Jan. 16, 2020
The next day he (John the Baptist) 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 ranks before me, because He was before me.' I myself did not know Him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that He might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him. I myself did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
—John 1:29-34 (ESV)
Like John, many people today wonder about Jesus. They ask, "Who is He? Do I know Him? Is He someone I should welcome in my life?"
You may remember John, Jesus' cousin. His mother Elizabeth was a relative of Mary's. God sent an angel to tell Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah that she would get pregnant and have a baby boy, whom they would call John. He would grow up to be the prophet who got things ready for the coming Messiah.
But there is something very strange in the Bible. When both of them were grown up, John said about Jesus, "I didn't know Him," and "I would not have known Him except ..." How could John not know who Jesus was? Didn't he hear the Christmas story?
Hard to say, but we can guess a little. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, where He lived until King Herod tried to kill Him. Then His family was refugees in Egypt for several years. When they returned, Jesus was probably about five years old. John was a little older.
The Bible says John grew up and lived in the desert. Maybe he never met Jesus. One day, in the desert, God told John to preach and baptize people with water until he met one special Man, the Son of God. He would recognize that Man when he saw the Holy Spirit descend on Him.
So John began preaching, telling people the Lord was coming soon, and they needed to get ready. Months passed. Thousands were baptized. John was still waiting. Then one day it happened. John saw an ordinary Man in dusty clothes coming through the crowd. He was no one special. But John by the Holy Spirit recognized Jesus as the One he was waiting for. This was the Son of God.
God had kept His promise. John saw the Holy Spirit come down to rest on Jesus. This was the One—the Son of God who would save the world.
Many people are still waiting. Your family, your neighbors—maybe even you are asking, "Who is this Jesus? Do I know Him?"
Through our human eyes, Jesus does not look like anyone special. But with the help of God's Holy Spirit, we can see who Jesus really is. We can recognize that He is our Savior, who loved us and gave Himself to die on the cross for our sins. And three days later He rose from the dead, overcoming death and hell for us, and giving us life forever in His Name.
Because of the Holy Spirit's help, we never need to ask Jesus, "Do I know You?" We do know Him, and He is our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, give us the gift of recognition, the gift of knowing Jesus as our Savior. Amen.
- Have you ever met a longtime relative like a cousin for the first time when you were an adult?
- Do you think John ever met Jesus before the encounter in the text above?
- How do we recognize Jesus as our Lord and Savior today?
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Minh Chau Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Have you ever met a longtime relative like a cousin for the first time when you were an adult?