John 1:19-28

Talks for Growing Christians

More About the Ministry of John the Baptist

John 1:19-28

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Lesson Number 6

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Jesus was the predicted Messiah, but not the expected popular Messiah.
  2. ohn the Baptist was not Elijah, but he could have been Elijah.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s be humble road builders like John the Baptist.


  1. What is the focus of the main body of the gospel of John?
  2. Why did the Jews send a delegation (or investigating committee) from Jerusalem to Bethabara? Who was part of this delegation?
  3. What were some of the questions the delegation asked? How were they answered?
  4. Why did some of the Jews believe that John was a prophet, or even the promised Messiah?
  5. Has Elijah come? Is he yet to come?
  6. What were John the Baptist's most significant credentials in the eyes of God?


  1. The public ministry of Jesus, beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist.
  2. To find out who John the Baptist was. They were concerned because he was attracting a large following, and they were jealous. They wanted to know the source of his authority to baptize. The delegation included priests and Levites.
  3. They asked who he was, where he came from, and where he got his authority to baptize. They wanted to know if it was possible that he was the prophet, Elijah, or even the promised Messiah. They were answered with great humility on the part of John the Baptist. He told them that he was not Elijah or the promised Messiah, but just a voice in the wilderness.
  4. The Jews knew the Old Testament prophecies. God said that He would raise up a prophet from among them (Deuteronomy 18:18). The Pharisees wanted to know if John was that prophet. In Malachi 4:5, there is a prediction that Elijah would precede the coming of the Messiah. Thus the Jews wanted to know if John was Elijah.
  5. Elijah has come in the sense of the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3), and he was to come to restore all things before the Son of Man would come (Matthew 17:10). So, in a sense, Elijah came as John. However, he is yet to come. If the Jews had received their King and His kingdom, then John the Baptist would have fulfilled the Elijah prophecy of Malachi 4. But they rejected the King and His kingdom, therefore the physical kingdom of Christ was not set up then. It is postponed and will be set up when He returns. There will be an Elijah-type figure that will precede the return of the Lord. It might be Elijah himself, or it might be one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11.
  6. He was humble and faithful to God's appointment of him as forerunner of Christ.


  1. What are your credentials in preparing the way of the Lord? Do you have humility and faithfulness?
  2. Review the Elijah question. What is your understanding of this?


  1. “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord.” John 1:23
  2. “John said, ‘I baptize you with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’” John 1:26-27

Key Verses

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