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.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
I love that John knew exactly who he was, what he was doing and why he was to do it. We’re told that he was completely honest, didn’t evade the questions, nor did he make anything up, he was the one preparing the way for another.
We don’t often think about John having choices here … he could have grabbed the limelight, big noted himself, taken his ‘15 minutes of fame’, had a huge following, he had the leaders of society interested in him, wanting to know his story. But he stayed true. He walked in the calling/ministry that was his, he didn’t try to be someone else (Elijah, the prophet), or take his place (the Messiah). He is quite the role model of ministry and integrity.
I have never looked at John quite like this before. I am completely impressed. Refreshing to see a man who knows so completely who he is and his place in the ministry he is to do.
Lord, thank you for the example we have in John the baptist, a role model of honesty, integrity, strength of humility & focus, completely relevant for today.
Written by Suzie Hodgson