Reading: John 1:19-51
Summary: Having read John’s introduction to the Gospel (1:1-18) at the beginning of July (see July 1), we pick up our reading with the ministry and testimony of John the Baptist. The Gospel writer emphasizes the influence of the Baptizer in directing even his own disciples toward Jesus. Hence, we also have John’s record of the first disciples who began to follow Jesus.
Who Are You?
Are you comfortable with who you are? Is your life caught up in wanting and trying to be something you are not? Would you like for people to think more of you than you really are?
There is something enticing about that. There is a temptation to be sure.
When John the Baptist was approached by a delegation from the religious authorities in Jerusalem they wanted to know if he were none other than the Messiah Himself. Having denied that, they wondered if perhaps he were Elijah, or “the Prophet”.
Can you imagine? These were the three personalities the Jews of the first century anticipated would come from God based on their understanding of Old Testament prophecy. They were correct to anticipate each even though their understanding of them wasn’t exactly correct.
Here was John’s chance to be somebody; or at least for people to think he was somebody. Instead “he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). The literal translation of those words is a bit awkward in English. It’s been paraphrased as, “He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth…” (MSG).
John knew who he was and was comfortable with that. He didn’t need to be anything else. He was “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness” (John 1:23). That itself is remarkable and it’s sadly ironic that his inquisitors missed that, and consequently the one to whom “the voice” spoke.
Still, John had a role to fill, as do we. It may or may not be one that elevates us in the eyes of others. No matter, we should be comfortable with who we are and the role God has given us.