John 1:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 1:26, NIV: I baptize with water,' John replied, 'but among you stands one you do not know.

John 1:26, ESV: John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,

John 1:26, KJV: John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

John 1:26, NASB: John answered them, saying, 'I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.

John 1:26, NLT: John told them, 'I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize.

John 1:26, CSB: "I baptize with water," John answered them. "Someone stands among you, but you don't know him.

What does John 1:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Pharisees have challenged John the Baptist's right to baptize. Jewish converts were often baptized, but the Baptist was performing this ritual on those who were already Jewish. And, he did so without any claim to priesthood or prophet-hood. He is neither the Savior, a re-born Elijah, or the prophet Moses predicted (Deuteronomy 18:18). In John 1:25, they essentially asked the Baptist, "Who do you think you are?" John the Baptist responds that his ministry only uses physical tools, such as baptism with water. The ministry of Jesus will go far beyond physical rituals. The Baptist then immediately declares that there is someone present whom the Pharisees don't know. In John 1:27, the Baptist will explain that this "One" is so much greater than him that he isn't worthy to untie his sandals. In this era of history, people walked everywhere and their feet would become covered in dirt, dust, and dung. Tending to someone else's shoes was the lowest chore of the lowest servant. This is how far beneath the Promised One John the Baptist sees himself.