We have here the very first words spoken by John the Baptist in this Gospel. And what were those first words? “I am not the Messiah.
”Want to experience a great weight being lifted off your shoulders? Say those same words right now: “I am not the Messiah.” Say it out loud. Hear yourself say it.
Now, you already knew that. But there’s something about saying it. Then add: “World, I have good news for you. Although I am not the Messiah, the good news is that there is a Messiah, and I’d be glad to point him out to you.” (That’s in effect what John sad a few verses later.)
We know we’re not the Messiah, but we can unwittingly try to be one. We all do it, usually with the best motives. Parents try to solve all their children’s problems (or vice-versa). Or, when there is a tragic death, we try to console the family by suggesting why God might have let this happen. Or, in prayer we try to make sure we say everything right, as though we’re the one who make what we’re praying for a reality. Or, we carry all the problems of the world on our back.
Indeed, we do have a part to play in God’s plan. But it’s just that – a part to play. We’re not the Messiah. Jesus is. He’s got the whole world in his hands.
Sometimes prayer is just meant to remind us that the Messiah is Jesus. Not us.
What a relief!
- Little Blue Book, January 2