John the Baptist was not the Christ Messiah (Jn 3:28-3:28)

“You yourselves

Are my witnesses,

That I said.

‘I am not

The Messiah,

The Christ.

But I have been sent

Ahead of him.’”

αὐτοὶ ὑμεῖς μοι μαρτυρεῖτε ὅτι εἶπον Οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐγὼ ὁ Χριστός, ἀλλ’ ὅτι Ἀπεσταλμένος εἰμὶ ἔμπροσθεν ἐκείνου

John uniquely had John the Baptist continue with his poetic theological presentation.  John the Baptist said that his disciples were his witnesses to his own testimony (αὐτοὶ ὑμεῖς μοι μαρτυρεῖτε), using the second person plural.  He had said (ὅτι εἶπον) that he was not the Messiah or the Christ (Οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐγὼ ὁ Χριστός).  However, he had been sent before or ahead of the Messiah (ἀλλ’ ὅτι Ἀπεσταλμένος εἰμὶ ἔμπροσθεν ἐκείνου).  Was this still a question in the late first century?  How strong were the followers of John the Baptist?  Would you have been a follower of John the Baptist?

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