In Sunday’s Gospel (John 1:29ff) John the Baptist speaks of Jesus, calling him superior, pre-existent, and anointed by the Holy Spirit. But what also stands out is that twice he says, “I did not know him.” This seems odd given that they were cousins. While it is possible that the text merely means they were not well acquainted, it is likely the text means something more, something deeper. It is as if he is saying, “I knew him, but I never really knew him. I never really saw until now the full depths of him, I did not fully realize his glory; not until God showed me. ”  

That John missed seeing these deeper realities is understandable since the Lord hid these qualities to some extent. The Letter to the Philippians says, 

[Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to; rather, he emptied himself by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he thus humbled himself becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:6-11)

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