John 1:31-35
John 1:31 (KJB)
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
John the Baptist was the earthly cousin of Jesus so he would have known Him in a manner of how we know our own extended families. However, what John is stating here is that he did not know Christ as the Savior. This is a work of the Holy Spirit as He saves a person and once that person is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, the person can then recognize who Christ is. (2 Cor 5:16 KJV) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. The Apostle Paul had written something to that effect when he stated that we do not know other Christians according to the flesh but we know them by the fact they are saved which means that the relationship changes. Those who were once our spiritual enemies have now become our brethren. John the Baptist was not introducing the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh but was introducing Him as the Messiah, the promised Savior. Therefore, since Jesus is now coming to John as the Messiah, he introduces baptism, which is one of the two commands the Lord Jesus Christ will give to His church, the other being partaking of the Lord’s Supper until He returns. Baptism was important at this point because it represents the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and circumcision will no longer be done since the Mosaic law will be done away with in the arena of sacrifice and types.
John 1:32 (KJB)
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
John now testified to the fact that he saw the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus. Now it must be understood that Jesus did not need to be filled with the Spirit because He is the second person of the trinity. This was done to give confirmation to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah. The Holy Spirit is invisible so we cannot see Him but we can see the effects of His ministry and here He was confirming who Jesus was, not only to John but to all those around Him. The dove was also used in the Mosaic system as a sacrifice for those who were too poor to afford a lamb, so it showed that those who were poor were not excluded from the salvation plan of God. It was not salvation by intellect or position but by grace which will encompass all areas of society.
John 1:33 (KJB)
And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Here John is stating that God the Father had told him how to recognize the true Messiah. The Spirit descending and abiding upon Jesus was the heavenly testimony of who Jesus was and allowed John to recognize Him and introduce Him to Israel as the Messiah, the one they were waiting for. He was not here to become involved in anything political like leading a revolt against Rome, but He came as the Savior to reconcile the Elect of God back to God. (Acts 1:5 KJV) For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Acts 1:5 confirms the earlier testimony by God that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost*. The baptism of John was an outward sign but the baptism in the Holy Ghost means that a person is indwelled by Him permanently uniting him or her in salvation with the Lord Jesus Christ forever. (Col 3:3 KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
*Let me introduce a bit of word history. Many do not like the term “Ghost” when speaking of the Holy Spirit, because in today’s society the word ghost is used synonymously with haunting by the dead. Nothing could be further from the truth. The word “Ghost” is an early English word contraction of “God’s Host.” So it is used improperly when applied to the occult in any way. One more point. There are TV programs focusing on dead people haunting or voices from a grave. I remember watching a program where they taped a voice coming from a very old grave. The voice said, “I came up with Betty.” The voice repeated it several times. First of all, any time there is a voice like that it is a devil imitating a dead person. If you are taping a voice from a 200 year old grave, then how do you know that is the voice. These things are satanic as only Satan’s kingdom is allowed to break the silence barrier. These voices are never of the people who died. Secondly, notice what that voice said, “I CAME UP.” (1 Sam 28:14 KJV) And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. When King Saul had tried to contact Samuel through a medium, you will notice where the old man came from. He “CAME UP” which means both of these contacts were satanic in origin. Samuel would have been in Heaven and would not be coming up, but he would have came down. (John 6:38 KJV) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. Once a believer is in Heaven, he is there permanently unless God sends one back such as Lazarus, which was done as a miracle before the Bible was completed.
John 1:34 (KJB)
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Bare record - Have borne witness
Since John was given direct revelation from God the Father concerning how to recognize His Son, John now declares Him to be the Son of God because He fulfilled the signs that the Father would use to declare Him. Now the words “bare record” are in the perfect tense which means a completed action with the effects as ongoing. John had received revelation from God the Father on how to recognize His Son and here John completes that action by declaring to those around him and to the world that this is the Son of God, by revelatory declaration from God the Father. (1 John 2:23 KJV) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. This is why John wrote some years later in his first epistle, that if you do not have the Son, then you do not have the Father. That is because God had declared Him as His Son and if you disbelieve that fact, then you are basically calling God a liar. There are many world religions who think they are right with God by rejecting Jesus but they do not understand that God Himself has declared that Jesus is His Son. So without the Son, you do not have the Father.
John 1:35 (KJB)
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
The next day, which was the day after John introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God, John stood there. The word “stood” is like a picture of a person standing there expectantly. At this point it looks like John was not baptizing but was waiting for something to happen and this time he had two of his disciples with him. No doubt his disciples were with him while he was baptizing but now they are mentioned for very specific reason.