Keep doing what you’re doing (even if you don’t know what you’re doing).
“I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.” —John 1:31
We may think it’s odd that John does not recognize the Messiah. Ah, John and Jesus? They’re cousins! John obviously knew something was up when he leapt for joy in his mother’s womb as Mary (who had recently become pregnant) comes into proximity. And thirty years later, here we are. John is baptizing with water to make way for the one who will baptize with fire…
…and he DOESN’T KNOW who the Messiah is?
Then again, it isn’t. My faithful congregation, like all faithful congregations, does all sorts of stuff—good stuff—to make the power of Jesus known. We bake, we fundraise, we pray, we worship, we celebrate communion, we visit the sick, (okay, we grumble sometimes) but we care for the lost, we weep with the grieving…we do these well-intended godly jobs and yet, like John, sometimes we don’t REALLY recognize the Messiah, either.
Here’s the truth in this verse: Jesus surprises all of us—from the profoundly spiritual to the scarred who slump along trying to do the God Thing well.
The surprise we get when Jesus reveals Himself is not mean. We haven’t been duped. Jesus isn’t being tricky, sneaky, or necessarily mysterious. Jesus is just being Jesus—the Son of GOD who is bigger, better, and bolder than we can imagine.
Maybe this will help. Have you ever wondered why Lois Lane never sees Clark Kent for who he REALLY is? They’re just eye glasses, Lois. Can’t you see the dark-haired dude behind the desk IS the man of steel?
At the Daily Planet, Lois and Clark work side by side. Sometimes we too work side by side with Jesus and fail to see all He is. That’s what John is saying here.
There’s more. I believe John still wants us to keep working beside Jesus on this planet. And may we continue to find awesome delight when we see Jesus, the Messiah, revealed to us.
PRAYER: Lord, keep surprising us. Help us see that we are the ones who need to take off our metaphorical glasses and really look at who You are. Amen.