So more detail is given concerning John’s interaction with the people who came out to see him and find out who he was. Representatives were sent out by those in authority in Jerusalem, the ruling groups in the religious sector of Israel, the Pharisees and such. Note that they did not come themselves to see what all the ruckus was about. This Kingdom coming stuff. But they sent out little runners, little gofers to ask John questions.
When Christ was born, just 30 years prior, they did not go looking for him. Now John is in the desert teaching Bible doctrine and baptizing people and has been doing so for about 6 months. So word has gotten around.
John states that he was not the Christ, nor a prophet, nor a resurrected prophet. ‘So who are you? They ask.’ They haven’t a clue. And John gives them an answer from scripture. ‘I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.’ Isa. 40.
These men were keepers of the scriptures and should have known the prophecies. They should have known that Christ was already born and living among them, yet they do not go looking for Him. Instead they go looking for John, but only because there was a stir, caused by him out in the desert, among the general population, and this was a threat to their positions of power and as representatives of the religious organization they had at that time.
But now their dispensation was nearing its end, and they were expecting the Christ to come riding in from heaven on a white war horse. Destroying the Romans and anyone else who got in the way, and then establishing their kingdom. Note I said their kingdom and not the Kingdom of God. God was only a means to their selfish end. A convenient tool for controlling the population.
John gives them doctrine, scripture they should know, yet they missed the point completely. The Pharisees were identified because they were the primary instigators of this interrogation. And the questions continued. Well if not the Christ, or a prophet, then why the baptisms?
And John answers them clearly. They don’t know who is coming. They do not know Christ. They are unbelievers, holding the offices of God’s appointed priesthood, yet they don’t even know the one whom they are supposed to be representing and teaching people about.
John is not worthy of untying Christ’s sandals. How much less worthy are they who think they represent God and do not. Sandals walk on the dust and that is our heritage. Not being sons of Abraham, or followers of this philosophy or that, but dust, worthless dust. Yet God sets out a plan to save our worthless backsides and we do not earn it or deserve it.
And finally these events took place in Bethany beyond he Jordan River. Bethany means, ‘house of passage’. This where introduction to the gospel takes place. Thee is only one means of salvation and that is through the only gate, the only house of passage, Jesus Christ. This took place some distance from Jerusalem, because doctrine was some distance from Jerusalem. Jerusalem should have been a fortress of doctrine, but it was really an empty temple city which had forgotten about God. So from out in the wilderness God comes. Those who seek God will always find him. Those who do not seek God, will never find him. Those who are sincere in their search will be rewarded. Those who are phony in their search will always come up empty.