February 7, 2017
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
A phenomenon was unfolding out in the countryside on the banks of the Jordan River. Word spread like wildfire. Droves of people gathered. God was up to something, and it was not happening in the Temple.
The religious leaders, the ones we would expect to be the lead God-seekers, do not come. They send their cronies. They want to find out not so much what is going on but who is behind it all. They want to know who John is. Where are his credentials? What are his qualifications? From where does he get his so-called authority? He gives them this:
“I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
God stands among you and you do not recognize him because you do not know him. He stands among you in the midst of the crowd, unrecognized, hidden in the ordinary; in the frail frame of a human person. God is not in the Temple. God is not some noumenal presence in the air creating a spiritual atmosphere in which people can experience him. No. God is somewhere in the crowd. He has a face. And he is wearing sandals.
Remember, God is a human being.
Almighty God, thank you for revealing yourself to us as Jesus of Nazareth. We think we grasp this until we really contemplate it. We can be so spiritually minded that we forget to be human. Help us with this. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
- Why are institutions, particularly religious institutions, skeptical and even hostile to things happening outside of their purview and control?
- How are baptism controversies these days just another verse of the same song the religious authorities have always been singing?
- How could anyone have possibly comprehended that God could be a human being back then? Even now?
NOTE: As we embark on John, we’re going to experiment with something new to take our conversation to the next level… on Facebook! This isn’t a place for theological debate (continue to send me emails for those kind of clarifications), but rather this group will be a place where the Daily Text community can get to know one another and learn from each another’s insights and answers to the daily questions. We’re in this together. I’ll see you on over there. Join the Daily Text Facebook group here.
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.