32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:32-33 NIV)
Sometimes when I read God’s Word some off-the-wall, out-of-the-blue thoughts and questions pop into my head. For example: As I started the first chapter of John’s Gospel I got to the part where John was baptizing folks in the Jordan River. When he saw Jesus, John said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NIV) The question that immediately came to mind was, “How did John know that it was Jesus?” What set Jesus apart from the rest of the crowd that came to be by baptized by John?
In our day, folks do all kinds of crazy things to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. We have entourages. We wear expensive clothes, clothes that represent our “group,” or, like some of my young friends, we may wear our pants down around our thighs and “sag.” (I’ve yet to figure that last one out.) We drive expensive cars that make us stand out from the rest of the morning drive scene. We may accentuate our good looks or our chiseled body so that we stand out and make sure we get noticed. There are any number of ways that we work to get noticed, to “brand” ourselves among a sea of humanity.
John didn’t take note of Jesus because of His entourage, His fine Italian tailored tunic, or His good looks. Long before Jesus ever arrived on the scene, Isaiah prophesied about the One who would come. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2 NIV) What was it that caused John to recognize Jesus, what caused Jesus to stand out from the crowd–it was the Spirit of God at work. God had told John, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” John tells us, “I wouldn’t have known Him if it hadn’t been for the work of God on His life.”
Jesus was God-in-the-flesh and yet He didn’t try to impress others with the stuff that I’ve given time and energy to in trying to get noticed. Jesus’ life was a reflection of God’s Work. Wouldn’t it be a blessing if others knew us because they saw the work of God going on “in” and “through” our lives? Wouldn’t life be more meaningful if I stopped trying to make a name for myself and simply let God use me to do His work? I think it’s about time that I give myself…fully…wholeheartedly…without reservation or compromise to make this my one aim in life. I’m going to give myself to this today.
My prayer today, Lord, is that I will stand out from the crowd only because of what You are doing “in” and “through” me. Don’t let me be deceived and give my life to anything less than serving You.