You may not know this but John the Baptist is the cousin of Jesus. It is a little-talked-about Biblical truth.
Can you imagine the dynamics this created at family reunions? You know the relatives discussed this strange branch in the family tree at every opportunity. They whispered during 4th of July picnics. They glared at the boys over their Easter Ham. They rolled their eyes during Mother Mary’s 40th Birthday Party.
You know there had to be talk about the boys and their idiosyncrasies. Surely someone brought up John’s clothing. The family had to groan each time his Locust & Honey Casserole made an appearance at the buffet.
The same was true with Jesus and his water-to-wine. Alright, the wine was okay…but enough with the loaves and fish! All those leftovers! Oy, vey!
But what I’d really like to know is this: What did John and Jesus talk about when THEY were together. What was the topic of THEIR conversation? Was it about the weather? Their jobs? Their purpose in life?
“So, Johnny, how’s work?”
“Not bad, JC. I baptized several hundred sinners this past week, alone. My numbers just keep climbing. How’s it going with you?”
“Well, I’m still chipping away at those chairs but my carpal tunnel is acting up again. I’m going to have it looked at.”
“Too bad. Maybe you should take a break. Did you ever think about going into preaching?”
“Oh, I’ve thought about it. But all that travel could crucify a guy! Hey, pass the Locust casserole…”
But one day, John is doing his thing in the muddy waters of the Jordan River. Jesus walks up and John declares he is the Son of God! He’s going to take away the sins of the world! This is big stuff! They probably discussed it over birthday cake the week before…or did they?
Isn’t it possible that even John, raised with his cousin, suddenly sees Jesus in a new light? Isn’t it possible that John’s eyes are opened for the very first time? He no longer sees a Nazareth Hick Furniture Maker suffering from carpal tunnel. This is the Son of God! This is the Savior of the World.
Have you ever had a moment like this? Was there ever a time in your life when you experience the same realization? As a nation, we’ve gone to church all our lives. We’ve watched the tel-evangelists and flipped right past. We’ve heard gospel music. We’re familiar with prayers at the table and weddings and funerals. God is mentioned in all these places. But we’ve tuned out the message. We’ve turned off the truth. It is just more of the same.
But one day…BAMM!! It hits us like never before. The truth that Jesus really is The Truth! And our lives are changed forever.
John looks up from the water and his eyes fall on his cousin. Behind him the light from the setting sun reflects off the muddy water. He blinks and looks again. His eyes focus on the face of one he’s known his entire life. And then he sees clearly. John witnesses The Light of the World stepping down into the muddy water and he tells all who will listen, “This is the One.”
In this surprise moment, John the Baptist discovers Jesus the Christ. His heart leaps in his chest. His eyes fill with tears. His hope is renewed. Jesus is not just a cousin. He is not just another good man. He is not just another teacher. This is Jesus the Christ, God’s Son. John experiences a moment of epiphany. It is a moment of revelation and it changes John’s life forever.
Oh, that our lives would be so changed.