At the moment, I’m reading “The Women of Christmas” by Liz Curtis Higgs. I would say she’s in her mid-60s, and her warmth comes across in the videos she posts on her Facebook page. During October and November, she’s posted a video every week to accompany the chapter we’ve read. It was chapter 5 this week, which was about the birth of John the Baptist.
As I watched the video, I got to thinking about him – not as a baby, but as a man. At the beginning of John’s gospel, he talks about when he consciously realised Jesus was the Messiah – the Anointed One, as we would say in English. Now wouldn’t you think that having been conceived miraculously when his mother was past childbearing age, and having his father say when he was born that he would go ahead of the Lord and prepare a way for Him (Luke 1:76), wouldn’t you think John the Baptist would have grown up with a knowledge of who Jesus was? After all, when Mary visited Elizabeth during her pregnancy, he leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:44). In John’s gospel though, he clearly says: “I didn’t know who He was. But the One who sent me to baptize with water had told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that He is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit’” (John 1:33). John didn’t know who Jesus was, until God revealed it to him! It was only at Jesus’ baptism, when John saw the Holy Spirit come down and rest on Jesus in the form of a dove, that he knew.
This is amazing to me, although it shouldn’t be surprising because it’s consistent with who God is. He’s a relational God. Our interactions with Him can’t be rooted in our parents’ faith, or the traditions we grew up with. There has to be a moment where it becomes personal. For me, that happened on 2 October 1999. Has it happened for you?
When a Jewish leader went to see Jesus one night, Jesus told him: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). If you’re praying for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, if you want Him to work through your life, you have to be willing to turn aside from the way you were before and let Him turn your life around. As you read your Bible, maybe you’ll realise a long-held belief doesn’t correspond with what God thinks. You might find yourself going along with God even when it’s countercultural – even when it makes you unpopular – but popularity won’t be so important anymore, because He’s shifted your priorities. That’s who God is – He’s dynamic. He changes people from the inside out.
Would you like to be part of God’s kingdom, and live as a follower of Jesus? Here’s how you can do that. “Come near to God, and He will come near to you” (James 4:8). Why not take a few minutes to talk to God about how you’re feeling, and wait to see how He responds?