I. Video. The Talley Trio – He Is Here [Live]. Gaither Music TV. Dec 13, 2012.
II. Title. The Testimony of John the Baptist. 1.
III. Text. John 1:19-23. New American Standard Bible.
19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny; and this is what he confessed: “I am not the Christ.” 21 And so they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us, so 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 calling out in the wilderness, ‘Make the way of the Lord straight,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
IV. Comments. Zondervan KJV Study Bible
1:19. And this is the record of John points to the Baptist’s role as witness (see 1:6-7). “Record” (Greek, martyria) is literally “testimony.” Here the testimony of John was given a formal venue with the inquest of the delegation that the Jews sent … from Jerusalem. The phrase “the Jews” occurs about seventy times in this gospel. It is used in a favorable sense (see, e.g., 4:22) and in a neutral sense (see, e.g., 2:6), but generally John used it of the Jewish leaders who were hostile to Jesus (see, e.g., 8:48). Here it refers to the delegation sent by the Sanhedrin to look into the activities of an unauthorized teacher. Levites are descendants of the tribe of Levi, who were assigned to specific duties in connection with the tabernacle and temple (see Num. 3:17-37). They also had teaching responsibilities (see 2 Chron. 35:3; Neh. 8:7-9), and it was probably in this role that they were sent with the priests to John the Baptist.
1:20. The Baptist used the emphatic “I” to establish a stark contrast. His disavowal, I am not the Christ implies the question “Are you the Christ?” according to the pattern of the questions and answers that follow. It may be, however, that the unique introduction of And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed suggests the leading question was more benign, such as, “Who are you?” to which the Baptist assumed a proactive posture (“I am not the Christ”). If so, that triggered the follow-up questions (all associated with messianic expectations). The Baptist’s emphatic use of “I” implies the avowal that another was the Christ. Throughout the following verses, this emphatic “I” occurs frequently, and almost invariably implies a contrast with Jesus, who is always given the higher place.
1:21. Art thou Elias?… I am not. The Jews remembered that Elijah had not died (see 2 Kings 2:11) and believed that the same prophet would come back to earth to announce the end time. In this sense, John properly denied that he was Elijah. When Jesus later said the Baptist was Elijah (see Matt. 11:14; 17:10-13), He meant it in the sense that John was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi 4:5 (see Luke 1:17). That prophet refers to the prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. The Jewish people expected a variety of persons to be associated with the coming of the Messiah. The Baptist emphatically denied being “that prophet.” He had come to testify about Jesus, yet they kept asking him about himself. His answers became progressively more terse.
1:22-23. The voice of one crying in the wilderness (v. 23). The Baptist applied the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3 to his ministry of calling people to repent in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The men of Qumran (the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls) applied the same words to themselves, but they prepared for the Lord’s coming by isolating themselves from the world to secure their own salvation. John concentrated on helping people come to the Messiah (the Christ). In 1:31, the Baptist expressly stated that the objective of his baptism was to reveal to Israel the Coming One.
V. Article Sources.
1. Video from “Old Friends” Gaither series of songs, recorded in 1993.
2. Article Title from New American Stand Bible Translation 2020.
3. Text from BibleGateway.com print of New American Stand Bible Translation 2020.
4. Zondervan KJV Study Bible, comments by Dr. Ed Hindson, a source of BibleHub.com
VI. Please follow this site.