I am not – the – Messiah. I am not - the one. I am not – who you are waiting for. I am not – the answer to your problems. I am not – the savior. I am not – able to baptize to with the Spirit, only water. And by the way, I am not Elijah. I am not even a prophet.
Do you know who you are enough to know you aren’t the Messiah?
“I am not the messiah.” What a healthy thing to realize, to admit, to say. For within most of us there is a messiah complex. We fantasize, dream of, being the One. I’m the one, yeah, me. I can make you happy. I can deliver the goods and the ideas and the products. I can meet all the expectations and goals with flying colors. I can heal your heartaches. I can refit you for a fantastic future. I can get you out of a ditch. You pegged me. You nailed it. I am indeed your messiah.
When I was in my second year of training at the Presbyterian Samaritan Counseling Center here in Charlotte I still was having trouble with my messianic complex. The pressure was on. I wanted to reach Member level of The American Association of Pastoral Counselors. To do that, among what seemed like a hundred other requirements, I had to provide a taped counseling session of a client who had stuck with the counseling process for at least thirty sessions. I had only one such client and he, Danny, was not exactly what I would call a cooperative client.
Have you ever tried to be someone’s messiah and they didn’t cooperate?
Counseling Danny was like chasing a rabbit. The harder I chased Danny, with my messianic needs fueling the process, the faster Danny ran away.
Who have you tried to save? A wayward offspring? A person in your extended family? Your spouse? Your parents? An individual at church or work?
How successful has your messiah efforts been?
“I am not the Messiah,” John the Baptist declares. Perhaps John’s declaration is the one we need to make this Advent. And then during Advent we should turn our attention to the question asked by the priests and Levites from Jerusalem. If you are not the messiah, who are you?
When John refused messianic status, Elijah status, and prophet status, the dumbfounded Levites and priests from Jersualem inquired, "then who are you?"
Nadai Bolz-Weber, pastor of the House For All Saints and Sinners in Denver, Colorado has John’s answer. She says that John the Baptist was the first and last successful street preacher.
I like that answer, especially after suffering from the nut jobs who line the streets of downtown Charlotte. Has any life been changed because a crazy guy with a sign yelled at us from a street corner? Yes, I’m pretty sure John the Baptist was the first and last successful crazy street corner preacher. That’s who he was.
But who are you? It’s time, advent time for you to figure that out. So let me suggest this. We - thank God the pressure is off – we are not the messiah, but we are people who prepare the way. Now that can get very confusing and messy. What’s the difference between being a way preparer and a Messiah? I’m not completely sure of the answer. But I’ve learned this – being a preparer of the way enables us to focus on being faithful with no pressure on how something or someone will turn out. A preparer of the way is a friend, a listening ear, a presence, someone who understands, yes, even to the point of being able emphatically and without an ounce of judgement, to tell another -here’s some things you might want to look at in your life.
People who prepare the way do not chase rabbits.
Who – are – you?
How are you preparing the way?
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