BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’ He said: ‘I am The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD, as the prophet Isaiah said.’ Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?’ John answered them, saying, ‘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 1:19-27, NKJV).
I’ve taken the title for this message from the question that the Jews sent the priests and Levites to ask John the Baptist in the scripture above. The Jews sent the priests and Levites to ask him a question: “Who are you?” John the Baptist confessed to them that he wasn’t the Christ – the Messiah. Then they questioned him to confirm if he was Elijah but when he said no, they asked if he was “the Prophet” – i-e the prophet like Moses, he had predicted in Deut. 18:15 would come – and he again said no (Jesus was actually the prophet Moses predicted). Pressed further on who he was, John replied, “I am The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD, as the prophet Isaiah said.”
John knew who he was
Who are you? If you don’t know who you are, people will make you who they want you to be. And there are many people today who don’t know who they are. Therefore, they’ve allowed other people to wrongly describe them and form them. They’ve become who God didn’t make them. They’re living their lives to satisfy the pre-conceived ideas of people about them.
In the passage above, it’s very clear that John wasn’t confused about who he was. He wasn’t suffering from identity crisis like many today. He knew who he was; he also knew who he wasn’t. John knew he wasn’t the Christ. He knew he wasn’t Elijah. He knew he wasn’t “the Prophet”. John knew he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness make straight the way of the LORD. Do you know who you are? Do you know who you’re not?
If you’re not sure who you are, you may be deceived by liars and flatterers. You may be deluded by those who just want to use you to achieve their selfish purposes. You may even be deceived by agents of the devil sent to lead you astray. That means you won’t fulfill God’s purpose for your life. You will fulfill your destiny in Jesus’ name.
It would have been great for John to claim to be the Messiah because the Jews were earnestly waiting for the Messiah, and John the Baptist was already an outstanding man. He was the first prophet to appear on the scene after four hundred years of silence – no word from the Lord since the Book of Malachi. John the Baptist could have claimed to be the Messiah, and he would have gotten a large following. In fact, multitudes were already flocking to him in the wilderness. But before his questioners even mentioned any name at all, he shocked them that he wasn’t the Messiah despite his outstanding credentials. Many today would have claimed to be the Messiah particularly once their ministry was accepted by the people. But John voluntarily dissuaded their minds that he wasn’t the Messiah; he wasn’t the Christ.
Elijah was also a well-respected Old Testament prophet. John replied that he wasn’t Elijah. Neither was he “the prophet”. John was contented to be who God had called him to be. He was satisfied to be “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the LORD” as said by prophet Isaiah.
If you don’t know who you’re, there are many people ready to tell you who you are, and the likelihood is that they will be wrong as they were wrong concerning John. Suppose John didn’t know who he was, he would have been deceived because they went ahead to tell him that he must be the Christ, Elijah or the prophet because he was baptizing. They seemed to be telling him to choose to be the Christ, Elijah or the Prophet.
How many people today have been confused by such suggestions even through supposed prophecies? People who claim to know what God is saying concerning others but are just overzealous folks, confused people, imaginative liars or plain agents of satan. Hear more what John said: “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.” Did you see that? John was not confused who he was, and he knew his assignment.
Moses and identity crisis
In Exo 3, Moses was battling with insecurity occasioned by what happened to him in Egypt before he fled. Moses, born a Hebrew, was being raised in the Egyptian palace, a probable successor to the Egyptian king. But he murdered an Egyptian and suddenly his status changed from a prince in the palace to a fugitive, and ended being a shepherd. Having being trained in the custom and culture of the Egyptians, he must have been psychologically affected by the work of a shepherd he found himself doing. He must have viewed himself as having fallen from grace to grass because the Egyptians despised shepherds. “For shepherds are despised in the land of Egypt” (Gen. 46:34, NLT).They looked upon them with contempt. But this work was part of God’s training for him. God humbled him by making him descend so low to do a job he had been trained to hate. He was also working for his father-in-law. One can say Moses was already down when God came for him.
Eventually when God called him to go and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, he told God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exo. 3:11, NKJV). It may appear as if Moses was showing humility but if you read further, you’ll see the struggles that God had with Moses before he agreed to go back to Egypt for this divine assignment. Moses wasn’t showing humility; he was actually battling with identity crisis occasioned by his earlier rejection which led to his sudden escape from Egypt.
