There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. John 1:6-8 NIV
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:39-45 NIV
John the Baptist began his ministry – giving testimony about Jesus being the Son of God – when he was 6 months in gestation in his mother’s womb. Mary, the mother of Jesus visited her cousin Elizabeth, and Luke’s gospel tells us the baby inside of Elizabeth leapt for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. All of John’s life he spoke to people telling them to repent, be baptized, for the Kingdom of God was near. He pointed the people to Jesus. John the Baptist said, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less,” John 3:27b-30.
John the Baptist was the forerunner, the Elijah, the prophet whose job it was to prepare the way for Jesus. Isaiah told us about him, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God,’” Isaiah 40:3. The words witnessed and testified to, evoke pictures of a courtroom and the witness stand. A witness testifies in court to what he knows, has seen, or has heard. Luke 3:2 tells us the word of the Lord came to John the Baptist in the desert. He testified to the people who came out to him, he baptized them, and when they wondered if he was the Messiah they were all hoping for, he answered them, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” Luke 3:16. John the Baptist shined the spotlight on Jesus, he was not the light, he was a witness to the light.
We are also called to shine the light on Jesus, to point people to him, to show others that he is the light of the world, he is the solution to our problems. Listen to this song by Avalon called Testify to Love. Perhaps there is someone in your life you can point to Jesus this week.
By Grace Hunter