John 1:24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked (John the Baptist), “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.”
V.26 seems to indicate that Jesus was among the disciples listening to John’s teaching and being baptized by him, “Among you stands one you do not know…”. Jesus was hiding in plain sight so to speak. But Jesus’ hour had not yet come to lead a ministry of his own. That would come when John was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.
John seems to be aware that Jesus’ ministry would ultimately overshadow his own, but I wonder if he anticipated the brutal and sudden nature of that leadership transition. I’ll bet not. Seems that God rarely acts as people like us anticipate.