For devotional reading: John 1: 29-34
Jesus essentially said that there are two kinds of people in world; those who see that the quality of our relationship to God is in direct proportion to our relationship to others, and those who don’t. He even once told a parable about this. On the Day of Judgement all of the people of the world will be divided into two groups; sheep and goats. The sheep will be welcomed into God’s kingdom because they fed the Son when he was hungry, clothed him when he was naked and cared for him in his need. They didn’t remember doing any of those things, but when they did it to the least, the last and the lost, they did it to him. The goats were not welcomed into the kingdom because they did none of those things. Their plea of not knowing made no difference. By ignoring the plight of the least, the last and the lost, they ignored the children of the King.
I’m sure that the second group never thought of themselves as uncaring, calloused, jaded or anything else. They probably saw themselves as good responsible men and women. They were just blind to the face of the Son of Man in the faces of the Least.
Not recognizing someone is not an uncommon human experience. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. I imagine that the childhood friends of our President was surprised to think that one of them would grow up to be the leader of the most powerful nation that the world has ever seen. John the Baptizer did not recognize who Jesus was at first. He knew Jesus just about his entire life. His mother and Jesus’ mother were kin. It is very reasonable to think that John and Jesus knew each other and probably attended some family functions together.
John knew Jesus but he didn’t really know Jesus. He didn’t know him until it was revealed to him by God. At Jesus’ baptism it was God’s grace that allowed John to see Jesus for who he really is for the very first time. We are reminded of this Grace, this Amazing Grace, whenever we see the baptismal font. The font tells of of a Grace that claims us before we even know God’s claim on our lives. In baptism we are reminded that we love God because God first loved us. (I John 4: 19)
Know that God’s grace and love walks with you in your Lenten journey.
God of grace and love, give us wisdom and courage for the living of these days. Amen.