Read: Start by reading John 1:28 out loud a few times.
“This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing” (John 1:28 NIV).
Meditate: The place called Bethany in verse 28 is truly insignificant, except that John the Baptist probably baptized Jesus there.
We read in several places in the Bible of a different Bethany which is quite a significant place. It is at the Mount of Olives just below the view of Jerusalem and Jesus enjoyed lodging there with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Because Jesus raised Lazarus there, tourists today are charged money to see the cave that is said to be where they had laid Lazarus. Bethany is traditionally considered a place where sick people were treated and a place where Jesus also visited Simon the leper. Jesus’ ascension is believed to have occurred at this Bethany.
The Bethany in John 1:28, however, is referred to as Bethabara and was said to be east of Jericho where John was baptizing. Today, the place is not recognized by the name Bethany. In fact, the insignificant place seems to have disappeared, having been taken in by the larger place called Bethabara.
Have you ever felt, like this Bethany, insignificant? Perhaps you’re at times confused with someone else, someone whom another person deems significant, and then the person realizes that’s not you.
The good news is that God creates us with significance. He loves using people and places that others pass off as insignificant. He chose a stable in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. He chose Mary, a young girl, to give birth to Jesus. He chose Nazareth as the hometown for Jesus. (Nathanael even wondered if anything good could come from Nazareth.)
Read John 1:28 again.
- Spend time singing to God who creates all things that are good.
- Thank God for creating you with purpose.
- Ask God to remind you how He sees you as His precious creation.
Notice: Take time to list several significant places in your life. In this list, be sure to include where you were saved, where you were baptized, special places where you heard God’s voice, and the place where you grew up.
Spend some time praying for the people living in these specific places today. As a Christian leader in a hurting world, it is important for each of us to commit to praying for His world.
Consider adding one city or place to your prayer list each day. Perhaps you might even want to pray on location for your neighborhood or a place that God has put in your thoughts today. While some might not see prayer as a significant way to change our world, the truth is that God does hear our prayers.
Pray: When you hear the news today, write down the names of the cities and places mentioned. Spend time praying specifically for the people who live in these places throughout your busy day. Ask God to show His light and hope to each person in each of these places.