One among you whom you do not know

Published 11:00 am Sunday, May 21, 2023

“When the priests and Levites came to question John the Baptist about his authority and reason for baptizing, John answered them, saying, ‘I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.’” — John 1:26 (NKJV)

He continues for several more verses to make it clear that it is Jesus Who is the “One,” the Son of God. When we read this passage, we have a tendency to think poorly of those who questioned John concerning his identity and position; as though they should have known because of their position in the Church. I submit to you that we are as guilty as the priests and Levites, if not more so. Vast numbers of church members today know about denominational doctrine and practices, about styles of worship, dress, music, and the like; yet would be hard pressed to give even the briefest testimony about their personal relationship with Jesus, and the necessity of such a relationship.

It seems that John was speaking to us as well as to the group that questioned him. We should take it very seriously that we know more about our denomination and local church than we know about the One Who died for our sins. That’s a terrible situation because all of the denominations put together, with all of their doctrines and practices, can’t grant us forgiveness for the least of our sins. In the end it will not matter which Christian teaching or teacher you adhered to; it will not matter whether your church was a great cathedral, a storefront, or a crude shelter; all that will matter for all eternity is whether or not you knew the “One.”

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It is sad to realize that there are many who worship, as Paul said in Acts 17:23, and as far as this is possible, “The Unknown God.” It is difficult at best to worship anyone whom we do not know; yet, there are those who attempt to do just that. Jesus is calling us all to get to know Him, to trust Him, and to live out our lives as testimony to His love and grace.

Do you know the One Who stands among us? Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If you’re not sure, or confused, ask Him. No, seriously, ask Him. He will answer if you are sincere in asking.

Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.