By Patrick Gahan
A Reading from the Gospel of John 1:29-34
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Chosen One.”
“I myself did not know him.” Twice in today’s gospel reading, John the Baptist says he hadn’t known Jesus before the Spirit descended upon him as a dove. Perhaps they hadn’t grown up together, attending family reunions in Judea, but they had met before — in utero, when John famously leapt within his mother’s womb, knowing that Jesus, the savior, was nearby.
Today’s passage in the Gospel of John describes the cousins’ reunion, John knowing who Jesus was because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine having never consciously met someone, but knowing, the moment that you saw him, exactly who he was? Can you imagine so forming your life around someone else — someone like Jesus — that when you come face to face a part of you undeniably knows that Jesus is in front of you, even if your eyes don’t register a familiar face?
“Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you,” God tells us; before we were knit together in cells and sinews, God was already in relationship with each one of us. What could make more sense than recognizing that very first voice, the very first touch we ever knew, before even our mothers touched us and talked to us, the voice of God that spoke us into existence.
The Rev. W. Patrick Gahan is rector of Christ Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas.
To receive a TLC Daily Devotional in your inbox each morning, click here.
Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Venice, Fla.
The Anglican Church of South America