In John 1: 19-28 we see the apostle John telling his readers about John’s testimony. This is the story John related. He spoke of his identity. There are those who question who he is, but John knows his calling. We learn his answer to the big question, “Who are You?” We read who asked the question and discover One greater than John.
Who Are You?
This question comes to us from others. It also comes from within. The enemy of our soul can also taunt us with the question. To this question John tells them first of all, who he is not. The Jewish people looked for a Messiah. John confesses, “I am not the Christ.” Then he further states that he is not the prophet Elijah, nor was he The Prophet. Instead, he says, “I am.” And then quotes the prophet Isaiah. “The voice,” “crying in the wilderness,” “make straight the way of the Lord.”
His statement is the word of God, spoken through the prophet Isaiah. It is rich in purpose. The defining of his identity rested in the revealed word of God and gave him his mission.
Who is asking?
We know from this passage that John’s message out in the wilderness caused a stir in the city of Jerusalem especially among the religious leaders. The priests, the Levites and those of the Pharisees, commissioned by the spiritually elite in Jerusalem, needed answers. Who was this guy? They were sent to find out . They also wanted to know what gave him the right to baptize with water, especially when he didn’t seem to have a position to warrant it. They needed to put him in a box to fit their religious understanding. He was messing in their territory.
The Greater One
Nevertheless, John’s identity and purpose, his authority, came from the Word. Among those who questioned, stood the Living Word. “There stands among you One you do not know.” Then he explains about the One who came after him yet superseded him. John isn’t even worthy to undo His sandal. In John’s way he communicates, “It’s not about me. It’s about this One you do not know. I am here to prepare the way.”
We, like this man, find our identity and our calling as we look to the Living Word. God may use us to prepare the way for someone else to recognize the Christ. There will always be those who do not understand who we are, nor our call. Yet what a blessing should the question of who we are in Christ, pave the way for those who ask, to learn of the One who is greater.
Thus, we read John’s answer to “Who are you?” Who asked the questions? and discover the greater One than John.