Bible Study – John Chapter 1 Verses 22-27
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? When asked who is he, John replies that who he is matters less than what he says. The committee sent to examine him pressed for a positive answer, urging the authority of those that sent them. John was looked upon as a man of sincerity, and therefore they believed he would be fair and would give an answer to a plain question. The question, “What sayest thou of thyself”, they wanted to know was he the prophet that was foretold, who had given him this authority, or was he the Messiah.
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, Isaiah. John’s reply to the priests and Levites was “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness”. The leaders kept pressing him to say who he was because people were expecting the Messiah to come, but John emphasized only why he had come to prepare the way for the Messiah. The Pharisees missed the point, they wanted to know who John was, but John wanted them to know who Jesus was. The “voice”, Christ is the Word, John the Baptist was the voice. When pressed to identify himself, John the Baptist claimed that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3 (The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway of God). In Isaiah’s day, there were few roads, when the king traveled, roads were built so that the royal chariot would not have to travel over rough terrain or be stuck in the mud. Isaiah was saying that before God appeared to manifest His glory, a voice would be heard, inviting Israel to make straight the way by which God Himself would come. John was identifying himself as the voice calling people to make straight the way of the Lord.
John 1:24 – And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were an influential sect that numbered about six thousand. As strict interpreters of the Law in Israel, they were extremely zealous for ritual and tradition.
John 1:25 – And they asked him, and said unto him. Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet? John was baptizing Jews. The Essenes ( a strict, monastic sect of Judaism) practiced baptism for purification, but normally only non-Jews (Gentiles) were baptized when they converted to Judaism. When the Pharisees asked by what authority he was baptizing, they were asking who gave John the right to treat God’s chosen people like Gentiles.
John 1:26 – John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not. John’s reply was “I baptize with water” he was merely helping the people perform a symbolic act of repentance, but soon One would come who would truly forgive sins, something only the Son of God, the Messiah could do. Water baptism is an outer expression to indicate one is sorry for their sins, and they accept the forgiveness of their sins from God through Jesus Christ. Baptism doesn’t save anyone, it’s just symbolic of our faith. True repentance will be an outer expression of our lives being changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, we no longer desire the lifestyle we had, we no longer have the desires of what the world has to offer. We will be as the Word of God has declared us to be (Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new – 2nd Corinthians 5:17). True repentance brings about an inward change that expresses on the outside through our behavior, and character. When we repent of our sins and accept salvation, our appetite for the world changes and our appetite for the things of God will increase while the world’s desires decrease.
John 1:27 – He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. John the Baptist said he was not even fit to be Christ’s slave. to perform the humble task of unfastening His shoes. John was humble in mind, and in spirit. His title didn’t make him have a proud spirit as it does with some ministers. According to the gospel of Luke John was one of the greatest prophets of all the prophets (For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he is that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he – Luke 7:28). When we truly understand who Christ is, our pride and self-importance will melt away. Somehow ministers forget, the gift they have belong to God, and its the same Spirit in all that anoints and appoints. We’re just people He chooses to manifest Himself through to bless His people. All the honor, glory and praise should be given to Jesus and God.