It’s funny how the question of ‘who are you’ can be asked differently depending on the inflection of your voice. Or you can add a few words and the question takes on a whole new meaning.
I think that is what we need to keep in mind when we read John 1:19-23 and yes I realize I am never going to finish reading John if I keep stopping every couple of verses but there is so much here.
Here is the abridged version. The priest and Levites sent men to ask who this John fellow was. They asked him first who are you and also tried to interject who they thought he might be. John answered them each time simply saying no I’m not that guy. He knew who he was not. Finally they reached a point where they asked one last time but I think the tone was more of a ‘Who do you think you are?’ Simply put they were probably getting a little frustrated with the locus eating hippie. After all he was out here baptizing people talking about the Christ, but says he is not the Christ, or the Prophet, or Elijah. Just who does he think he is then. Come on man we have got to bring answers to people who do not like surprises. John knew who he was though. John told them he was simply the one calling out in the wilderness “make straight the path of the LORD.”
John knew who he was, he knew who sent him, and he knew what he was supposed to do. I notice from reading these verses (and the ones after) that John also knew who he wasn’t and what he wasn’t supposed to do. It is easy to try to become someone you are not when you don’t know who you are. When you are unsure of what you are supposed to do you can easily do what your not supposed to. But what happens when you know who you are supposed to be and when you know what you are supposed to be doing? What happens when you can stop all the noise and only do what you are supposed to do? I’ll tell you what happens….something happens. Yeah that’s right something happens. That something is also far better than the nothing that happens when we don’t know who we are or what we’re doing.
How’s that for some profound insight; something. I am not going to say something ridiculous like the earth shakes, money rains, and AIDS is healed. I’m also not saying that cannot happen. But what I think does happen is you become something new, something great in the hands of God. I believe that when you know who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing you becomes a great mom, or dad, or son or daughter, or teacher, or technician, or librarian, or preacher, or whatever you are and do. When we get rid of the noise, and stop trying to let people tell us who we are then we can become something different.
When these men came to John notice again that they did not just ask who are you. They asked who are you, are you….. They thought they knew who he might be and they decided to fill in the blank. Many people (and good natured ones at that) do this to you and I. They think they know who we are or should be and if we are not confident then we can fall into what I like to call the OH CRAP I DID IT AGAIN hotel. Yeah been there and I have a room on reserve.
We forget sometimes who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing and start doing what others think we should be doing. But I want to encourage you that if you know your supposed to’s then hold on to them and return to them if you need to. If you do not then I cannot tell you even if you wanted me to. Are you supposed to work there? Are you supposed to live there? Marry them? School there? How would I know? I don’t write your plans and supposed to’s.
Here is what I do know: God loves you. God has a plan for you? God has a wonderful supposed to for you that He wants you to know too. He will not tell you the whole plan but He will give you enough direction to get started and hold on to. He will give you just enough so that you do not have to check into the OH CRAP I DID IT AGAIN hotel. All you have to do is ask Him.
Just a thought,