John 1:19-28 THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
John the Baptist has caught the attention of the Jews (actually the Pharisees) because they sent priests and Levites to Bethany (across the Jordan where John was baptizing) to question John about who he is. John out rightly professes that he is not Christ. The confused priests and Levites think he must be claiming to be Elijah or the Prophet. They thought he might be fulfilling Malachi 4:5, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes," or be fulfilling Deuteronomy 18:15, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen." John flat out denies he is these as well. John replies that he is the person the prophet Isaiah spoke about, hence scripture is being fulfilled. Isaiah 40:3 is fulfilled, "A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God." The priests and Levites question John's activity of baptizing since he is neither Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet. John replies that he baptizes with water (get cleaned up and ready because...) and then testifies to the One (Jesus) who will come after him. I say with John, "the straps of Jesus's sandals I am not worthy to untie." The untying of a sandal strap was done by a lowly servant before a foot washing. John is saying that he is lower than the lowest in that he does not even deserve to untie his strap. At the time, Jews baptized Gentiles who wanted to become Jews, so for a Jew to be baptized like a Gentile was a huge act of submission. John's baptism was not continual as in today's baptism by the Holy Spirit that regenerates.