Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition NLT - Flipbook - Page 21
J ohn 1
16From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.* 17For
the law was given through M
oses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through
Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,* is
near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
John the Baptist Declares His Mission (19)
19This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants*
from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20He came right out and said, “I am not
21“Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”*
22“Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have
to say about yourself?”
23John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”*
24Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or
Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
26John told them, “I baptize with* water, but right here in the crowd is someone you
do not recognize. 27Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave
and untie the straps of his sandal.”
1:16 Or received the grace of Christ rather than the grace of the law; Greek reads received grace upon grace.
1:18 Some manuscripts read But the one and only Son.
1:19 Greek and Levites.
1:21 Greek Are you the
Prophet? See Deut 18:15, 18; Mal 4:5-6. 1:23 Isa 40:3. 1:26 Or in; also in 1:31, 33.
1:17 God’s law in the Old Testament revealed his nature and showed
people how to live his way. God’s unfailing love and faithfulness also reveal his nature to us. Moses emphasized God’s law and justice, while Jesus
Christ came to highlight God’s mercy, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness.
Moses could only be the giver of the law, while Christ came to fulfill the
law (Matthew 5:17). Previously, the law revealed God’s nature and his will;
now Jesus Christ reveals the nature and will of God. Rather than coming
through impersonal stone tablets, God’s revelation now comes through a
dynamic, living person. As we get to know Jesus better in John’s Gospel,
our understanding of God will greatly increase.
1:18 God communicated through various people in the Old Testament,
usually prophets who were told to give specific messages (Hebrews 1:1-2).
But no one ever saw God. They saw his glory but not his form. Jesus is
both God and the Father’s unique Son. In him God revealed his nature
After his baptism
by John in the
Jordan River and
by Satan in the
DECAPOLIS the map in Mark 1
on page 1655),
Jesus returned to
Galilee. He visited
Nazareth, Cana, and
then he returned to
Jerusalem for the
Exod 31:18; 34:28
2 Cor 4:4, 6
and essence in a way that could be seen and touched. In Jesus, God
became a man who lived on earth.
1:19 The priests and Temple assistants (also called Levites) were respected religious leaders in Jerusalem. Priests served in the Temple,
and Temple assistants helped them. The Pharisees (1:24) were a group
that both John the Baptist and Jesus often denounced. Many of them
outwardly obeyed God’s laws in order to look pious, while inwardly their
hearts were filled with pride and greed. The Pharisees believed that their
oral traditions were just as important as God’s inspired Word. (For more
information on the Pharisees, see the charts on pages 1579 and 1659.)
These leaders came to see John the Baptist for several reasons: (1) Their
duty as guardians of the faith included investigating any new teaching
or movement (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22). (2) They wanted to find
out if John had the credentials of a true prophet. (3) John had quite a
following, and it was growing; they were probably jealous and wanted
to see why this man was so popular.
1:21-23 In the religious leaders’ minds, there were four options regarding John the Baptist’s identity: He was either (1) the prophet foretold by
Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15), (2) Elijah (Malachi 4:5), (3) the Messiah, or
(4) a false prophet. John denied being the first three personages. Instead,
he identified himself with the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah,
“the voice of someone shouting, ‘Clear the way through the wilderness
for the Lord!’” (Isaiah 40:3). The leaders kept pressing John to say who
he was because people were expecting the Messiah to come (Luke 3:15).
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 to prepare them to recognize who Jesus was.
1:25-26 John was baptizing Jews. The Essenes (a strict, monastic sect
of Judaism) practiced baptism for purification, but normally only Gentiles
(non-Jews) would be baptized when they converted to Judaism. When
the Pharisees questioned John’s authority to baptize, they were asking
who gave John the right to treat God’s chosen people like Gentiles. John
said, “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.
1:27 John the Baptist said he was not even worthy to be Jesus’ slave, to
perform the humble task of unfastening his sandals. But Jesus said that