1:20 He confessed – he did not deny but confessed – “I am not the Christ!” 1
1:25 So they asked John, 2 “Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, 3 nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
1:27 who is coming after me. I am not worthy 4 to untie the strap 5 of his sandal!”
1 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).
sn “I am not the Christ.” A 3rd century work, the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions (1.54 and 1.60 in the Latin text; the statement is not as clear in the Syriac version) records that John’s followers proclaimed him to be the Messiah. There is no clear evidence that they did so in the 1st century, however – but Luke 3:15 indicates some wondered. Concerning the Christ, the term χριστός (cristos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.
2 tn Grk “And they asked him, and said to him”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the phrase has been simplified in the translation to “So they asked John.”
3 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).
sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.
4 tn Grk “of whom I am not worthy.”
sn The humility of John is evident in the statement I am not worthy. This was considered one of the least worthy tasks of a slave, and John did not consider himself worthy to do even that for the one to come, despite the fact he himself was a prophet.
5 tn The term refers to the leather strap or thong used to bind a sandal. This is often viewed as a collective singular and translated as a plural, “the straps of his sandals,” but it may be more emphatic to retain the singular here.