Reading: John 1: 29-34
John the Baptist operated from outside the traditional corridors of power. He was not a Pharisee or a Sadducee or any other type of official religious person. John lived a life of simplicity and sparsity. He dressed very plainly, ate locusts and wild honey, and lived in the wilderness. One day he simply showed up and started preaching about repentance and living according to God’s ways. People soon came to see the deep connection John had with God that revealed itself in how he lived and in how he preached. Many people came out to hear John. Many were moved and were baptized in the waters of the Jordan, symbolizing cleansing and a commitment to more holy living.
By the time Jesus came by to be baptized, John had a lot of followers and had developed a lot of credibility from his preaching and lifestyle. John was popular but had always claimed a lesser role since the beginning of his ministry. When the Pharisees questioned who he was and what he was doing, he quoted from Isaiah, saying he was “preparing the way for the Lord”. He went on to say he was unworthy to even untie the sandal of the Lord. Even with droves of people coming to see him, to hear him, and to be baptized by him, John remained true to his calling. Even though jealous religious authorities came to question him, he never claimed any credit or power. John never lost focus on his ultimate mission.
So when Jesus approached, John declared, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”. John testified about Jesus’ baptism, stating, “I saw the Holy Spirit come down from heaven” when he baptized Jesus and goes on to identify Jesus as the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. This section concludes with John’s testimony: “I testify that this is the Son of God”.
John was popular. John was drawing a good crowd. John knew his purpose: to point people to Jesus, to prepare the way. John used his popularity and authority to declare who Jesus was. John wanted them to know Jesus. May we, like John, seek to reveal Jesus to those in our lives so that they too can come to know the Son of God, the Savior of the world.