~ (Revised Standard Version)
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."
And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' "
And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
Recently I watched a special on the 2,500 to 3,000 year old mummies found scattered in China. It was really well done, they documented the success and failure to obtain DNA from each mummy and told about the known history of each person. One was a 5 year old boy buried with beautiful blankets, woven with great care. The loss of the blankets to the family indicated how much the child was held in esteem. Another a young woman with beautiful skin clothing and jewelry. A man they thought might have been a king, buried with a horse. Everyone was surprised to find the DNA indicated a high level of travel, there was Eastern European, India and a blend of DNA from around the world.
It is human nature to come from the beautiful miracles of John the Baptist's birth and Jesus' to wonder how John can say, twice, he didn't know Jesus. Or Jesus came before John, when John is older.
Jesus is the Word of God, with God, in the beginning of creation. Proverbs also tells us about the joy Jesus found in Creation. Jesus was... before John.
How and why didn't John the Baptist know Jesus - his cousin? Why can't we be more surprised by the rest of the 1st Chapter of John. Men meeting Jesus for the first time declared to each other "this is the Son of God" in both verse 41 and verse 49 of John 1. This is far more astonishing - Jesus has men leaving their way of life behind to become His disciples in a mere afternoon of listening to Jesus.
So why, why doesn't John recognize his cousin Jesus? It's pretty obvious when we add up what we know. It seems we must look at this question. John's parents were old when he was born. As people become very aged, they do not travel greatly. Traveling was difficult even for the young. John's parents lived 90 miles from Jesus. John surely heard, in his youth, about Jesus and the "funny circumstances" surrounding the quick wedding of pregnant, un-wed cousin Mary. When we see the Gospels record only cousin Elizabeth's support for Mary, we must also remember John the Baptist probably heard more of the rumors from more of the family - who are not remembered in the Scriptures.
So .... why didn't John recognize Jesus??? For the same reasons we didn't recognize Jesus until we invited Him to be part of us. Before we really knew Him: we heard about Jesus from other sources. Not all the sources were credible. Family (Church) is sometimes boring and the time it takes to get there and back is too long. Why put the effort into going when people aren't always nice? We missed the family get-togethers (Church) for so long, people hassle us about That too. If you don't remember the family stories correctly there is mocking. It's all a big tangle to sort out and we have other things to do.
Then, more importantly, it comes to the decision time. As John grew spiritually into God's plan for him, Jesus became important to him. John took the time to dwell and think about who Jesus is. God revealed not just family, a good man, but a Savior. John, bravely, and with certainty says, "And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
When John the Baptist died, Jesus gave food to thousands, we call that gathering where food is given - a funeral luncheon. Honoring someone Jesus loved. Ephesians tells us as God's Word, we will live in Heaven sorting out all things with Jesus' Awe of Grace upon Grace. Not just Thanksgiving for today, Thanksgiving for all days. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.
We Give You Thanks, Father God, for Your Wonders and Your Promises to us and to those we love and we will not be far, instead in diligence prayer conversation. Jesus The Lord. God Almighty. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †