John 1:19

And this is the witness of John (kai auth estin h marturia tou Iwanou). He had twice already alluded to it (verses Acts 7, 15 Acts 15 ) and now he proceeds to give it as the most important item to add after the Prologue. Just as the author assumes the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke, so he assumes the Synoptic accounts of the baptism of Jesus by John, but adds various details of great interest and value between the baptism and the Galilean ministry, filling out thus our knowledge of this first year of the Lord's ministry in various parts of Palestine. The story in John proceeds along the same lines as in the Synoptics. There is increasing unfolding of Christ to the disciples with increasing hostility on the part of the Jews till the final consummation in Jerusalem. When the Jews sent unto him (ote apesteilan pro auton oi Ioudaioi). John, writing in Ephesus near the close of the first century long after the destruction of Jerusalem, constantly uses the phrase "the Jews" as descriptive of the people as distinct from the Gentile world and from the followers of Christ (at first Jews also). Often he uses it of the Jewish leaders and rulers in particular who soon took a hostile attitude toward both John and Jesus. Here it is the Jews from Jerusalem who sent (apesteilan, first aorist active indicative of apostellw). Priests and Levites (ierei kai Leueita). Sadducees these were. Down below in verse Acts 24 the author explains that it was the Pharisees who sent the Sadducees. The Synoptics throw a flood of light on this circumstance, for in Matthew 3:7 we are told that the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees "offspring of vipers" ( Luke 3:7 ). Popular interest in John grew till people were wondering "in their hearts concerning John whether haply he were the Christ" ( Luke 3:15 ). So the Sanhedrin finally sent a committee to John to get his own view of himself, but the Pharisees saw to it that Sadducees were sent. To ask him (ina erwthswsin auton). Final ina and the first aorist active subjunctive of erwtaw, old verb to ask a question as here and often in the Koin to ask for something ( John 14:16 ) like aitew. Who art thou? (su ti ei;). Direct question preserved and note proleptic position of su, "Thou, who art thou?" The committee from the Sanhedrin put the question sharply up to John to define his claims concerning the Messiah.