I have a picture of an old woman. If I showed you the picture and told you in advance it is a picture of an old woman, I’ll bet you would see it too. You can then share it with others and tell them it is a picture of an old woman. Chances are, they will agree, especially if they know you and trust you.
Many of us have been told things from an early age that we still believe. The people who told us were people we trusted. If they said it was so, then we came to look at the picture they presented … and that picture became reality for us.
But … what if … there were something else in that picture that those we trusted never knew? Might we want to look a little closer?
The picture of the old woman is also a picture of a young girl. And once you know the young girl is there, you can see it too. But your brain has a memory and it will seek to pull you back into your old reality. It remembers the times before you saw the young girl; you can still remember the old woman. Once you know about the young girl, you have a choice of which way to view the picture. You can choose to see the old woman or the young girl … but not both at once.
In the last blog, we learned about John the Baptist. He had been taught from an early age the Messiah was coming. He was eagerly anticipating that day. In fact, he lived out his calling by preparing the way for the Messiah. Day after day, John preached passionately and baptized so many people he could have shriveled from the waters of the Jordan. As he lived out what he was called to do, he anticipated his Lord.
Would John have been shocked to realize he had already met Jesus, the Messiah? In fact, John had known Jesus before either of them were born. John had greeted Jesus with great joy from inside his mother’s womb! (Luke 1:41) John and Jesus were cousins.
The Bible does not record either Jesus’ or John’s childhood or teenage years in any detail. So we are left to guess how they got along. I like to imagine them as best buddies, enjoying each other’s company and the life they were living at the time. So it was easy for John to see Jesus simply as his cousin.
Sometimes the familiar becomes a barrier to seeing things as they really are. At another time, Jesus addressed this very issue. He was unable to do many miracles in His hometown. Why? Because His friends and family had come to think of Him as only Mary and Joseph’s son. It was beyond their comprehension that Jesus could be the Messiah! (Read Mark 6:1-6 for more of this interesting story!)
One day, cousin Jesus came to John’s baptismal pool and asked John to baptize Him. John was surprised. Perhaps there had already been some things that made John feel Jesus was different from him. John told Jesus, “I need to be baptized by You.” Perhaps it was Jesus’ Gaze or maybe His Tone of Voice that got John’s attention. “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15)
There will come a moment when all you have come to associate with Jesus will fade into the background. Everything you always thought you knew will still be there, but suddenly you will see so much more. Not only will you recognize the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but you will recognize who you were created to be in Him!
John suddenly knew his purpose. As he reached out for his friend and cousin, he was willing to do something he really didn’t understand. But he was willing to do it in obedience. The same Spirit that had been in him in the womb when he recognized Jesus in Mary’s womb was reactivated. The joy he had felt then was magnified many times over, as he held Jesus in his arms.
Jesus is waiting for you to recognize Him. He’s been with you all along, even during those times when you didn’t recognize Him. He wants to hold you in His Arms and show you He can be trusted to hold you up in the deepest waters and bring you back up.
When Jesus came up out of the water, Heaven opened and God spoke the Words He would love to say to you as well, “You are my Son (or Daughter), whom I love; with you I am well pleased!” (Mark 1:11)
Ask God to let you have another look at Jesus. Ask Him to reveal to you Who He really is. You may be surprised to discover you are indeed related!