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.
As I read this passage, where we see the Jewish leaders asking John the Baptist if he is the Messiah, I immediately thought of another very similar story in Matthew 11.
In Matthew 11, we read that John the Baptist, now in prison, sends word through his disciples to ask Jesus if He is indeed the Messiah.
Both John and Jesus answered these questions in a very similar way by quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. John answers the question very directly by saying, no, I am not the Messiah, and then he adds this reference to Scripture – I am the one that Isaiah prophesied would come before to point the way to the Messiah.
Jesus does not answer the question directly, but He quotes several Old Testament prophesies to confirm who He is.
What I find it interesting is that in both of these encounters, John and Jesus point back to Scripture to confirm their identity. It reminds us that Scripture is the only foundation on which we can know who we are from God’s perspective. Anything else is just speculation and personal opinion.
So what does Scripture say about our identity- about who you are? There is too much in the Bible on this topic to outline here in this short blog, but I want to focus on one area of my identity today. I am adopted into God’s family through Jesus.
Nothing that I now do – either good or bad, can change that status. My identity is secure. I am loved and accepted by my Father God. This is not speculation, but based on what Scripture says about me.
If that is your identity, then you too can rest in that complete assurance of God’s love today.
Deep breath. Amen.
Written by Shelley Witt