For hundreds of years, people had been waiting for the promised Messiah to come. Daniel chapter 9 was a time prophecy about the Messiah, and everyone who was familiar with the prophecy knew it was about time for him to appear. When John started preaching and baptizing in Jordan, many wondered if he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15). So the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him if he was (John 1:19).
20. And he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Messiah.
21. And they asked, What then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not. Are you that prophet? And he answered, No.
What did they mean by THAT PROPHET? In the book of Deuteronomy, God told Moses this.
18. I will raise up a Prophet for them, from among their brothers, like you, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall tell them all that I shall command him.
So the people of Israel were looking for THAT PROPHET that God said would come, and now they thought he had. But, John told them he was not him, but he told them this;
23. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 40:3).
John said he was sent to prepare the way of the Lord, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Through the prophet Malachi, God adds more detail to this prophecy.
1. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you look for, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, says the LORD of hosts.
In John 1:25, after John the Baptist told the priests and Levites that he was the messenger crying in the wilderness that God had sent to prepare the way of the Lord, they asked him, “If you are not that Messiah, nor Elijah, nor THAT PROPHET, then why are you baptizing?” (John 1:25)
26. John answered them, saying, I baptize with water, but there is one among you, whom you do not know.
27. It is he, who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe latches I am not worthy to loosen.
It’s interesting that John says “There is one AMONG you” to describe the One he was preparing the way for. In Isaiah’s prophecy, God had said he would raise up a prophet from AMONG them. Now, years later, the time had finally come and this generation was about to encounter THAT PROPHET.
29. The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
30. This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man who is preferred before me, because he was before me.
31. And I knew him not: only that he should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.
32. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
33. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, said to me, “Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
34. And I saw, and testify that this is the Son of God.
John identified Jesus as the One he was sent to prepare the way for, and as THAT PROPHET God had raised up from AMONG them, and as the Son of God.
Remember when Jesus fed the five thousand with only five loaves and two fish? Look what they said about him then.
14. Then, when those men had seen the miracle that Jesus did, they said, Truly this is THAT PROPHET that should come into the world.
Based on the testimony of John the Baptist and others in holy scripture we can safely say that Jesus Christ is THAT PROPHET. But here it is, plainly spelled out for us, by Luke and the Apostle Paul.
22. For Moses truly said to the fathers, the Lord your God will raise up a prophet unto you of your brothers, like me; and you shall hear him in all things whatsoever he shall say to you.
23. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, who will not hear THAT PROPHET, shall be destroyed from among the people.
24. Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those that followed after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
25. You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your seed, all the people of the earth shall be blessed”
26. Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from their sins.
4. Then Paul said, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe in him who should come after him, that is, in Christ Jesus.
After careful study of the scriptures, there can be no doubt that John the Baptist was the one sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. The angel Gabriel had told John’s father, Zachariah, what he would do even before his miraculous conception (Luke 1:5-17).
Careful study of the scriptures also leaves no doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. This study shows that Jesus is the One that God raised up in fulfillment of the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15-18. JESUS is THAT PROPHET.
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