John the Baptist was causing quite a stir in Israel. Multitudes were coming to him to be baptized in the muddy waters of the Jordan River. For that short season, he was a rock star—the most famous man in Israel.
It’s nice when people think highly of you. Don’t you agree? Who doesn’t like to be liked? John the Baptist, however, wasn’t advertising himself or seeking the spotlight. On the contrary, he was pointing to someone eternal who was about to show up on the scene: He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me (John 1:15).
The priests and Levites sent messengers to ask John who he was. He responded by saying who he was NOT. I am not the Christ (John 1:20b). I guess part of knowing who you are includes knowing who you aren’t. Like the guy who said, “There are two things I know. The first thing is, I know there is a God. The second thing is, I’m not Him.”
We humans have a me-first nature. In 2001, more than 90,000 people bulged the 60,000-seat Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. When thousands more tried to shoe-horn themselves into the arena, panic spread like wild-fire, and 42 people died in the me-first stampede that ensued.
It seems that, from God’s viewpoint, a you-first person stands out, even when he or she steps back.
Life Question: To whom could you say “You first” today? Would you do it by word or deed?