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John 1:20

ESV He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."
NIV He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Messiah."
NASB And he confessed and did not deny; and this is what he confessed: 'I am not the Christ.'
CSB He didn’t deny it but confessed: "I am not the Messiah."
NLT He came right out and said, 'I am not the Messiah.'
KJV And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
NKJV He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

What does John 1:20 mean?

In John's gospel, he typically refers to Israel's spiritual leaders using the term "the Jews." The Baptist was willing to answer questions from these local religious leaders. However, he made it clear that he was not the Messiah, nor was he claiming to be. Unlike arrogant spiritual leaders, John the Baptist is not interested in personal glory. He preaches only to lead people towards God's Promised One. Several times in this conversation, John implies that he would much rather talk about the Messiah than about himself.

The term Messiah comes from a Hebrew word meaning "the anointed One," or the Savior. Prophecies such as Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Daniel 9:25–26 had predicted His coming. The Jewish people had waited for this rescuer for centuries. Recently, this waiting had become especially painful, as Israel was under the control of the Roman Empire. The concept is translated into Greek using the term "Christos," from which we derive the English title "the Christ."
What is the Gospel?
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