And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water (John 1:31 KJV)
Although John grew up with Jesus as his relative, he never knew Jesus was the Messiah. Think about that for a minute. According to Luke 1:36, John and Jesus were related somehow—Elizabeth, John’s mother, was Mary’s kinswoman( KJV calls them cousins). However, John the Baptist boldly says in John 1:31 that “I knew Him not.” How could he not know Jesus, his own relative that he probably grew up with?
Although God had told John He would show him the Messiah, John had no idea the Messiah would be his own relative. He must have heard his mother Elizabeth and Jesus’ mother speak about their strange conceptions, births, and prophetic words over their lives. However, the biblical account is clear: John only found out who the Messiah was when he saw the sign God had given him.
When his relative Jesus came to be baptized, John was possibly pleased to see a “spiritual awakening’ touching His own family. And then he was astonished when the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus as the sign to John that Jesus was the Son of God. John probably looked in amazement and said, “I knew Him not”! I knew this was my relative, but I had no idea He was the Messiah!
A miraculous sign from heaven opened John’s eyes to know Jesus; furthermore, John’s experience can be appropriately termed the revelation of Christ. How we need this today! All believers know Jesus, but not all believers know Jesus! Like John, we need our eyes opened to know the One we know. The Father opens our eyes by giving us His Spirit and His Word.
How do you think John’s attitude towards his relative changed after finding out He was the Messiah?
Apply the Word
This is my ministry to you—to open your eyes to see Jesus in the Word. To bring you to increasingly know the One you already know! May the Lord put a hunger in your spirit for the revelation of the Son of God in your life by His Spirit.
Ask the Father to open your eyes to see Jesus.