Pointing the Way Clearing the Path

The people sent by the Jewish leaders to John the Baptizer said: “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!” – John 1:22-23

John let the questioners know that his identity was not the issue; the one about whom he spoke was the important issue. Yes, John’s coming was an answer to prophecy. Yes, John’s ministry was powerful and touched many people. Yes, John’s work changed an untold number of lives. Yes, John’s presence was a signal about God’s coming Kingdom. John, however, always kept his role in perspective: He effectively said, “I’m here to point the way to the Messiah. My role is to clear the path for people to find the Lord.” No matter what our gifts may be, no matter what talents God has given to us, each of us in our own way is called to follow John’s example. We have been put into a circle of friends, family, and acquaintances to point the way to the Messiah and clear a path for those we know to find the Lord. Precious and loving Father, King of the ages and Lord of my heart, please use me to bring others to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. I especially ask that you give me wisdom as I seek to be a faithful witness to your Son’s grace with the people. 1 Peter 3:15-17 – 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 – Acts 8:1-4

Not Seeking the Spotlight

This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John: “Who are you?” He came right out and said: “I am not the Messiah.” “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” “No” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.” – John 1:19-21

Who are you? What would you do to be viewed as important by others? How much does your acceptance by others matter? I don’t know about you, but these are convicting questions for me. Most of us are not happy living our lives in the shadow of someone else, no matter how important that person is. Most of us want to be viewed as significant. John the Baptizer, however, lived a life of importance BECAUSE he chose the shadows and pointed others to Jesus, the Light. He directed his followers to Jesus. He refused to be called the Messiah they were seeking. God was pleased with John’s choice! Jesus said of him, “John was like a burning and shining lamp” (John 5:35). May the same also be true of each of us! Almighty God, I ask that you make my role in your Kingdom clear. I not only want to be faithful, but I also want to be fruitful. Please show me where you want me to serve and empower me to serve with a heart of humility and grace. My prayer is that you will be glorified in my life and that I will be found faithful in your sight. John 7:18 – John 12:42-43 – Galatians 1:10

God Revealed

No one has ever seen God. But the unique One Jesus, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. – John 1:18

God is much too holy to be seen by human eyes. An encounter with the Holy God of Israel was beyond the scope of human capability. Jesus, however, came as God in human flesh, Immanuel, God with us! (Matthew 1:23) So Jesus did much more than tell us about God. He revealed God. Jesus is God revealed. In his touch of the leper, in his raising of Lazarus, in his healing of the blind, in his feeding of the 5000, we see God at work and God in love with his human creation. Jesus is the great reminder that God not only wanted to know us but that he also wanted to be known by us. So as John finishes his beautiful prologue, please hear his invitation to come and see what Jesus did and know his life on earth was God at work, God in ministry, and God offering us his love. Holy and righteous Father, thank you for wanting to make yourself known to me. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, and in Jesus’ ministry help me fully see you and your love for me and your call upon my life. Hebrews 1:3 – John 14:8-11 – 1 John 5:20

Grace upon Grace

From Jesus’ abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. – John 1:16-17

Rich blessings, grace, mercy, kindness, unfailing love and faithfulness, … the list could go on and on forever. God’s blessings to us in Jesus are beyond our scope of imagining. As wonderful as the work of Moses had been for Israel, as defining as the Torah (the Law that God gave Moses) was for humankind, Jesus is greater still. He brings grace and truth, love and faithfulness piled one upon another. In fact, he brings God’s full salvation with all of its blessings. Learn, memorize, and use the Scriptures to teach yourself God’s will. Cherish the work of the great heroes of Scripture. But, know that Jesus is God’s greatest message sent to bring you God’s grace — his unfailing love and faithfulness — in abundance! Loving and Holy Father, thank you for your incomparable greatness and your incredible graciousness. Forgive my selfish and forgetful heart for not being full of joy and appreciation for the blessings you lavish upon me daily. Dear Father, help me to see Jesus as the complete embodiment of your truth and grace. 2 John 3 – Ephesians 2:8-10 – Colossians 1:19-20

Pointing Others to Jesus

John testified about Jesus when he shouted to the crowds: “This is the one I was talking about when I said: Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.” – John 1:15

John the Baptizer was courageous. John was passionate, but he realized he was just a “pointer” — someone who directed people to someone far greater than himself. Jesus was in existence long before John appeared on the scene. In fact, Jesus existed before creation. No matter how important others viewed him, John knew God had sent him to earth with one primary job: Point others to Jesus, the preexistent “Word” of God! In a world full of people obsessed with getting their fifteen seconds of fame, John is a breath of fresh air. His life challenges each of us to ask an important question: Will I spend my life helping others know of Jesus’ greatness rather than having them focus on me? Father, please help me find and fulfill my role as John did — to point others to Jesus and his greatness and grace. Help me find great delight in doing what you created me to do and using my influence to help others to see Jesus. Colossians 1:15-18 – John 8:57-59 – John 1:29-31