This year we are covering the four Gospel Accounts together in chronological order.
In the previous post, we covered Luke 3:7-17. Here was the conclusion:
John the Baptist sorted through the issues of life so well, people wondered if he was the Christ.
"19 And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who art thou?"
(In the previous post, we saw the multitude, publicans, and soldiers wondered if John the Baptist was the Christ. In this Gospel Account, it was stated that priests and Levites were sent from Jerusalem to find out if John the Baptist was the Christ.)
"20 And he confessed, and denied not; and he confessed, I am not the Christ."
(John the Baptist told them he was not the Christ. Notice, John the Baptist initiated this confession. The priests and Levites asked an open-ended question: a question that gave up control and didn't have a limiting "yes/no" answer. John the Baptist could have answered that question any way he wanted. He chose to initiated a confession that he was not the Christ...which we know to be factual.)
"21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered, No."
(John the Baptist was asked a close-ended question: one the required a "yes/no" answer. John was asked if he was Elijah and if he was a prophet. John the Baptist said "no" to each. In tomorrow's post, we will look at the apparent contradiction this created. Notice, John the Baptist did NOT initiate these admissions. For now, the Jews knew that Elijah would appear before the Messiah begins His Kingdom.)
(From Revelation 11, we know that Two Witnesses physically appear before Jesus physically returns to earth to usher in His Kingdom. According to the Bible, Elijah and Enoch were the only two people that have lived and never died. Hebrews 9:27 stated it is given once for man to die, so I believe Elijah and Enoch come back as the Two Witnesses. We've seen in Luke 1:16-17, John the Baptist's mission was to be the spiritual Elijah ushering in the spiritual kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist was not the physical return of Elijah.)
"22 They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?"
(These priests and Levites asked John the Baptist, "Who art thou?". They wanted to know if he was someone spoken of in God's Word. John the Baptist replied...)
"23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet."
(As we've seen in Luke 3:4, Matthew 3:4, and Mark 1:3, the verse from Isaiah 40:3 was quoted by and about John the Baptist:
"3 The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God".)
(Now we see this was John's way of initiating a response that factually alluded to his identity: he was a prophet and "Elijah"! However, John the Baptist didn't directly state this...)
"24 And they had been sent from the Pharisees."
(These priests and Levites were sent by the Pharisees. Remember, we saw in Matthew 3:7 that John the Baptist had already confronted the Pharisees when they met John. John the Baptist had asked them who warned them to flee the wrath from God that was about to come. Perhaps the Pharisees didn't think John would answer their questions...or the Pharisees may have been afraid to find out who John the Baptist was. Either way, the Pharisees sent others to question John the Baptist.)
The Pharisees sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John the Baptist if he was Elijah or a prophet. John denied being Elijah or a prophet, but instead quoted Isaiah 40:3...which alluded to him being "Elijah" and a prophet.