I Did Not Recognize Him (John 1:30-31)

John the Baptist

He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.” (John 1:30-31)

Read: Job 5:1 – 7:21

Relate: John and Jesus are close enough to the same biological age as to make no difference. Technically John is a few months older. His father, Zechariah, was given notice that he had a son shortly before Mary was told about Jesus. When the newly pregnant Mary showed up at her relative’s house, Elizabeth was well enough along for John to be kicking. Poor Zechariah, under one roof he had a wife old enough to be a grandma and a (probably) preteen cousin, both miraculously pregnant and both sharing stories of angelic visits. Were it not so divine it must have been unbearable.

Anyways, back to John’s present. He and Jesus had a long history together. If it was anything like me and my cousins, he probably let Jesus know every chance he got which of the two was older. Scripture doesn’t tell us how often the two got together but since both families were devout Jews, I would imagine once Jesus returned from Egypt, they were seeing each other a few times a year for all the feasts. At the very least there would be the annual pilgrimage for the Day of Atonement. So when Jesus shows up at the riverside while John was preaching, I am sure John recognized Him. Then suddenly the Holy Spirit shares a little inside information and John sees Jesus in a whole new way. John suddenly recognizes Him as the Messiah. This was the reason John came, to bear witness to his younger cousin who, in another way, is much, much older.

React: Like John, I am desperate for a revelation from God. I can read a scripture over and over again. It can be as familiar to me as family. Then when the Holy Spirit shows up and I am suddenly seeing it in a whole new way. I can be singing a worship song I’ve sung over and over again. When the Holy Spirit shows up and I am hearing it in a whole new way. There are things, disciplines, in my spiritual life that are so familiar that they become comfortable. And then the Holy Spirit shows up…


God, I pray that You would consistently send Your Spirit to surprise and mess up my life. I thank You that I have been honored to have a history and a heritage in which the things of You might become familiar. But never let them become comfortable. When I dig into Your Word, I ask that You would peel back another layer that I might see You more clearly. When I spend time in prayer, I ask that Your presence and Your will be very real to me. I ask that You might show me Yourself in ever new, deeper and richer ways. I long to know You more truly, that I might love You more intimately.

8 thoughts on “I Did Not Recognize Him (John 1:30-31)

  1. Oh so true. What you are saying really hits home. I can’t tell how many times I can read a verse or a chapter or even a book of the Bible and see something revealed that I sometimes wonder where I was the last time I read it. Being open to seeing something differently is the key to gaining a deeper understanding and even a deeper relationship to God and what he has prepared for us. Thanks

  2. Oh I can relate–so many times I will read a familiar story or verse and it will suddenly hit me with a whole new meaning I have never seen before! I love how the Holy Spirit works!

  3. Yes, yes, yes. I get a little blasé about the familiar bible verses or stories, skipping through because “I know this one” but to invite the Holy Spirit to shine a brighter light on it can open deeper meaning. Thank you.

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