"Who are You?"
The Jewish leaders sent priests and assistant priest from Jerusalem to ask John whether he claimed to be the Messiah.
He denied it flatly. "I am not the Christ," he said.
"Well then, who are you?" they asked. "Are you Elijah?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you the Prophet?"
"Then who are you? Tell us, so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say for yourself?"
He replied, "I am a voice from the barren wilderness, shouting as Isaiah prophesied, 'Get ready for the coming of the Lord!' "
Then those who were sent by the Pharisees asked him, "If you aren't the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?"
John told them, "I merely baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you have never met, who will soon begin his ministry among you, and I am not even fit to be his slave." John 1: 19-27 (TLB)
Linda Chandra, from Banten, Indonesia, was at church one Sunday when she learned of a woman in the community whose husband had just died. They had four children. At God's urging, Linda attended the funeral to lend her support. She did not talk much. She just sat beside the widow, listened to her story, and helped when needed. After the funeral ceremony was over and all her relatives went home, she asked, "Who are you? Are you one of my relatives that I have never met? Why did you sit with me until it was over?"
Linda replied, "I'm not your relative. I just wanted to sit with you, listen to your story, and offer help to you if you needed it." Then she said, "Thank you for being with me. My relatives give me a lot of advice, but you don't talk much; you only hear my sad stories. Why?" Linda said to her, "Because the God I know is always with me, even during the saddest times in my life."
Linda has learned from today's scripture reading that when someone asks, "Who are you?" she should tell that person more about God who saved her than about herself. In such an answer, God becomes greater as Linda becomes smaller. For as John the Baptist tells the Jewish priests, I am not the Messiah or a prophet; I am only "the voice of one calling in the wilderness." To God be all glory.
Prayer: Dear God, may we glorify you in our actions and in our words. Make us humble so that we can magnify your name, in Jesus' name. Amen.