By shaunefc, Feb 25 2013 01:40PM
It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from Heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”
Have you heard of the word “kawass”? The first, and only, time I came across this word was in a short article about John the Baptist! Apparently, from early times every great man in the East had a kawass! A kawass is a fore-runner: on all occasions he went before his master, clearing the way for him and announcing that he was on his way, coming to the place that the kawass had reached.
In John’s gospel account, chapter 1 and verse 23, John the Baptist describes himself as the “Kawass” of the Lord Jesus:
I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord.” '
Then, in the letter to the Hebrew Christians, chapter 6 and verses 19/20, the writer speaks of the Lord Jesus being our Fore-runner, our Kawass, into Heaven itself:
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the inner part behind the veil, where the fore-runner has entered for us, even Jesus.
Of course, that was the ultimate and final outcome of our Lord’s life and ministry here on earth. It started, as all four gospel records tell us, with our Lord’s baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan before the (Holy) Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for a period of preparation lasting forty days, which is commemorated by many Christians still by remembering this time during Lent which this year started on the 13th of this month.
John the Baptist was a very good example of a kawass: he cleared the way for Jesus, pointing the crowds towards Him as we read in John’s gospel record, chapter 1 and verse 29:
The next day John saw Jesus coming towards 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 is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
Having prepared the way by clearing it of obstacles, the kawass, the fore-runner, must not be an obstacle him (or her) self. John’s motto was “Jesus must increase, I must decease” (John 3:30) John was never so pleased and happy as when he got out of the way for his Master, Jesus! If any of us would be a kawass for Jesus, like John was, we must learn the same lesson that John had as his motto. Someone said, “The candle is nothing, the wick is nothing; they are there to be burned: the light is everything!”
My prayer is that we may all be like John the Baptist – preparing for Jesus’ coming, and pointing others to Him. Again it has been said, “First come to Jesus yourself, then bring others.” (GJS)