“And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’” -John 1:19
Life is a constant barrage of questions. Some are trivial and some carry tremendous weight. How we answer certain questions can be the difference between a good decision or a bad one, poverty or wealth, marriage or divorce, freedom or prison, health or illness, and life or death.
A quick Google search determined that children under 5 ask an average of 75 questions per day and children 4 and under ask an average of 200 questions per day. Adults on the other hand ask an average of 23 questions per day.
In the Gospels, Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asks 307 questions. He was asked 183, but only answered three. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings.
John’s testimony was so strong that it prompted the religious leaders of his day to ask him two questions: “Who are you?” and “Who do you say you are?” The answers to these questions were meant to inquire about John’s origin and the meaning and intent behind his message. What I find fascinating is these are the same two questions each of us must also answer. So, let’s take a look at how John responded.
John was asked “Who are you?” We can learn from John’s response. He was truthful. He did not try to dodge the question. He did not misrepresent himself. Nor did he try to be someone that he wasn’t. His answer was based on his understanding and commitment to his assignment from God.
So, who are you? This question cannot be answered based on what others think of you, or your current life circumstances. These factors may aid in obtaining your answer. But the ultimate answer to this question must be understood through prayer and seeking God’s ultimate will for your life.
Secondly, John was asked “Who do you say you are?” This question gets at the core of how we see ourselves. John’s response was succinct and simple. In John 1:23, he states: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” John is basically saying, “I understand my assignment. I am not the prophet. I am not even a prophet. I am simply a mouthpiece for God … a voice crying out in the wilderness.”
Our response must come from a place of complete honesty and understanding of our God-given assignment. Knowing who we are is the foundation for living a fulfilling and Christ-centered life. Knowing who we are is the key to maximizing our time in the Earth realm. Knowing who we are is crucial to leaving a legacy that lasts for eternity.
Two questions were presented to John. These same two questions are being presented to you. Do you have the courage to take a hard look at yourself and address the two questions everyone must answer?
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis.