“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
As I read to my 3 year old from her Bible story book about John the Baptist Sunday evening, my heart was stirred.
I’ve always wondered why it was that he had to live in the wilderness and eat locusts and honey. Though I still do not know why, as I read that tonight, it struck me that that he gave up everything-all distractions, all comforts- to be prepared to be the “voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord'” (v. 23)
It suddenly didn’t seem crazy anymore!
What was he doing out there in the wilderness?
One thing we know for sure: He was listening to God.
“And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ ” (v. 33 – emphasis added)
When he saw Jesus, he knew it, and he pointed to Him. He professed that He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He knew that He would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
There is no question that John had a unique to him calling, planned long ago as we know because of his quoting the prophet Isaiah (Is. 40:3) in his own confession of who he was.
So, I in no way suggest that God would have us go live in the wilderness and eat bugs, but my heart was stirred tonight as a read about him because I want to see Jesus and point others to Him. I want to see Him and show others, and have them see the Lamb of God who takes away all of their sin.
I want other’s attention to me to go no further than that which is necessary for them to hear me say, “Look!” and then turn and follow Him.
I was stirred that even though I don’t have to become a recluse or eat locusts or wear animal skins, I do have to listen to God.
I do have to spend time away with Him. I do have to let go of something. Make time, cut out activities, do WHATEVER necessary, to be with Him.
So that I can know Him, so that when those opportunities come to say, “Look! The Lamb of God!” I will see them, I will recognize them. I will be prepared.
God has a unique to us calling for all of us. Different in many ways, but in one way the same: to point others to Jesus.
A sister at church this morning shared a challenge that went something like this: “What would you be willing to give up in order to change the end of someone else’s story?”
I’m pretty convinced that anything I give up to make time to spend listening to God a priority, will not only change the end of my story, but that of many others as well.
God help me do whatever it takes, give up whatever it takes, to be with You and prepared by You to see Jesus and lead others to Him!