This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.” John 1:19-20 NLT
After hearing about the crowds following John and the great numbers that were being baptized, the priests and temple officials came to check him out. They understood from all the reports that he was a person of influence and they needed to know who he was. Several questions would be on their tongue. ‘Are you Elijah? Are you one of the prophets?’ But before asking those, they started with the obvious. ‘Who are you?’ John must have sensed what they were really asking so he set all rumors straight by cutting to the chase. “I am not the Messiah.”
How would it feel to grow up knowing that your parents, Elizabeth and Zachariah, were blessed by God in their old age to bear a child, that child was you, and your life had an incredible purpose shared by no one else ~ to prepare the way for the Messiah. How would you not feel special? How would you not want to tell others of your destiny, to have them share the wonder of it all? “I’m John, the one who was miraculously born to prepare the way for our Messiah.” Would that have been arrogant? Perhaps it’s the battle Joseph faced as a teenager when he wanted to share his dreams and the wonder of his father’s love with his brothers.
The divine anointing on John’s life was evident through his following. But lest others think that he was the chosen one they had been waiting for, he would not delay setting the record straight. He would tell them who he was not….rather than who he was. He would not become the object of their fascination, or worse, their worship. Soon, the Messiah would appear and John could blend into the background with all the others to worship the only One worthy of worship.
Notoriety can be an opiate. The humility to defer to One greater grates against our human need to be the center of attention. John called himself ‘a voice’. That’s all. When it comes down to it, each of us are equipped to be a nameless part of Christ’s body until His appearing. Who are we? We are shepherds, teachers, helpers and equippers, people of hospitality, comforters and discerners of spirits. We are created lives destined to use our anointed gifts to light up the face of Jesus. We are lights, a city on a hill. Our light can often be dazzling but not because of anything we’ve done. We are broken “jars of clay” in God’s hands. We are illuminated by the light of His glory and His face shines brilliantly through the cracks and flaws of imperfection. John never lost sight of His own sinfulness and Jesus’ perfection.
I need not be tall in other’s eyes. I am significant to You so help that register deeply where my insecurities fester. Amen