Reading: John 1: 1-6 and 19-28
Verse 26: “Among you stands one you do not know”.
John’s gospel begins in the beginning – literally – stating that Jesus was there at the beginning of it all. Jesus is the creator, the giver of all life. Jesus is the light that shines into the darkness. Jesus has been present to mankind since the beginning of time. For the Israelites, it feels almost that long that they have been waiting for the Messiah. Their collective journey of faith has been long and winding, filled with ups and downs for a long time now. And for a long time, hundreds of year now, they have been waiting for, longing for, anticipating the coming of the One. It has been 400 years since the last prophet of God even spoke, so John the Baptist draws a crowd when he begins to preach and baptize out in the wilderness.
As a little buzz begins to grow around John, the religious leaders send out some investigators to find out just who John the Baptist really is. It sort of sounds like he could be the One. In response to the investigators initial question, John responds clearly, “I am not the Christ”. For all real purposes, they quit listening. But then they remember they were sent to find out, so they continue to ask who he is. Okay then, who are you? John tells them he is not Elijah returned or any other prophet that they know. He simply tells them that he is the messenger that Isaiah prophesied. John quotes from Isaiah 40, saying, “I am the voice of one calling out in the desert, ‘Make straight paths for the Lord'”. Instead of hearing that the Messiah is about to emerge, they turn to other questioning, giving evidence that they did not really hear this answer either. The religious leaders miss the point of why John is here. It is not about John or what he is doing, it is about what is about to happen. You’d think that for a people waiting hundreds of years for the Messiah, they’d be all over John’s news.
Many people are right here today, just where the religious leaders are. They sense there must be more to life, they want more for their life, they sense the possibilities. John says to the religious leaders, “Among you stands one you do not know”. This remains true today. Jesus is still right here, right now. He stands among us. May we, like John the Baptist, be the voices calling out in the wilderness today, helping others to know the One who stands among us, Jesus Christ.