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Photographers and film-makers know how crucial it is to focus on the right object to get the right picture. Unless done intentionally, blurred pictures do not communicate well. The Pharisees sent priests and temple helpers (Levites) to John the Baptist, thinking they needed a clearer picture about him, since the people took him to be a prophet. John’s answer was as cryptic as it was plain: “I am neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor even the prophet Moses spoke about. Instead, I am the voice preparing for the Lord’s coming.”
John changed the Pharisees’ focus, telling them rather to turn their lenses toward the one coming after him. Having seen the Holy Spirit coming down upon Jesus when he baptized him, John testified that the water baptism he was giving made sense only in light of Jesus’ baptism in the Holy Spirit. This Jesus, John said, is “the Son of God” (John 1:34). As people tried to get a clearer picture about John, he made them turn their lenses toward Jesus.
To get a clearer picture about the main story in any of the four Gospels, we need to focus on the right character. Whether it is the apostles, John the Baptist, Herod or Pilate, or any of our favourite characters with whom we identify ourselves, none is more important than the Lamb of God, the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah. John’s testimony is not about himself, but points in another direction. Jesus, “the only Son who is truly God” (John 1:18) is the main focus of John’s testimony, the central figure of all four Gospels, indeed, the central figure of the whole Scriptures.
To get a 20/20 vision about God’s work and person, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist invite us to focus on the only Son of God, who came to reveal us the Father.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for revealing to me who you are by sending us your only Son. Please grant me wisdom and spiritual insight to understand and practise your ways as I see them revealed in the Lord Jesus. Through him you loved me to the very end. Amen.