In the early chapters of the Gospel of John we meet John the Baptist. We know from reading the Gospel of Luke he is in fact Jesus’ cousin in the earthly sense. In the Gospel of John we find him preaching repentance and baptizing people in the desert when the religious leaders come to question him. They said, “Who are you?” They needed to know who he was and by what authority was he baptizing people. I love how John didn’t see fit to defend himself or fight with them, but instead he declared “I am the voice of the one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.” He knew his job was to point others to Christ and he didn’t get distracted by the challenge of the religious hierarchy of his day.
Even though John was Jesus’ cousin God still had to show him who Jesus really was. John said, “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” God had told John to baptize with water, and “The One” would be revealed by the Spirit descending and remaining on him in the form of a dove. In other words, John didn’t know until God revealed it to him and it was revealed only as he obeyed what he was told to do. You see this is the same for all of us. As a Christian we are only attempting to tell others the truth God has revealed to us. Sometimes, like the Pharisees of John’s day, people don’t want to listen to us and they look for fault in the messenger so they can avoid listening to the message. Our job is to be faithful in what we’ve been told to do and leave it to God to reveal himself to others.
As I thought about this it dawned on me how this is exactly the same thing that happens in our day. As Christians our job is to point to Jesus Christ. There are many that don’t want to hear what we’re saying so they question the one saying it when they should be investigating the one we’re pointing to. You know how it is when you throw a toy or stick while playing with a dog and the dog runs to retrieve it? Well, it never fails does it? Eventually the dog is distracted and doesn’t see when you throw it, so you attempt to point in the direction of the stick, but the dog simply doesn’t understand. We all know what happens then don’t we? You guessed it. The dog just comes up and looks at your finger. When the religious leaders came to question John they became distracted by the finger and never saw the one to whom he was pointing.