19And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. —John 1:19-28
Have you ever met anyone who has told you that they have a “prophetic edge” to them? That is the person who may barely know you and yet tells you what you should do with your life. Or what is wrong with you. The God-told-me-to-tell-you kind of person. In my experience, that means to watch out because this person is about to shoot first and ask questions later. When I have asked where they get their motivation, I usually hear the name John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a prophet and a truth-teller, challenging the religious authorities of his day, but was John the Baptist really like the person I just described? Would he have come off that way? And, why would how he acted so long ago matter to my life anyway?
Let’s take a look. We for sure see an eccentric man. He wore a scratchy burlap sack everywhere and ate bugs with honey on them. That would make me a little edgy. He was not someone that we would naturally be drawn to. He confronted the religious elites of the day and delivered a message of judgment. He was very bold, and his boldness cost him his head. Eccentric? Yes. Bold? Cost him his life. But is that the full picture?
Jesus said of John that “ . . . among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11).That could really puff him up and make him think he was pretty great. But John thought of himself as not even worthy to untie Jesus’ shoes. John didn’t say this in false modesty or humility, he just expressed an accurate assessment of who he was in relation to Christ. He was nothing, and Jesus was everything. We need this perspective as well. Especially when we are about to launch into what’s wrong with somebody else. We’re all pretty worthless compared to Christ. This changes how we approach any truth-telling conversation.
John was bold with the message of repentance and humble in knowing that it wasn’t about him. How can we be boldly humble?
· Study who God is. Nothing brings us down to size like studying the awesomeness of our God.
· Confess our sins and desperate need for forgiveness.
· Remember that we are only a mouthpiece for the Gospel. It is all about Jesus.
Step out and be bold with the truth of the Gospel, but be humble in knowing who we really are. —Hayden Norris
· When I evaluate myself, am I comparing myself to other people around me or Christ?
· How does recognizing who I am as compared to Christ change how I approach people with the Gospel message?
Father, I am so grateful that You have brought me into a relationship with You. Help me to always be bold in my stand for You and Your truths, but help me to be humble enough to draw people in. Lord, I need Your perfect balance of grace and truth and boldness and humility. In Jesus’ name, Amen.