In those days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea
And this is the testimony of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you?
Then they said to him, Who are you? Tell us, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?
As the people were in suspense and waiting expectantly, and everybody reasoned and questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether he perhaps might be the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
He confessed (admitted the truth) and did not try to conceal it, but acknowledged, I am not the Christ!
You yourselves are my witnesses [you personally bear me out] that I stated, I am not the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), but I have [only] been sent before Him [in advance of Him, to be His appointed forerunner, His messenger, His announcer].
And as John was ending his course, he asked, What or who do you secretly think that I am? I am not He [the Christ. No], but note that after me One is coming, the sandals of Whose feet I am not worthy to untie!
They asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not! Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No!
And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom].
But I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know or recognize him, but did to him as they liked. So also the Son of Man is going to be treated and suffer at their hands.
But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and [people] did to him whatever they desired, as it is written of him.
He was not the Light himself, but came that he might bear witness regarding the Light.
This is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You.
And they asked him, Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?