“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” John 1:29–31
John the Baptist was where he was, doing what he was doing, preaching what he was preaching because of Jesus.
Though he’d never seen him, so he didn’t know what he’d look like, and he’d never even heard his name, so he didn’t know anything about him personally, John knew what Jesus would do and he’d been told that he would be able to recognize him because he would see the Holy
Spirit descending and remaining upon him.
John had been called to preach a message calling the people to confess their sins and cleanse their hearts in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. As an outward symbol of their repentance and God’s cleansing John called them to be baptized in the waters of the Jordan River.
But without Jesus John would have been no different from any other preacher or prophet God had sent. Every other prophet had a message. Every other prophet endeavored to live a life dedicated to God. Every other prophet played an important part in the working of God’s plan for the people of Israel. It was Jesus, who he was and what he would do, that made John’s work and ministry stand out as being special.
It occurs to me today that it’s still Jesus, who he is and what he’s doing, that gives every Christian his or her purpose, meaning and identity today.
Why do you do what you do? Is it because of Jesus? What purpose are you working to fulfill? Are you accomplishing what your accomplishing because you’re working to help Jesus fulfill his purpose in the world?
I’m not saying that time spent caring for personal and family needs is wasted or that every moment and everyday needs to be dedicated solely to the work of saving the world. Both John and Jesus spent time everyday getting food and water this tells us that other tasks are also at the very least peripherally important.
But John knew that the Savior was coming and this gave him his focus, his purpose and his mission.
We know that Jesus is coming soon. Like John we also know that the people need to be prepared to receive Jesus. So like John Jesus, who he is and what he is doing, needs to become what makes us special and what gives us our purpose in this world.