On this past Sunday, the sermon focused around the scripture of who John the Baptist was and his purpose. John was often questioned about who he was and what he was doing because of how different he looked or did things. John was known to dress differently than others of his time and he spoke differently too. I assume camel hair clothing and eating wild honey and locus sounds as crazy now as it was then. Although, I have my suspensions that this was the plan. As people, we are curios human beings and I believe that Johns’ unorthodox ways was a first step to get people to come out and hear his message. People came to “see the show” and then were changed by the word of GOD. John’s message was unusual because he advocated that everyone needs to repent of their sins and be baptized, in a time when people dealt with their sin very differently. In this time in history people gave sacrifices to balance out their sins. They usually sacrificed innocent healthy animals to even out their sins with GOD. Furthermore, Jewish people did not believe that they needed to be baptized because they were the chosen people and only gentiles were thought to need to be washed in water to become like the Jews. Although, John’s message pointed to everyone; he preached equality of sin to all rather than a chosen group of people.
John would definitely be considered a trend-setter by today’s standards, but what intrigued me the most about John was how he identified himself. In John 1:19-34, John was asked 4 times, “who are you?” and all his answers revolved around Jesus and not himself. He openly denies being the Messiah or any other prophet. He simply said “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, clearing the way for the LORD’s coming!” He specifically answers in this way to show that what has been for told by the prophet Isaiah is now coming true. John is then asked about his authority to baptize people. (John 1:24) His answer alludes to Jesus again as he explains that the water is just a symbol; that Jesus is the one who cleanses people and he was extremely lowly in comparison to him. (John 1:27) John’s purpose was to get the path ready for Jesus to come and start HIS ministry. God knows our human nature and how instinctively we want proof in all situations, so I believe he sent John so we have context. The people of the day could look and say, John was correct and what he said was going to happen did, making them more open to Jesus’ teachings. Although, he did not need to, John gave great credit to Jesus and explained that the time was almost here for HIM to start HIS ministry. John did this very important task, so people would not be surprised by the appearance of Jesus but rather ready for HIS teachings. In addition, John did this with a very unconventional appearance for the exact purpose that Jesus would not appear strange, but more unique than anything else. John’s entire purpose and existence revolved around Jesus and it was how he identified himself.
Our own self- identity should be as unique as John’s. Our purpose on this earth is to bring Glory to God, yet we do not identify ourselves to others this way, when they ask who are you. It is a common practice as followers of Jesus to have outward actions and emotional responses that emulate Jesus, but during this time of introspection I have realized that our outward words and responses need to be just as unique. As I thought about how I answered this question just last week, I can now see how I should be answering it with an out of the ordinary response. I should be telling people:
My name is Lacey and I am the daughter of the one and only GOD. I am a chosen servant of Jesus and although, I was a believer my entire life, I was intensely called to HIM 6 years ago and transformed by HIM. My purpose is to serve HIM and bring Glory to HIS name through various forms of communication.
My prayer for us all is to look deeper inside of ourselves, while being as humble as John to find how God wants us to identify to the world for HIS purpose. So, the next time someone asks you, “Who you are?” you will know exactly what your identity is in HIM, not the world and you can answer accordingly.