And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight, the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:19-23
There is not a lot of doubt that the Jews were expecting the Messiah at the same time as the incarnation. They had read Daniel 9:23-24 and were familiar with the timeline given sometimes known as Daniel’s 70 weeks of years. When Artaxerxes issued his second decree in 445 BC to rebuild the Temple it took 49 years to complete or seven weeks of years. The Messiah was to come 483 years after the decree or 434 years after the Temple was finished (62 weeks of years), remember that 1 AD followed 1 BC, there was no year 0. This would put the triumphal entry in approximately 32 AD.
So when John the Baptist showed on the scene preaching repentance and baptism it was no wonder people thought he might be the Messiah. When John told them he was not the Messiah they then wanted to know if he was Elijah or the Prophet come back to life. Once again John said no, but that he was the one who the prophet Isaiah said would come first crying in the wilderness to proclaim the Chosen One of God.
These people questioning John were not ordinary people but the priestly class from Jerusalem, men who knew the Prophets and were well aware of the timing involved. It was not just the common folk expecting the Messiah but the learned men of the Temple. Every Jew was living their life in anticipation of God’s Anointed coming during their lifetime.
There were the signs, the prophesies and then the miracles. Everything pointing to Jesus as the Messiah and yet so many missed the greatest event in History happening right before their eyes. John told them and they refused to believe. I wonder if I would have done better. I really hope so, but I wonder.
Have a blessed day,