John 1:19-28 NRSVue
19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but he confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”, 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said,
“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ ”
as the prophet Isaiah said.
24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why, then, are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
There is a question for me: /Who are you? What do you say about yourself?/
Lord, I think of you beside me, seeing the good and the promise in me. This is what I want to say about myself: /I am called into being by God, who loves me./
Little can be done in life just on our own. Rearing the family, being healed, growing up in mind and body and soul – all need the co-operation of others. Some find any sort of dependency difficult, others can allow others help. John the Baptist knew there was little he could do himself. The one to come was the one all were waiting on. His life was dependent on Jesus for its meaning, and on many others for his life. Eventually another would kill him. Many cultures reward the self-made man, the self –made woman. We are not self-made, but are all God-made, at the beginning of life and all during our lives.
In prayer God speaks words of comfort and assurance into the wildernesses of our lives - our bad moments of guilt, fears, anxieties, resentment. God speaks words which help us put ourselves into a bigger world, the world of the love of God. In prayer God also calls each of us to be voices in the wilderness for others in their search for love, for meaning, for faith and for God.
When asked who he is, John the Baptist replies that he is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord.'" John compares himself to an engineer shouting out orders as the royal road is being prepared for the arrival of the king, or, in this case, for Jesus.