ATP Blog: Preferred Word
We all have our preferences ... it is a matter of opinion. Often it is not a matter of what is true, but what we like better. Let us be clear, this is not relative truth, since there is not such thing! I like meat pizza. My parents like ham and pineapple. Is one right or true? Nope. So, I wonder why so many people get upset when someone else has different preferences?
Today’s passage continues the theme of God’s Word physically sent to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, presented by John the Baptizer. John explained to his crowd the identity and purpose God had given him, as messenger, and one who would prepare the way for the Messiah. They asked him (1:25), ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, nor the Prophet?’ He answered them, saying (1:26-27), ‘I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’
John’s baptism was a temporary washing to represent public confession and repentance. It was a custom in Israel that all were familiar with. Almost every town would have a Synagogue and a Mikvah. The Mikvah was basically a baptism tank outside, collecting rainwater, where people could clean themselves before going to the Synagogue, which is their church. By this time in history, when John showed up preaching, people just did it as a formality, out of tradition. John brought a radical message at the river, with a new and more genuine baptism. Yet, his main message was of preparation for the One (sounds like The Matrix again, doesn’t it?) who would be greater.
The description of ‘The One’ is short. (1) He is one they did not know. A stranger who had lived quietly in a small town of Galilee. (2) He is coming after me. Christ would make His appearance after the ministry of John was complete. (3) He is preferred. This is the Christ or Messiah, who would baptise with the Holy Spirit, which is lasting! (4) He is before me. Christ is greater. John spent much time ensuring people knew that the One he was preparing the world for is greater than him. He was very clear that he was not worthy to even undo Jesus’ sandal strap, yet later he would baptise the Christ!
So, how about you? When it comes to the messages we are all inundated with, which do you prefer? How important is the message of Christ to you? Let us prefer the Word of God!a