Luke 3:15

ESV As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,
NIV The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.
NASB Now while the people were in a state of expectation and they all were thinking carefully in their hearts about John, whether he himself perhaps was the Christ,
CSB Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were questioning in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah.
NLT Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah.
KJV And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

What does Luke 3:15 mean?

Many came from around the region of Judea to hear John the Baptist preach (Matthew 3:5–6). His message was a call for repentance. He proclaimed the need to turn from sin and live consistently with that repentance (Luke 3:3, 8–9). To those who asked, John gave practical examples of how to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance." Those were aligned with temptations common to various groups in his era (Luke 3:10–14).

John's powerful message and unusual lifestyle (Luke 1:80; Matthew 3:4) certainly made an impression. This led to speculation that he was "the Christ." The word Christos in Greek presents the same idea as the Hebrew term Mashiyach, from which we get the English term Messiah. The people wonder if John is the One promised by Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 9:6–7).

The New Testament records several instances where John refuses to take on this title (Luke 3:16–17; John 1:19–20). John is not the Savior; he is a herald of the Savior (Isaiah 40:3–5; Malachi 3:1; 4:5–6). His purpose is to point others toward Jesus (John 3:28–30).
What is the Gospel?
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