Despite the tremendous anointing that rested upon John the Baptist, he was remarkably humble. Are we? #Reflectonthis #DailyReflection https://youtu.be/PsuEcthSQDM
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ ”as the prophet Isaiah said.
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
John the Baptist was quite an amazing man, both in terms of behavior and of ministry. For one, he ate honey and locusts and wore clothing made of camel hair (see Mark 1:6). For another, he called people to repentance, baptizing them in the wilderness in which he lived. Despite the tremendous anointing that rested upon him and the huge following he had, John the Baptist was remarkably humble. This humility stood out in sharp contrast to the pride of the religious leaders of his time, who send a delegation to find out who he was.
John could possibly have used this opportunity to crow, but true to form, he makes no attempt to seek glory. Although he is of priestly descent (remember his father was Zechariah, the high priest), John doesn't claim any lineage. He says flat out that he isn't the Messiah. And he even says he is not “the” prophet, even though he obviously is one. When pressed for an answer, he identifies himself only in terms of his service to God. "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness," he says, "Making straight the way of the Lord."
But then, they have another question. If John isn't the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet, why is he baptizing people? Again, he deflects the question, pointing instead to Jesus, who was to come. He says, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal." Isn't that pretty amazing? But there is something curious about this conversation that's taking place. The people cross-examining John are priests and Levites — people of God — but they don't seem to have a clue about what God is doing in the desert.
And they don't seem to understand what John is doing either. So, they oppose him. And, later, when Jesus appears and announces himself as the one they were waiting for, they stand in opposition to him too. The same thing happens today, as well. People who do God's will in a different manner from what we are accustomed to, face the same suspicion, and often censure. There is a lesson contained in today's passage for those in the role of John the Baptist and those in the role of the Jewish leaders. The former would do well to be humble. The latter would do well to seek the will of God.
Although, when you think about it, all of us should do both. No?
Today's devotional — Making it Straight — is based on John 1:6-8,19-28, the gospel reading for the day. The reflection is by Aneel Aranha, founder of Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI). Follow him on Facebook: fb.com/aneelaranha
Subscribe to Daily Reflection with Aneel Aranha and receive this every morning to your WhatsApp account. Save +91 9321456817 to your contacts. Message SUBSCRIBE to this number. It’s FREE!