READING: 2 Kings 7-9, John 1:1-28
“He is the One coming after me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to untie.”
The text says it once, and then the prophet repeats it:
- “He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.” (John 1:8)
- “He declared: ‘I am not the Messiah.’” (John 1:20)
The prophet was John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah. He knew that his role was to point to Jesus, not rob glory from Him. He knew, as he said so pointedly, that he was not the Messiah. Although other people throughout history have claimed to be the Messiah, no one I know would make such an audacious claim today. Everybody I know is well aware that he or she is not the Messiah.
At the same time, though, I think we sometimes act as if we were the Messiah. That’s what we do when we think we must solve every problem, answer every question, or settle every dispute. As a young pastor, I was certain that my job was to take care of all matters – never failing, never being wrong, never letting anyone down. The man of God, I thought, was to be a rock of faith with no weaknesses. I would never have said I was the Messiah, but I placed almost that kind of expectation on myself. I worked so hard at being this kind of leader that I developed an ulcer and dropped out of school within six months of beginning my first pastorate. I learned really quickly that I was going to burn out if things didn’t change.
I wish I could say that I learned my lesson then, but I’m still learning that it’s okay not to know all the answers . . . not to fix every counseling problem that shows up in your office . . . not to preach perfectly every Sunday . . . not to have success every time you evangelize . . . not to catch all the typos . . . not to keep everyone in your church . . . not to have the biggest congregation in town, etc. We should always do all we do for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31), but it’s okay to learn that you’re not the Messiah.
In fact, it’s a right thing to learn. There is only one Messiah.
- Be honest with yourself – evaluate whether you put messianic expectations on yourself. Confess to God if you do.
- Point to Jesus all day long today.
PRAYER: “Father, I am not the Messiah. Help me to remember that truth.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Kings 10-12, John 1:29-51