Read: Luke 1:36, Matthew 3:4, 2 Kings 2:11, John 1:19-28

Who Was John the Baptist?

Today’s reading introduces us to John the Baptist (not to be confused with the author of the Gospel of John).

Based on Luke 1:36, John the Baptist was the second cousin of Jesus. He was six months older than Jesus. They may have been close in their relationship, but if so, we don’t know many specifics about how they interacted when they were younger.

Still, there was something about John the Baptist that made others feel like he was important—someone they had been waiting for. In the Old Testament, there were several prophets who would proclaim the future. They talked about a Messiah (a deliverer) who was coming to save.

For generations, the Jewish people waited and hoped for their deliverer. So when John the Baptist began talking about a coming Messiah, it was a pivotal moment.

People saw something different in him—something that made them question whether he was God’s Chosen One they were waiting for. John the Baptist wasn’t exactly your average guy. He lived in the desert, ate locusts and honey, and wore camel skin. When he said he wasn’t the Messiah, the people wondered if he was Elijah.

Elijah was another awe-inspiring person—someone who seemed to deeply know God. He was highly esteemed among the Jews (2 Kings 2:11). He was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind—leaving people to wonder if he could still be alive in some way. This was a fairly popular belief in that day, but wasn’t backed by Scripture.

This John is referred to as “the Baptist” because he would baptize people—immersing them in water—and tell people to turn away from their sin. When the Pharisees—the religious leaders of the day—asked John why he was baptizing people, his response pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. He took the spotlight off of himself and moved it to someone who was going to baptize differently.

Are there any popular beliefs that keep you from digging deeper into knowing Jesus or believing what He says in Scripture?

Are there any answers to prayer that have come in ways you didn’t quite expect? Or are you still waiting on God for something, or someone, not knowing the answer may be right in front of you?

What are some ways you can take the spotlight off of you and put it on Jesus?

Father, thank You for the ways You have always been faithful to fulfill Your promises. Thank You for being with me, even in the waiting. Reveal to me any areas of my life where I’ve been holding on to false beliefs and give me a greater trust in Your wisdom and Your ways. Just like John the Baptist, help me to glorify You in all I do.

We would like to thank Life.Church for providing this plan.