Are you the Prophet we are expecting? (v.21).
I was pushing my daughter’s pink stroller up and down the aisles of an auto-parts store when my toddler excitedly began pointing straight ahead at a fellow customer who looked just like the pictures of Jesus in her illustrated Bible. She called out to the man, using the Lord’s name. Despite her innocence and joy, the man appeared to be irked by my daughter’s mistake about his identity.
Jesus’ identity was deeply interesting to the Jewish leaders of His day. They were so eager to get a positive ID that they sent some temple workers to visit John the Baptist and to scope out the situation. The go-betweens pelted him with questions, perhaps the most important being, “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” (John 1:21).
Of course, John set them straight by quoting the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting . . . ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming’” (v.23). In other words, I’m not the guy you’re looking for. They questioned him further, and he said of Jesus: “I’m not even worthy to . . . untie the straps of His sandal” (v.27).
Despite this, John himself had questions about Jesus’ identity. He knew a lot about his Lord (vv.15-18), but he couldn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah (v.31). When the Holy Spirit descended and rested on Jesus (vv.33-34), John finally identified the hands that would bear nail scars, the eyes that would weep for Lazarus, and the body that would be crucified. As a witness for Jesus, John pointed others to the person of Christ.
Today, we’re Jesus’ witnesses or—as Paul put it—“ambassadors” for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). So, are we helping people to look past popular—yet incorrect—ideas about who Jesus is? Do our lives proclaim His grace, power, and love? Are we doing all we can to help other people recognize Him?
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
What’s at stake when people are unclear about who Jesus really is? How can a person’s lifestyle reflect the truth about Christ?