There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
– John 1:6-8
The “John” referenced in the first sentence is John the Baptist – not the apostle John who wrote the gospel from which these verses were taken. The apostles learned well the virtue of humility from their teacher Jesus. Therefore, the John who writes this gospel doesn’t break into the story to say that he is a different John from John the Baptist. Rather, he just presents John the Baptist as the better known John – so well known that the writer does not even have to append “the Baptist” to his name. (For you and me, both these men are pretty important so I’ll add”the Baptist” where appropriate to keep them straight for you.)
John the Baptist came as a forerunner of the Messiah; he paved Messiah’s way. He was not the Messiah, but rather he pointed people to the Messiah.
There is always a “John the Baptist” to tell about “the Light.” That is, there is always someone who points the way to Jesus. Maybe it was your parents. For me, it was a former high school classmate who told me at a business lunch that he had recently “accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.” He was my “John the Baptist.” A year or two before, someone else had been a “John the Baptist” to him.
The story of Jesus – including, most importantly, His crucifixion and resurrection – is not intuitive; neither do people learn it by osmosis. It has to be told. The facts are there in the Bible, but the Bible can’t talk. Someone has to read it…or, having read it, tell someone else what it says.
Back in the 1st century, there were eyewitnesses…but those witnesses are no longer around to speak. Their testimonies, however, were committed to writing in the 1st century – and we still have them today. Therefore, even when parents tell their children about Jesus, they tell them that the reliable source we have for this truth is the set of ancient writings called the Bible.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, thank You that someone was a “John the Baptist” to me; and thank You that dried ink doesn’t move…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)