John Declares His Mission

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John 1:24-28

Then those who were sent by the Pharisees asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

John told them, “I merely baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you have never met, who will soon begin his ministry among you, and I am not even fit to be his slave.” This incident took place at Bethany, a village on the other side of the Jordan River where John was baptizing.

John the Baptist said he was not even worthy to be Christ’s slave. But according to Luke 7:28, Jesus said that John was the greatest of all prophets. If such a great person felt inadequate even to be Christ’s slave, how much more should we lay aside our pride to serve Christ!

To Forgive Sins

John was baptizing Jews. The Essenes (a strict, monastic sect of Judaism) practiced baptism for purification, but normally only non-Jews (Gentiles) were 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 merely baptize with water”—he was 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. Jesus can forgive your sins, no matter how big or small they may be. Have you accepted his forgiveness? Confess to Christ.

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