While studying John, I have looked at several translations of the Bible and commentaries. The Voice is a modern language, dynamic equivalent English translation of the Bible developed by Thomas Nelson (a subsidiary of News Corp) and the Ecclesia Bible Society. The team developing The Voice numbered more than 125 scholars, authors and artists. The team included Greek, Hebrew and Latin scholars, Biblical scholars, poets, authors, musicians and pastors.
I loved the way they handled this section of scripture. They reshaped it into an interview format and gives an accurate but more interesting translation of the discussion. What is more captivating is the probability that John was probably sitting at John the Baptist’s feet during the discussion and could feel the disdain John the Baptist had for the religious leaders.
They so wanted to “catch” John the Baptist, ironically Jesus appeared the next day. During that period John the Baptist was a rockstar with crowds rushing to him to be baptized for the remission of their sin. John knew; however, He was to be the warmup band. He was there to prepare the people to anticipate a spiritual savior, not a warrior king.
So, Jesus came, and John the Baptist was in awe and wanted to show true allegiance. Jesus was baptized, and John told the group when Jesus came out of the water, God’s prophecy was fulfilled!–the trinity together…Father, Son, and Spirit. What’s more, the Father showed John the Spirit of God resting on the Son like a dove! Prophecy confirmed and no doubt in John the Baptist’s mind. So there sits John, young fisherman as this mighty teacher said not me…Jesus! Is it any surprise then that He would follow Jesus without question, I think not.
John wanted us to know this was no small undertaking. He bet his life on it! It makes that decision more palatable to know that He learned of the Lord from the one sent to announce His arrival! God planned and executed our redemption path carefully and executed that plan flawlessly. John knew it and wanted to give everyone, even the religious leaders, the opportunity to know him personally, just like John!
God Bless You
19 The reputation of John was growing; and many had questions, including Jewish religious leaders from Jerusalem. 28 So some priests and Levites approached John in Bethany just beyond the Jordan River while he was baptizing and bombarded him with questions:[a]
Religious Leaders: Who are you?
John the Baptist: 20 I’m not the Anointed One, if that is what you are asking.
Religious Leaders: 21 Your words sound familiar, like a prophet’s. Is that how we should address you? Are you the Prophet Elijah?
John the Baptist: No, I am not Elijah.
Religious Leaders: Are you the Prophet Moses told us would come?
John the Baptist: No.
Religious Leaders: 22 Then tell us who you are and what you are about because everyone is asking us, especially the Pharisees, and we must prepare an answer.
23 John replied with the words of Isaiah the prophet:
John the Baptist: Listen! I am a voice calling out in the wilderness.
Straighten out the road for the Lord. He’s on His way.[b]
24-25 Then some of those sent by the Pharisees questioned him again.
Religious Leaders: How can you travel the countryside baptizing[c] people if you are not the Anointed One or Elijah or the Prophet?
John the Baptist: 26 Baptizing with water is what I do; but the One whom I speak of, whom we all await, is standing among you; and you have no idea who He is. 27 Though He comes after me, I am not even worthy to unlace His sandals.[d]
The mystery of Jesus’ identity occupies His contemporaries and will continue to occupy generations of believers for centuries to come. As the twelve journey with Him, it gradually becomes clearer who this man is, where He comes from, and how His existence will profoundly affect the rest of human history. The question of “Who is this man?” cannot be answered overnight.
29 The morning after this conversation, John sees Jesus coming toward him. In eager astonishment, he shouts out:
John the Baptist: Look! This man is more than He seems! He is the Lamb sent from God, the sacrifice to erase the sins of the world! 30 He is the One I have been saying will come after me, who existed long before me and is much greater than I am. 31 No one recognized Him—myself included. But I came baptizing[e] with water so that He might be revealed to Israel. 32 As I watched, the Spirit came down like a dove from heaven and rested on Him. 33 I didn’t recognize Him at first, but the One who sent me to baptize told me, “The One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit will be the person you see the Spirit come down and rest upon.” 34 I have seen this with my own eyes and can attest that this One is the Son of God!