Longing for Home: An Advent Journey, 2016 — Day Seven


Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Isaiah 40:1-11
John 1:19-28

John 1:19-28

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said,

“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’”

as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.


I gotta say, it’s taken me a while to warm up to old John boy. How about you?

There is something so severe about him, isn’t there? A true ascetic from birth — he was a Nazarite, which meant no alcohol, and sometimes meant no shaving or hair-cutting, either — he was big on self-denial. Now that’s never been a particularly strong suit for me, I must admit. Alcohol has never been a problem — I don’t like the stuff and have a family history of alcoholism, so I’ve steered clear — but I have used food unwisely and too often resort to retail therapy during stressful times! 

But John got some things right. REALLY right. He was obedient to who he was and to who God called him to become. He made his message very, very clear. He spoke truth to power. And he knew what his limits were and didn’t hesitate for a moment to admit them. “Nope,” he said. “I am most definitely not the Messiah. And not Elijah, either. I am ‘the voice.'” That’s it — the voice.

The one who cries out in the wilderness. The one who says, “Get ready!! God is coming.”

And for that, I say a humble and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to John the Baptizer. 

I’m listening, John. And oh! I want to be ready.

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  1. John certainly did know who he was and for what purpose God placed him on earth at this particular time. May we all know the purpose God has for us as clearly as John did.
    Blessings, Diana!

  2. It takes great wisdom and insight to know both what you are not, and what you are… and courage to speak the truth about both those things!
    I’m still trying to uncover what my calling is, but I get occasional glimpses of what it might be. Thank you for these Advent writings, Diana, they are lovely.