Thursday, August 03, 2006

John the Baptist Denies Being the Christ

19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."

21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."

22 Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "

24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

26 "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

This section of John 1 clearly shows that the religious people of the day were expecting the Messiah, the Christ. It also shows that Christ was held up higher than just someone who speaks of Christ, or even baptizes people. Without Christ Himself, the mere Christian ideas and morality are meaningless. I've heard non-believers tell me that they are a "better Christian" than I am. It is not what one does with their own works, but what is done with Christ that makes one a Christian or not. Also, take note that a real place, the river Jordan, is mentioned. All of this takes place in a real place in a real time in history. This book is not intended as metaphor. Christ is a real historical figure and does not allow us to merely allegorize His life.

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