Do we worship an unknown God?

Published 12:49 pm Monday, December 18, 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 our church members 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.

It seems that John was speaking to us as well as to 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 even one the least of our sins.

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It is tragic indeed, that we, in the business of what we refer to as our Christian duty, fail to give our attention to the only One Who should be the focus of it all. It seems that we are not unlike the “Men of Athens” in Acts 17:23; considering how little we know God, we could also be said to worship “THE UNKNOWN GOD.” Far better that we remain ignorant of doctrines and traditions, of liturgical practices, and learned theologians, in favor of a righteous personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, Who alone is able to grant our salvation.

In the end it will not matter which Christian teaching or teacher we adhere to; it will not matter whether our church was a great cathedral or a store front; all that will matter for all eternity is whether or not we know the One Who stands among us.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.