Thoughts on the Passage
Who are you?
People asked this of John the Baptist. Are you the Messiah? – No. Are you Elijah that was promised? – No. Are you the Prophet that God promised? – No. Then who is he? They had their ideas about who John the Baptist might be based on their understanding of the Word of God. When John did not fit into them, they were confused.
John quotes Isaiah 40:3-5 - he is the voice promised from God before the Messiah who is to come. He is preparing the way so that the glory of God could be revealed.
The religious people ask another question – so why do you baptize?
John baptized people to prepare them for the coming of Jesus. The religious people did not like this; John had no right to baptize people for this purpose – “it is not allowed!!!”. John did it because God wanted His people clean on the inside as they prepared for the Messiah. When the Messiah came, He expected to find a people cleaned up and ready for His arrival. The religious people were not interested in making the people ready – they had their rules, and they were happy with them.
Do we have our boxes where God has to fit in? Are we willing to let Him change the way we think He should do things? These questions seem silly to us – of course we are willing to let God do what He wants. That is, until He asks us to do something outside our boxes – just like these religious people faced.
Just a quick note about the location of John’s baptizing. There are a couple of locations that John chose along the Jordan river. Each of these locations was very important historically and they all involve Elijah. The location mentioned here is the location also called Elijah’s hill – the place where Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire. This was not an accident – John is comparing his ministry to that of Elijah.
Is my desire for truth based on a desire for head knowledge or is to deepen my walk with God? Am I prepared to let God open understanding that will challenge me and my expectation of God? Today, take time to ask God to show where we limit Him and His work in our lives. He is much bigger and greater than we think He is – so He wants to open new doors if we will let Him.
Time to Pray
Father, I must admit that there are times when I look at Your truth and try and place it in boxes that I already have and am comfortable with. I struggle when Your truth pushes me beyond my comfort zone. These religious people were pushed beyond theirs, and they reacted by rejecting Your messenger John. I do not want to do that with Your truth. So guide me. Expose my areas that need to be expanded and give me a heart willing to grow there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.