John the Baptist denies being the Messiah
Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders1:19 The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10,15,16; 7:1,11,13; 9:22; 18:14,28,36; 19:7,12,31,38; 20:19. in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Messiah.’
They asked him, ‘Then who are you? Are you Elijah?’
He said, ‘I am not.’
‘Are you the Prophet?’
He answered, ‘No.’
Finally they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Make straight the way for the Lord.” ’1:23 Isaiah 40:3
Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, ‘Why then do you baptise if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?’
‘I baptise with1:26 Or in; also in verses 31 and 33 (twice) water,’ John replied, ‘but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.
John testifies about Jesus
The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’
Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.” I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.’1:34 See Isaiah 42:1; many manuscripts is the Son of God.