13 John the Baptizer recognizes Jesus as the Lamb of God.

Deuteronomy 18:15; Isaiah 40:3–5; John 1:19–34

Why would priests and Temple officials be interested in what John was doing (John 1:19)?

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Who did the Temple leaders think John was (John 1:21–22)?

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Why might John have known to identify himself as the one who was fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy (John 1:23; Isaiah 40:3–5)?

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Of what value was John’s baptism (John 1:24)?

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What had happened to make John know that his life had little importance compared to the Messiah (John 1:26–27)?

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How did John know so much about the Messiah (John 1:29)?

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The Messiah was regarded as one who would free the Jews from foreign oppression and make the nation great. What would the people have thought when John presented a much different concept: “The Lamb of God who will eliminate sin” (John 1:29)?

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As Jesus’ cousin, John would have known that Jesus was a few months younger. So why did he say Jesus was “coming after me” but “existed long before” (John 1:30)?

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We might reasonably assume that Jesus’ family visited the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth several times. John and Jesus would have spent time together. What do you think they did during those years when Jesus was growing up?

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In what ways would John’s knowledge of Jesus have changed over the years (Luke 2:52; John 1:31)?

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John must have known Jesus as a carpenter and son of a carpenter. How would he have adjusted to the knowledge that he was the Messiah (John 1:31–33)?

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John’s baptism was in anticipation of the Messiah. How do you think people responded to John’s new message that he had seen Jesus (John 1:34)?

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The Jews sent a group of priests and Temple officials from Jerusalem to Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River, to inquire about John’s identity. “Who are you?” they said.

Eyewitness

John 1:19 The Jews sent a group of priests and Temple officials to inquire about John’s identity. “Who are you?” they said.
John 1:28 This encounter happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.
King James

John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
John 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Without hesitation, John said, “I am not the Messiah.”

Eyewitness

John 1:20 Without hesitation, John said, “I am not the Messiah.”
King James

John 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

“Then who are you? Elijah?”

Eyewitness

John 1:21 “Who are you? Elijah?” “No, absolutely not.” “Are you the Prophet, the one foretold by Moses?” “No, I am not.”
King James

John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

“No, absolutely not.”

Eyewitness

John 1:21 “Who are you? Elijah?” “No, absolutely not.” “Are you the Prophet, the one foretold by Moses?” “No, I am not.”
King James

John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

“Are you the Prophet, the one foretold by Moses?”

Eyewitness

Deuteronomy 18:15 From among your own people, the Lord your God will raise up a prophet like himself. You must listen to him.
John 1:21 “Who are you? Elijah?” “No, absolutely not.” “Are you the Prophet, the one foretold by Moses?” “No, I am not.”
King James

Deuteronomy 18:15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

“No, I am not.”

Eyewitness

John 1:21 “Who are you? Elijah?” “No, absolutely not.” “Are you the Prophet, the one foretold by Moses?” “No, I am not.”
King James

John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

“Who are you? We must give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

Eyewitness

John 1:22 Then who are you? We must give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to day about yourself?”
King James

John 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

Quoting from Isaiah the prophet, John said, “I am the one who is shouting, ‘Clear a path in the wilderness because the Lord our God is coming.’”

Eyewitness

Isaiah 40:3-5 Listen! Someone is shouting, “Clear a path in the wilderness, for the Lord our God is coming. Fill the valleys and flatten the mountains. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places. The glory of the Lord will appear for all to see. God has spoken. It will surely come to pass.”
John 1:23 Quoting from Isaiah the prophet, John said, “I am the one who is shouting, ‘Clear a path in the wilderness, because the Lord our God is coming.‘”
King James

Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Some of the Pharisees said, “If you are not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet, why do you baptize?”

Eyewitness

John 1:24–25 Some of the Pharisees said, “If you are not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet, why do you baptize?”
King James

John 1:24–25 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

“I only baptize with water. One stands among you whom you do not recognize. Although his ministry follows mine, I am not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals.”

Eyewitness

John 1:26–27 “I only baptize with water. One stands among you whom you do not recognize. Although his ministry follows mine, I am not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals.”
King James

John 1:26–27 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

The next day, John saw Jesus coming and shouted, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is much greater than I am’ because he existed long before me. I did not know who he was. I only knew that I must baptize people so he might be revealed to Israel.”

Eyewitness

John 1:29–31 The next day, John saw Jesus coming and shouted, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is much greater than I am’ because he existed long before me. I did not know who he was. I only knew that I must baptize people so he might be revealed to Israel.”
King James

John 1:29–31 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

John gave this proof: “I saw the Spirit of God descend from the sky like a dove and remain upon him. I would not have known him, but the one who sent me to baptize said, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ With my own eyes, I saw it and can testify without reservation. He is the Son of God.”

Eyewitness

John 1:32–34 John gave this proof: “I saw the Spirit of God descend from the sky like a dove and remain upon him. I would not have known him, but the one who sent me to baptize said, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ With my own eyes, I saw it and can testify without reservation. He is the Son of God.”
King James

John 1:32–34 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.