You must have read about the man famously called “John the Baptist”. He was an evangelist and a prophet in his own right. Actually, the Lord Jesus attested to him as being the greatest among the prophets. His birth was nothing short of the miraculous. Just like Christ, his birth and earthly mission was prophesied in the scriptures (Isaiah 40:3, Mal 3:1). Interestingly, he happened to be a second cousin to the Messiah. In fact, he was 6 month older than the Lord (something to sing about). Indeed, he was a unique biblical personage.
The man John wasn’t oblivious of these facts about his person. Of course, he knew of his relationship with Jesus. However, this knowledge didn’t get him puffed up and behave in an untoward manner. The prophet didn’t get carried away by his fame, spiritual edge and public acceptance. Rather, he knew what his mission was, stuck to it and wasn’t shy to let the world know it:
- Joh 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
- Joh 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
- Joh 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
The manner in which he (John) introduced/unveiled Jesus intrigued me. I thought he would have been casual/impassive about it, considering that they were relatives. I tried to picture a present-day “word man” in John’s shoes; how he would have unveiled Jesus to the world. You are likely to hear him say something like:
Hey guys, remember the man I’ve been telling you about? The one who is my cousin; Aunty Mary’s son? Well, here he comes! He happens to be the one who will take away your sins.
Prophet John would rather take the path of reverence; he’ll unveil Christ just the way he should:
…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
As if that wasn’t enough, left to him (John), he would rather be baptised by Jesus than having to baptise the Christ. Such was the sense of regard he had for Jesus, his cousin.
No sense of entitlement or familiarity! He knew how to separate roles and relationships.
He ensured he didn’t pose a distraction from or competition to “the real deal”, i.e. Christ. Instead, he demystified himself and dignified his principal:
Joh 1:27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
John’s manner of relationship with Jesus is instructive for the believer today!
The man in Christ needs to understand the place of honour in his Spiritual growth and ministry. He should also recognize the place of spiritual relationships and treat them with due respect. Jesus’ mother and siblings were oblivious of this understanding hence, their attitude in Matt 12:46-50. He (Jesus) however puts things in proper perspective in his response to their summon. Not that he disregarded them; rather, he knew his priorities.
The believer should be careful not to become too familiar with people who have spiritual oversight over him no matter the level of (natural) relationship he has with them: friend, family member, colleague, mate, partner… He should see them firstly as one who is commissioned by God for his spiritual development and relate with them accordingly.
The bible says to give “double honour” to elders (spiritual leaders) who perform their duties well. This includes those of our household or acquaintance. When we get too familiar with them, there is a tendency to walk in dishonour, disregard or irreverence towards them. And when this happens, we deprive ourselves of the benefits that should flow from them to us.
The authority you refuse to honour; you don’t receive or profit from (see Jesus and his kinsmen in Mark 6:1-6).
One who lives a life of dishonour shoots himself in the leg.
Place priority on spiritual relationships!
Treat fellow saints with honour!
Revere spiritual leadership no matter the relationship!
Don’t get too familiar with those who God has set over you!
Walk in honour! It’s the way to spiritual growth and relevance!
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