He was called John; widely regarded as a prophet, but a rather unusual prophet. Of priestly descent, his birth to a pair of elderly citizens was foretold by an angel. A Nazirite from birth, he spent his early years in the mountains of Judah between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. When he finally burst forth into public life preaching a baptism of repentance, multitudes of people, great and small were drawn to him.
His message and way of life drew crowds to the banks of the Jordan where he baptized thousands unto repentance. His fame spread to the corridors of power in Jerusalem and aroused debate as to his true identity: some said he was the promised Messiah; others said he was Elijah; yet others insisted he was the Prophet Moses spoke about (Deut 18:15). When the debate could not be resolved, the Jewish leaders sent men to John to inquire about who he was:
John 19:22 – Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
John’s answer (v23) is most intriguing:
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”
From the arguments preceding, it is clear the people’s answer to the question “Who are you?” was a personality – the Messiah; Elijah; the Prophet. John’s response to the same question was his mission – the voice of one calling in the desert. John says I have a personality but I am my purpose and my mission defines who I am.
Personality was given to express and accomplish purpose. The constant admonition to ‘know thyself’ is an imperative to know your personality and your purpose. Knowing yourself is the key to harnessing your strengths and bringing them to bear on your mission.
Frank is a cardiothoracic surgeon practicing in Ghana. His work involves mainly pediatric cardiac surgery. Apart from children's health, he's also passionate about lifestyle modifications to promote health.