Pause for thought: So Significant
John 1:20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’
John’s words as recorded in John’s gospel. I am not the prophet and I’m not Elijah. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
It began in Luke 1 with a married couple, Zechariah the priest and his wife Elizabeth. They are old and they have no children. And the Angel Gabriel visits. Zechariah is in the middle of his priestly duties, but God will gladly mess up our act of worship when He wants to announce a miracle. And nine months later John is born.
Then nothing for three decades. At this point there have been no words of scripture written for 400 years. There have been no prophetic voices in that same period. Darkness dominates. And then in God’s time. Onto histories stage he strides. John. This man is not the light; he is called to point to the light. God has saved his best preacher for the darkest time.
But this is not what I want you to see, I want you to see John’s words as recorded in John’s gospel. I am not the prophet and I’m not Elijah. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. But later after John is dead a similar conversation takes place. And Jesus asks them about John. And when they cannot answer, Jesus tells them that John was the prophet who was to come, he was the one who came in the spirit of Elijah.
Oh! That’s awkward. A contradiction in scripture. John says he wasn’t, Jesus says he was. we can reconcile this quite easily. Are you ready? Don’t miss this: The most significant man ever to be born of a woman (Jesus words). The one who came in the spirit of Elijah. The Prophet. Didn’t know it! He has no idea of his significance. There was no false humility on the part of John. He simply didn’t know. And yet he did it anyway. He stood and he spoke and he proclaimed truth and he baptised. He did what he was called to do and didn’t recognise his worth, his value, his significance.
And I meet people all the time, you are probably one of them, you have so much worth, you are so valuable, so significant. And you undoubtedly don’t know it. Don’t worry. You’re in good company.
Revd Dr Mark Griffiths
Dean (Discipleship), St Padarn’s Institute