“Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
“Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
Read: Genesis 40:1-41:57
Relate: Jewish scholars at the time of Christ believed that before the Messiah would come, a forerunner would arrive first who would prepare the people for the Messiah’s coming. (See Malachi 3:1, 4:5-6) Some believed it was literally the prophet Elijah who would return to earth. (Remember, he was carried into heaven in a chariot of fire, he did not die.) Others said it would only be a Prophet who spoke with the Spirit and power of Elijah. When the religious leaders came to John he immediately denied being the Messiah so they asked him if he was the “forerunner” using both of these titles.
The funny thing is, John had the right to both of them. In Luke, he is given both titles and Jesus himself in Matthew calls him Elijah. But John didn’t want to be known by a title. It wasn’t what they called him or what positions or titles they placed on him but rather what he said and did that defined who John was.
React: These days there are many who love to throw around titles. It seems that every time I turn around I am hearing or reading about Bishop so and so, prophet such and such, Reverend Joe, Pastor John, Doctor Jim. Then there are those who add the letters (Md, PhD) as if they were a part of the name. If I am a bishop, I don’t need to call myself a bishop, I only need to function in the office of a bishop. If I am a prophet, I don’t need to call myself a prophet, I just need to prophesy. If I am a reverend, or pastor, or whatever, I don’t need to embrace the title. If someone else wants to stick it on me that’s all fine and good. I won’t quibble. But if someone asks me who I am, I would like to answer like John. “I am just a voice, hear who I speak of.” Or, “I am just an arrow, look to where I am pointing.” Or “I am just a window, see through me to the Glorious One beyond.” A window is only noticed when it is dirty. A voice is only examined then it squeaks, or is off key. The less I am noticed, the better I am doing.