“Who Are You?”

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel we are introduced to John the Baptist who is asked this question by priests and Levites who are put up to it by the religious establishment. John confesses to them that he is not the Christ, knowing the purpose behind their question. He is careful not to focus on himself. John gives them a clue to who he is in his response, “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD.”’” [John 1:23 NKJV (see Isaiah 40:3)]

All of us have been asked who we are, and John’s answer is not something you hear every day! John knew his context and the priests and Levites who asked him this question would know he was quoting Scripture about the prophesied Messiah. I can imagine how perplexed they might have been at his self-effacing answer and his insistence on not taking honor away from someone whose sandals he was unworthy to untie. He was careful to point to the Messiah. He emphatically pointed to Jesus.

John the Baptist had discernment through the Holy Spirit to know that Isaiah was prophesying about him. John knew who he was, his own unworthiness, and who Jesus was: “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ESV) Do we know who we are and what we have in Jesus? In Ephesians we read that we are people greatly loved by God:

But God… even when we were dead in our trespasses, made [us] alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:5-7 ESV

As believers who follow Jesus, we have received undeserved mercy and grace. Oh, if we only fully grasped the powerful reality of being raised up and seated with and in Christ Jesus! Paul and Peter understood Christians’ spiritual authority, power, and blessing in union with Christ: “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:19 ESV) Incredibly, we have a position of honor and privilege where we can reap spiritual blessings on this earth. We are received as God’s children and made “ambassadors for Christ” (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21) to those who don’t know him. Being in Christ on this earth also means we are called to be like Christ, doing the things he did, being his disciples and experiencing as he did the cup of suffering at the hands of a world that has largely rejected him. I propose that a recipe for personal revival is to walk in what it means to be seated in heavenly places in Christ while walking in humble submission like Christ.

The John the Baptist knew who he was and the calling he’d received. He deflected any attempt to elevate himself to a higher position and gave all glory to Jesus, knowing “we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

As we minister to those who have had little to no access to the gospel, mobilize other believers to pray, or equip them to go, we can follow John the Baptist’s example and do everything we can to point people to Jesus rather than ourselves.

When I’m asked, “Who are you?” I might not say, “I’m Kyle, seated in heavenly places with Jesus. You want to join?” But our lives can tell the story of the grace we’ve received and the spiritual blessings from being in Christ. Pointing people to Jesus is through word and deed by reaching them in their contexts. May those around us see our love for them because of his love in us.

In closing, the words of the song There Is a Higher Throne come to mind. I hope these two verses bless and encourage you as they have me.

There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known
Where faithful ones from every tongue
Will one day come
Before the Son we’ll stand
Made faultless through the Lamb
Believing hearts find promised grace
Salvation comes

Hear heaven’s voices sing
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts and sapphire skies
Their praises rise
All glory, wisdom, power
Strength, thanks, and honor are
To God our King, who reigns on high

Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty / © 2002 Thankyou Music

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