22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
Having given up asking specific questions, the delegation from Jerusalem now asked John the Baptist who he thought he was.
22 So they said to him,
The delegation was so exasperated after hearing the series of denials by John the Baptist to their specific questions that they asked him a general question about who he was. They ran out of suggested theories about who he was.
“Who are you?
For the second time the religious leaders again asked him who he was. They had to have an answer for their leaders back in Jerusalem. They were at a point of exasperation. They said in effect, “Openly declare who you are.”
We need to give an answer to those who sent us.
The delegation indicated they had to give an answer back at the Jerusalem temple. Political issues were at stake here. John had become a popular preacher among the people.
What do you say about yourself?”
The idea here is, “If you are not who we think you are, who do you think you are?” They put him on the spot to give an answer.
Clarity of mission is crucial for ministry.
Our mission is to exalt Christ. This is something we must steadfastly adhere to if we are to keep our focus (1 Pe 5:5; Lu 14:11). As John the Baptist would say later in John, “He must increase; I must decrease.” Some of us think we have made a success in life if others exalt us or recognize our achievements. God’s view of our success is how much we exalt Christ.