Every preacher worth his salt knows that a pastor is not the Messiah. Every politician worthy of office knows that human leaders are not the Messiah. Every teacher worthy of the title knows that teachers are not the Messiah. Every member of every Christian church needs to know to the depths of their being that we are not the Messiah. Why then do so many have a Messiah complex, delusions of grandeur, an inflated sense of self-importance? Why do so many preachers, politicians and teachers burden themselves with the delusion that they must “save the world”? Like John the Baptist we point to another who is the Messiah. Like a light on a hill we don’t illuminate ourselves but God. We are all appointed missionaries, sent by God to tell the story of Jesus and his love (John 1:29-42).
In Orthodox iconography John the Baptist is often pictured as pointing to a lamb, echoing his words from John 1:29-42 where he declared, “Look! The Lamb of God!” Iconography is an ancient form of visual art designed to portray the most important aspects of a subject’s life. In John’s case, one of the most important features of his life was to point to Jesus. John’s example is important for us today. We can be easily distracted by human politics, traditions and material desires. It can benefit us to look at the example of a man who lived an uncluttered life, with one simple goal, to point to Jesus. What if our lives were more oriented towards Christ? What if our churches focused more on what he taught? Is it not the mission of every Christian to point to Jesus?
The world is full of gurus promising salvation from various complaints ― like poverty, headaches, big government and old vacuum cleaners. Much of the time, those promises are empty. There is one expert who doesn't make false claims. He actually can provide salvation from something that science cannot, death. His reputation has been sullied in the press and his followers are sometimes obnoxious and self-righteous. However, he does make some interesting and challenging claims. He claims to be the Son of God, God with us. He claims to have taken away the sins of the world. He claims to have the answers. In John 1:29-42 he made a challenge to a couple of men, who were curious. “Come, and you will see.” There is a deeper hint that if we begin to follow Jesus, we will eventually truly see.
We are not the Messiah, but we can point people to the One who is.