Read: Start by reading John 1:19–21 out loud.
Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
—John 1:19–21 NIV
Meditate: Dabbling in different skills is something I enjoy. It’s fun to try new things, but it is also important to know that trying something new does not make us experts. We need to know who we are and who we are not. Taking a dance class does not make one a ballerina. Nothing short of years of stretching and practice make one a ballerina. A girl starts young becoming a ballerina and eventually finds herself one after many years of disciplined commitment. It doesn’t happen by accident. An actress playing the part of a ballerina should not be disillusioned. If someone asks her, “Are you a ballerina?” her answer should be an emphatic, “No, I am not!”
John the Baptist knew who he was and who he was not. He was different. He grew in the knowledge of the Lord and God’s Spirit was with him. The people knew that he was no ordinary man and wanted to put a label on him. When they couldn’t quite do it, they decided to ask John, “Who are you?” They knew that Messiah was coming and wondered if this could be Him. John was adamant: “I am not the Messiah.”
Read John 1:19–21 again.
- Who are you in Christ?
- Praise God for Who He is.
- Spend time with Him, allowing Him to speak to you.
Notice: Have you noticed how people love to put a label on those they dislike? Christians have become a target for today’s media, and that shouldn’t surprise us. When Jesus walked the earth, He brought hope to many while others rejected Him. His effect on people was polarizing. As Christians, we bear His name. Since much of the world has chosen to reject Christ, they have chosen to label Christians as legalistic, simpleminded, and starters of war. This we are not. As much as the world wants to reject Christ and make Christians a target, we are not representative of the label being put on us.
We live in a hurting world, and its people know they need Christ. By mocking Christians they are able to keep Him at a distance. This allows us to step up as Christian leaders and show them that we are not who they say we are. Love is the method Jesus used to draw people to Himself, and we can point others to Christ by showing His love as well.
Pray: Each time you see a newspaper today, pray that Christ will allow you to show love to someone who needs to follow Christ. Pray for our nation—that its people will return to being one nation under God.