Acts 7:23-29 captures well this Old Testament story thus: “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons” (NKJV).
Forty years after, Moses was still being tormented by the memory of this incident. Called to be a deliverer of God’s people, Moses had allowed one incident of rejection to make him believe that he was a failure. Moses said, “Who am I?” He was looking down on himself as not qualified for the assignment. That you failed in the past doesn’t make you a failure. You are who God says you are, and you can do what God says you can do. Setback is not the end of the road for your destiny! You can make a comeback from your setback! Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13, NKJV). Don’t let one negative event or experience tell you a lie about who you are. Don’t let anyone look at your present circumstance and pass a judgment on your life telling you, you are who you’re not. John knew who he was.
Notwithstanding what you’re going through or what has happened to you, know who you are. Believe God’s verdict about you and not what circumstances or people are saying.
You are important to God
Who are you? God created you in His image and after his likeness (Gen. 1:26). Do you believe who God says you are or you need more convincing proofs? Man is important to God – this truth is expressed clearly in the Word of God. Job 7:17-18 says, “What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?” (NKJV). Psalm 8:4-6 also underscores the importance of man. “What are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us? For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things” (NLT). Though man is like a breath of air and his days are like a passing shadow, God still takes notice of man and cares for man (Psalm 144:3-4). Therefore, there is no reason for any child of God to be battling with lack of self-worth. Every human being, as I have said, is important. But salvation confers greater value on a human being. God gave His Best (Jesus Christ) to save mankind (John 3:16).
If you’re born again, you’re a child of God (John 1:12, Gal. 4:7). You’re of a great value in the sight of God. “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, His very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ‘Once you were not a people; now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God’s mercy; now you have received his mercy’” (1 Peter 2:9-10, NLT). You’re not a nobody. You’re somebody! You may not know who you are but you’re so precious to God. Jesus said you’re more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows which can’t fall to the ground without your Father knowing it (Matt. 10:28-31). You’re of a great value to God. Whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8).
Call yourself what God calls you
Knowledge is powerful, and ignorance is deadly. Knowledge of who you are in God is very important for you to be who God has called you to be. Though you’re a child of God, ignorance of who you are will never allow you to manifest who you truly are. Let me show you from God’s word, who the Bible says you are, and you shouldn’t be anything different from who the Bible says you are. This list is not exhaustive.
- You are the redeemed of the Lord (1 Peter 1:18-19, Gal. 3:13).
- You have been made right with God – you’re God’s righteousness in Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21).
- You are an overcomer (1 John 4:4, 2:13, 5:4).
- You are more than conqueror (Rom. 8:37).
- You are blessed (Eph. 1:3, Gen. 12:3).
- You are a god and child of the Most High (Psalm 82:6, 115:16, 1:26, 28).
- You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-14, 1 Thess 5:5)
- You are the friend of Jesus (John 15:14-15, Luke 6:46-48).
- You are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:17, 1 Kings 8:27).
- You belong to Christ (1 Cor. 3:23).
- You are complete in him (Col. 2:10, 2 Cor. 12:9).
Child of God, don’t allow the devil to inflict you with inferiority complex or a sense of lack of self-worth because of the challenges you’re facing or where you are in life today. Know who you are in God. God called Abraham the father of many nations at a time he had no child (Gen. 17:5). The angel of the Lord called Gideon a man of valour or mighty hero at a time he and the other Israelites were hiding in caves and dens from the Midianites (Judg. 6:12) Call yourself what God calls you not what your situation calls you. You’re the redeemed of the Lord, you’ve been made right with God, you’re an overcomer, you’re more than conqueror, you’re a god and child of the Most High, you’re the salt of the earth and the light of the world, you’re the friend of Jesus, you’re the temple of God, you belong to Christ, and you’re complete in him. Hallelujah!
If you’re not born again, you should also correctly know who you are. You’re God’s creature but not yet a child of God. You’re a sinner! Therefore, you should give your life to Jesus. Surrender your life to Jesus today.
If you’re not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I repent of my sins today and ask for forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching, soul-winning church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be.I’ll be glad to hear from you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523