When the Jerusalem Religionazis asked John who he was, (20) he was very clear:
“I am not The Messiah.”
(21) “Are you Elijah?”
“Are you ‘The Prophet’?”
(22) “Well who ARE you then? We need an answer.
(23) “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
(24-25) “So you’re not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet. Then why are you immersing people as if you are?”
(26) “I immerse people in water, and somehow that makes you think I’m a big deal. But there is someone right here in this crowd, someone you don’t know. (27) He is the Johnny Carson to my Ed McMahon. I’m not worthy to spit-polish his Nikes.”
(28) This all happened at Bethany (not Bethany the Jerusalem suburb, but the Bethany on the East bank of the Jordan), where John was immersing people in water.