Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991.
“Jesus’ Self-Disclosure in Word and Deed (1:19-10:42) A. Prelude to Jesus’ Public Ministry (1:19-51)” pp. 141-166.
Carson notes the altogether reasonable report of “the Jews” sending investigators to question John the Baptist about Jesus. Carson notes that John’s use of “the Jews” is multi-faceted and not always negative (Carson 1991, 141). The question of these priests and Levites in John 1:10-21 strongly suggests their concern was with the nature of the claims of Jesus to be Messiah (Carson 1991, 142-143). John the Baptist does not see himself as either the Messiah or as the “Elijah” to come. John does make it clear that he recognizes his role as a forerunner of the Messiah (Carson 1991, 144).
Commenting on vv. 24-25, Carson entertains and rejects the idea of a second embassy questioning John. He also does not think the entire group consists of Pharisees. He favors a subset of the interogators being Pharisees, asking more questions (Carson 1991, 144). Carson observes that the most serious question is the authority to administer baptism. As a washing of purification it was surprising that it would be administered by another individual. Most washings were self-administered (Carson 1991, 145). John turns attention away from the question to the authority of Jesus (Carson 1991, 146).
Verses 29-34 continue to introduce Jesus as the Messiah. Carson observes that John makes a point to use many Messianic titles (Carson 1991, 147). Verse 29 identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” a title which may well have been hard to understand as Messianic. Carson observes that the disciples did not grasp the role of suffering until afte the resurrection (Carson 1991, 149). Carson examines several possible references before concluding that John may have been thinking of some literary references to a warrior lamb who would battle sin as a Messiah (Carson 1991, 150). The discussion continues with John’s witness of the Holy Spirit remaining on Jesus (Carson 1991, 151). The work of Jesus is that of the “chosen one” or “son of” God, who both reveals God and offers himself to save the world (Carson 1991, 152-153).
Verses 35-42 show various disciples attaching themselves to Jesus (Carson 1991, 154). Their early experience following Jesus helps them see the content of his life, persuading them that he is the Messiah (Carson 1991, 155).
Verses 43-51 portray two additional disciples, Philip and Nathaniel. Carson sees this as a demonstration that although the people as a whole did not receive Jesus, some did (Carson 1991, 157). The group follows Jesus into Galilee. Carson gives a brief geographical orientation (Carson 1991, 158). The encounter of Jesus and Nathanael serves to show Nathanael as a good Israelite and Jesus as the good which unexpectedly comes from Nazareth (Carson 1991, 160). Jesus is the true Son of God, real Israel (Carson 1991, 162).