This was the testimony of John when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants a from Jerusalem to ask John whether he claimed to be the Messiah.
He flatly denied it. "I am not the Messiah," he said.
"Well then, who are you?" they asked. "Are you Elijah?" "No," he replied."Are you the Prophet?" b "No."
"Then who are you? Tell us, so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?"
John replied in the words of Isaiah: "I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord's coming!'" c24
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 baptize with d water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not know,
who will soon begin his ministry. I am not even worthy to be his slave. e "
This incident took place at Bethany, a village east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
He is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Soon a man is coming who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before I did.'
I didn't know he was the one, but I have been baptizing with water in order to point him out to Israel."
Then John said, "I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him.
I didn't know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, 'When you see the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon someone, he is the one you are looking for. He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Son of God. f "
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)