John 1:19 This is the testimony given by John when the (religious leaders) sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." 21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." 22 Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
29 The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Greetings in the peace, power and providence of God our provider. May I also wish you a blessed New Year.
"Who are you?" is the main question raised in these verses from the beginning of John's gospel. "Who are you?" the religious regulators of Jesus day want to know of the one named John the Baptist.
At the heart of their inquisition lies a desire to label John's teaching and preaching as legitimate or illegitimate, godly or ungodly, righteous or unrighteous. So often, zealous religion can lead for the need to regulate somebody with a label and control them. They want to label John as the messiah or Elijah or the prophet. "Who are you, John?"
How do you respond to that question, "Who are you?" What you were doing or feeling at the moment the question was asked might determine the response you give. Often, we confuse who we are with what we do. Who are you? "I'm an accountant," or "I'm a teacher," or "I'm a food server" could be our response.
"Who are you?" We may answer based on the role we play in our relationships. "I'm a dad or a mom," "I'm a brother or a sister," "I'm a wife or a husband."
"Who are you?" We may be inclined to answer with "I'm a success or a failure." "I'm a lover, not a fighter." "I'm a listener or a talker."
Ultimately for John the Baptist, the true identity he claims is not based on human assumptions or definitions or based on worldly accomplishments or affirmations. John's whole identity is based on Christ our Lord. Jesus, the lamb of God, has granted John the Baptist his greatest sense of self.
In the New Year, may you and I embrace the same life giving identity. Some aspects of our identity will come and go and various characteristics will evolve over time. But the one truth which remains is that Jesus Christ has entered into the world so all might experience the love and grace of God.
Who are you? A loved and blessed child of God as defined by the grace and love of God found through Christ our Lord.
Love, Pastor G