One 21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."

  • Hearing of John’s doctrine, character, and baptism because he appeared so suddenly, he seemed to have dropped from heaven in the part of the country where Elijah was taken to heaven so they thought he was Elijah

Mal 4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

 Mt 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Luke 1:17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Mt17:12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

1st He had already told them he is not the Messiah

2nd He was not a prophet like Samuel or Elijah who would get involved in public affairs and bring them out from under the yoke of Roman Bondage

3rd He was not Elijah that had been raised from the dead

4th He was a prophet who had revelation from God, but did not get his revelation by dreams and visions as did the OT prophets

5th They thought the prophet and the Messiah were two different people

Verse - 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?" 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.'" {Isaiah 40:3}

  • In the original context this refers to God leading them from Babylonian exile through the desert
  • Romans 11:25-27 - It is a prophetic call for Israel’s greatest and final return to God from spiritual darkness.
  • His humble attitude –
  • He refers to himself as a mere voice thus focusing the attention totally on Christ
  • The voice of one Crying –(Crying out loud) His earnestness and heart for the people to repent
  • He was in the wilderness – Hear from God when secluded and in solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
  • Have you ever heard the still small voice of the LORD?

1Kings19:11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

  • Make straight the way of the Lord
  • He came to rectify the corruption of the law by the scribes and Pharisees
  • To prepare people to receive the Lord

Psalm 24:7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Verse 24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

  • They asked knowing it would be used when the Messiah came
  • Zechariah 13:1 "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
  • Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
  • They asked because he had denied he was Elijah and they wanted to know by what authority he Baptized

Verse26 - “I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

1st He tells them he only baptizes with water and cannot do any more

  • The baptism signified when the Gentiles were converted into Judaism
  • It signified repentance and becoming a people of God
  • This was amazing as they hated Gentiles and they were saying they were as Gentiles
  • Repenting in anticipation of the return of the Messiah

2nd He points them to the one all of our lives should point to Christ

  • One that can do for them what he cannot

Next he tells them that Jesus stands among them

  • God is often nearer to us than we know
  • Christ is to be preferred over him
  • Notice that the priests and Pharisees do not ask John where the Messiah is
  • They wanted to harass him
  • The did not come to receive instructions so their ignorance was willful
  • They might have known Christ but would not, this is a willful rejection of Christ

Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.