Many of us would be hard-pressed to answer the question, “Who are you?”. Yet John’s responses – to this and the other difficult questions that followed — are brief, straight to the point, given without hesitation. He even declares his life’s mission to “prepare a way for the Lord…”. Later in the chapter, John does another surprising thing – he points Jesus out to others and announces “Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”. How did John arrive at these conclusions? Was it his detachment from the mundane cultivated by a life in the desert? Was it Zachariah’s prophecy at John’s birth that predestined it, and was he simply expressing obedience to the prophecy? Did he know his cousin as Christ even before he pointed him out to the crowd? Detachment, obedience or insider knowledge – we can only speculate how John arrived at his answers. One thing is certain – John had one final decision to make on his own which was to challenge the established order by announcing Christ’s arrival to the world. This required great courage because he surely knew that he was laying his life on the line by doing so. How did John source this courage?
Holy Spirit, enlighten us. Grant us time with you so we can learn to attain sufficient detachment from the world to discover that we are indeed predestined children of God. Then give us courage to live out our destiny.