The Integrity and Humility of John the Baptist and Some Cautions Regarding The Chosen

John the Baptist was uniquely humble and godly. Christ greatly respected John. Please be aware of The Chosen's false view of John.

John the Baptist was a man of exceptional character
(Matthew 3), filled with God's Spirit before his birth:

He will be great in the sight of the Lord … filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:13-17 

His lifestyle was humble and sacrificial: “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” Matthew 3:4(1) 

He honored Christ above all else:

✔ “I’m not even worthy to be [Christ's] slave and untie the straps of his sandal.” John 1:26-27
✔ “He [Jesus] must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:22-36

Jesus' baptism by John confirmed the importance and validity of John's mission (Luke 3:1-22).(2)

After John was arrested, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).(3)

No one born before John had the moral character or faithfulness John possessed, and no one had so great a mission. But the sacrifice of Christ would usher in a new kingdom that John had not fully experienced, a kingdom proclaiming the finished work of Christ.

From beginning to end, John served God faithfully and sacrificially.


John the Baptist was uniquely humble and godly. Christ greatly respected John. Please be aware of The Chosen's false view of John.

(1) John's lifestyle

It may sound strange to us that John ate locusts, but “locusts were among the articles of food permitted by the Law (Leviticus 11:21), and were and are still used by the poor in Palestine and Syria. They are commonly salted and dried, and may be cooked in various ways, pounded, or fried in butter, and they taste like shrimps.… Stress is laid on the simplicity of the Baptist’s fare, requiring no skill or appliances, the food of the poorest wanderer in the wilderness, presenting a marked contrast to the luxury of the dwellers in towns.” Ellicott’s Commentary

John’s lifestyle transmitted humility and service to God in contrast to the Pharisees who sought after luxury and acclaim. Eating locusts was simply part of John's sacrificial lifestyle.

The disciples of Jesus would have been aware of John's mission and character. Before coming to Jesus, Andrew (Simon Peter's brother) was one of John’s disciples (John 1:35-42). The reason Andrew followed Jesus was that he trusted John when John proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God.

(2) John's humility and respect for Christ

Perhaps there is no greater example of humility than what is seen in both Jesus and John in Matthew 3:13–15. Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John in the River Jordan. John rightly recognized that the sinless Son of God needed no baptism of repentance and that he was certainly not worthy to baptize his own Savior. But Jesus answered John’s concern by requesting baptism ‘to fulfill all righteousness,’ meaning that He was identifying Himself with sinners for whom He would ultimately sacrifice Himself, thereby securing all righteousness for them (2 Corinthians 5:21). In humility, John obeyed and consented to baptize Jesus (Matthew 3:13–15). As Jesus came up out of the water, ‘heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” ’ (verses 16–17). Got Questions

Please note: despite Scripture's clear presentation of John's humble and respectful attitude toward Christ, The Chosen presents John as criticizing Christ's priorities and proudly ignoring Christ's advice.

I know that many of you enjoy The Chosen and there are reports of great good coming from the series. But it's important that scriptural errors be addressed in all things, even things that have good elements. 

I've also seen a number of posts claiming that anyone who questions these Scriptural errors in The Chosen is behaving like a Pharisee. But the Pharisees were jealous for their man-made traditions, not for the accurate presentation of God's Word.

(3) John's confrontation of Herod

Scripture affirms John's faithfulness, and nothing in Scripture hints that John was wrong to confront Herod even though it led to John's death. 

“The greatness of men is measured by a divine not a human standard. The prophet, who was more than a prophet, the herald or the forerunner of the kingdom, was greater in his work, his holiness, his intuition of the truth, than the far-off patriarchs, than David or Solomon.” Ellicott's Commentary

“John, with regard to his religious and moral character, was the best of men, so he had some peculiar honours superior to any prophet of former generations.” Benson Commentary 

Because Christ's greatest praise for John came after he was arrested by Herod (Matthew 11:11), there is every reason to believe that John's confrontation of Herod was God's perfect will for John.

Please note: in The Chosen, in conversation with John, Christ suggests that John's confrontation of Herod isn't wise.

Dear Christians, enjoy the good things in The Chosen, but never defend or overlook the scriptural errors. Even small errors matter when it comes to God's Word. 

For other scriptural errors in The Chosen, see Are You Willing to Address Scriptural Contradictions in The Chosen?

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