John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am the voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!'” John 1:23 NLT
If a stranger says, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ I might answer, “I am a mother, wife, author, musician, and director of a women’s ministry?”
But what might my reply be if I was interrogated in a hostile setting. “Who do you think you are!” Would I scramble to list my credentials, putting to rest any insinuations that I was somehow unqualified? And would bragging add weight to my credibility? Probably not. In fact, it could backfire.
John the Baptist was a priest from the line of Aaron. Strong credentials! Yet, when the priests and Levites from Jerusalem investigated him ~ the equivalent of an inquisition by the Vatican ~ he stuns us with his answer. The question was posed. “Who are you?” But the one who did have impressive credentials divested himself of them all for a bigger purpose. He revealed that he was simply a voice to prepare people to see Jesus. John didn’t say, “I am one teaching” or “I am one telling.” He described his delivery as shouting or crying. It’s impossible to cry out publicly without passion, without intensity.
I ask myself if I ever talk about Jesus void of feeling. Do I teach in dry, sterile tones? Or is there a magnetic quality to my words because my heart has long been engaged from personal experience? Would heartfelt describe others’ experience of me? Does my call to others to believe, to trust God, come across as an act that will be lifesaving to them? If my faith in Christ has not been lifesaving to me, I will never speak of it in any other way but casual.
Who am I, Lord? I am a voice you are using, one who speaks with passion, one who hears your mind in the wilderness, and one whose goal it is to make the way for you straighter today than it was yesterday. Amen