John 1:6-8, 19-28 (CEV)
6 God sent a man named John,
7 who came to tell
about the light
and to lead all people
to have faith.
8 John wasn’t that light.
He came only to tell
about the light.
John the Baptist Tells about Jesus
19-20 The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, “No, I am not!” And when they asked if he were the Prophet, he also said “No!”
22 Finally, they said, “Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!”
23 John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am only someone shouting in the desert, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord!’”
24 Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25 They asked him, “Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?”
26 John told them, “I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don’t know. 27 Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals.” 28 John said this as he was baptizing east of the Jordan River in Bethany.
A case of mistaken identity. The leaders want to know who John is. The Messiah? Elijah? The Prophet? They wanted to know who this man was.
John was clear on who he was and what his role was – and more importantly wasn’t. He knew he wasn’t the Messiah – but was the one to prepare the way for the Messiah, to get things ready.
When the Olympic Torch Relay came to our town, before the actual relay arrived a police convoy came through,
checking the route was clear, preparing the way. When they appeared, we knew the torch was not far away. This is kind of John the Baptists role. He is not the main show, he is preparing for the one who is.
John is announcing the Lord, he is not the Lord. He knows it.
It is good for us all to be aware we are not the Messiah…
I am in admiration, and maybe a little envious, of John knowing so clearly who he was and exactly what he was called to do.
Maggi moves on to the question of Jesus calling and his understanding of it (p77), and then ours.
How do we know our calling? How can we be sure?
This passage made me think of this clip:
and how easy it is for people to believe what they want to see, about people, about Messiahship, about calling – and how wrong they can be. No matter what others want us to be, or think we are, we are called by God to be the person he has called us to be.
What we can be sure of is that each of us is called to something. Our responsibility is to fulfil our calling and not someone else’s, what we wish ours was, or what other people would try and fit us into. And we all have a role to play in helping each other identify and live out whatever our calling may be.
Thank you Lord
for calling me
to be me,
to fulfil the task you have called me to.
Thank you that you call each of us,
with our own unique task
when I try to squeeze myself
into a calling that isn’t mine,
or avoid the one that is.
I pray for the clarity
to know who I am
and what you are asking me to do.
May I also allow others
to be what you have called them to be,
to do what you have asked of them,
and not necessarily
what seems obvious.
Lord work in me,
as you need to
This year, several of us are reading Beginnings and Endings by Maggi Dawn and joining together to comment on it. Do join us at the Adventbookclub Facebook page, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter or comment below. If you are also reading and blogging on this book, let me know and I will link to your blog.