John 1:19-21

Do you have someone pushing you (other than God) to be someone you’re not? Do you know for a fact that you’re not supposed to be that person? Don’t be that person unless it’s God who is doing the pushing. He’s not wrong. Everyone else can be. 

And 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.”  – John 1:19-21, ESV

The Israelites, and especially the priests and Levites, were looking for the Messiah. John came with conviction and passion. His message was stirring up people’s hearts and they were getting right with God. Various people saw that and wanted him to be something other than who he was. Some wanted him to be the Messiah. Others were hoping he was Elijah or even Moses returned. But he wasn’t. He was John, the one who prepared the way for Jesus by calling people to repentance. 

These others who asked if he was the Christ wanted him to be their vision of Messiah: a conquering hero in the mold of David who would defeat Israel’s enemies and re-establish the kingdom again. Or they wanted him to be a returned Elijah or Moses, unleashing God’s power against those who opposed the people of God. See a trend? 

Interestingly, Jesus would later remark that John was Elijah. So was John wrong? No, he wasn’t. When the leaders came and asked if he was Elijah, they meant the guy who wielded God’s supernatural power: stopping the rain from falling, raising people from the dead, and calling down fire from heaven. He wasn’t that guy. He was the Elijah who was a messenger, who revealed and opposed iniquity, and drew God’s people back to Himself. So John answered correctly based on their expectation and Jesus answered based on Elijah’s true role: as a spokesperson for God. 

John wasn’t afraid to be who he was called to be. He wasn’t going to try and pretend or become someone he wasn’t. The Bible tells us he had the Holy Spirit. Surely this is part of what kept John on the correct path.  If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, saved by His blood and redeemed by His grace, you do, too. 

Don’t be anything or anyone other than what God has called you to be. Peer pressure in our world is tough. So is parental pressure and church pressure and other kinds of family pressure. But if you succumb to that pressure, and move in a direction other than what God wants you to go, each step you take away takes you that much further from where you ought to be. The Holy Spirit will give you strength and conviction, if you rely on Him. Be like John: focused on who you ought to be and refusing to be something else. 

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