Bible Reference: John 1:22-25
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)
Bible Text: 22 “Then who are you? Tell us, so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say for yourself?”
23 He replied, “I am a voice from the barren wilderness, shouting as Isaiah prophesied, ‘Get ready for the coming of the Lord!’”
24-25 Then those who were sent by the Pharisees asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
OBSERVATION: John the Baptist was in a position where he was recognized by the local authority as one who was different, and one who seemed to be honoring another king – Jesus. Was he a threat to the current leadership? Perhaps, but who exactly is he? Those were the questions needing an answer by the Pharisees. John could have run, out of fear, or he could have chosen to brag on himself. As we meditate, on this Scripture, let’s contemplate how we might have responded! Furthermore, how would we respond to similar questions today!
APPLICATION: I believe we should examine ourselves and decide how we would answer, in a variety of settings, the question posed to John the Baptist. Who are you? for we need to tell those who have sent us. OK, in a church setting where an elder or a deacon approaches you with that type of question, I believe you will first respond with your name, and perhaps your family relations, if you are from the local area. If they continue to gaze at you for more information, perhaps you will continue by giving them your past church affiliation, if any, otherwise you might share where your parents attended church. Next, you might share about your employment. Unless further provoked, I believe that’s about as much as you might voluntarily share. If specifically asked about your relationship with Christ, some might freely share, while some might squirm a bit, as they are uncomfortable talking about their religious beliefs – mostly afraid of follow-up questions, I believe. So that might be your response in a safe, Christian-type environment. What if questioned at your job, or in a public place where others are being asked the same questions? Will you respond as you did at church? Think carefully, because while in a ‘safe’ environment, it is easy to give honest answers to almost any question. One thing I would like to remind us about today is that in every scenario on earth, God is there, and listening to every response. While we hope that He will always be proud of us as we respond boldly like John the Baptist, I feel like we must always pray that we would not respond like Peter ‘I never knew the man’. Peer pressure will lead you to respond like you believe they want to hear from you. But remember, God said ‘look, I will send my Son to the cross to provide you forgiveness of your sin, and I will send Him now, even while you are still very much a sinner’. I believe God might be expecting us to be as bold as He was – willing to claim Him privately, and in public, regardless of any implications that might follow. Friends, be aware that there are times where people in the audience might chuckle about you claiming Christ as your Savior, for they may never have attended church, or been challenged with the gospel. May I encourage you to still be honest about the best relationship you will ever encounter? For there might also be one in the audience who heard of Jesus, but never experienced Him, nor anyone who has experienced Him. For you to wiggle your way out of an honest response tells that individual that there is no value in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ, and that He may not even exist. Who are you, dear one? I pray that your relationship with Jesus is at the very top of explaining who you are!
PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, I humbly ask that You fill Your children with an extra dose of boldness today. I am thankful that in my country I can freely attend church, freely accept You as Lord, and declare you in public – free from the law of the land. Unfortunately, my friends and I are often challenged internally to talk about You in public places because of ridicule and our personal pride. So if asked publicly who we are, I’m not sure what automatic responses might come forth. In heaven, I believe that only one response will truly matter, so please help us to live in the light of eternity and therefore respond to earthly questions in much the same way that we will do when we stand before You. Speaking the truth, in love, may very well speak volumes to the one asking, and we want them to know Jesus more than anything else. We need Your strength Lord, because we want our boldness and honesty to speak Truth at all times. Please help us oh God! AMEN!