Studies In The Book Of John


John 1:19-28


The Text of John 1:19-28:


John 1:19-20 – (19) And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?  (20) And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.”


A. The Jews sent priests and Levites to inquire who John was, but did they want the answer (cf. John 8:20-26; 10:22-25)?

1. The “religious leaders” of those days were not honest (Luke 20:1-8).

2. Remember those who would later reject and kill Christ are these very same “leaders” (Mark 8:31).


B. John was plain in declaring he was not Christ (Acts 13:24-25).

1. John didn’t try to fill shoes he was not fit to unlatch (Luke 3:15-16).

2. Remember, he later reminded his disciples that he did not claim to be Jesus (John 3:25-31).


John 1:21-23“(21) And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.  (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?  (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.”


A. John was humble enough not to try and exalt himself (Matthew 23:11-12 and I Peter 5:5-6).

1. Their asking if John was Elijah was a good question (Malachi 4:1 and Matthew 17:10-13).   

2. John did come in the spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:13-17).

3. Remember, Elijah never did die a typical physical death.  So, some could confuse these passages easily (cf. II Kings 2:1-11).


B. They were concerned about reporting to those that sent them, not seeking and finding a godly prophet to teach them (Numbers 12:6; cf. Proverbs 29:18).

1. Instead of “What sayest thou of thyself” they should have wanted a “what saith the Lord” concerning John (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Jeremiah 29:8-9, and I John 4:1).

2. These individuals did fail because they were people pleasers (John 12:42-43).


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


A. Seeing that these were of the Pharisees, that tells us some things (John 7:45-49).

1. The Pharisees were interested in John because they enjoyed being the ones “discipling” others (Matthew 23:13-15).

2. Jesus used the Pharisees as a rather interesting standard of what not to be (Matthew 5:20).


B. The questioning of John baptizing individuals was not a genuine question of seeking to obey God’s will (Luke 7:24-30).

1. Some questions are born out of ignorance (Matthew 9:10-13).

2. Other questions are cunning and seeking to cause problems (Matthew 22:15 and II Timothy 2:23).


John 1:26-28“(26) John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; (27) He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.  (28) These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.”


A. Though Jesus was among them, they didn’t know Him, and that would not change (John 8:14-19).

1. The disciples would suffer because they [the Jews/world] did not know Jesus (John 16:1-3).

2. The world failed to see the Father through the Son (John 17:25).

3. Today, what does it mean to truly know Jesus (I John 2:1-6)?


B. John continued to show his willingness to be a servant of Christ rather than a glory seeker (I Thessalonians 2:6).

1. The fact that John was not a glory seeker made him different than those who came to him asking these questions (Matthew 6:2; 6-7, and Matthew 23:1-6).

2. John wanted them to learn the superiority of Christ (Ephesians 1:20-23).







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