The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
Jesus Christ was prophesied to come as the Messiah and one such sign of His arrival was John the Baptist.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:6-9).
In verses 6-9, the Apostle John briefly discusses John the Baptist. The prophet Malachi spoke of a man who would come to foretell and clear the path for the Messiah. He would be a “prophetical trailblazer” (Matt 3:1-3; 11:11).
Did he come on his own power? No, the Bible says he was “sent from God” (vs. 6). He was commissioned by God himself to be the message-bearer that the Messiah had arrived. He was God’s emissary and representative to announce the Word was coming.
So what did John come to do? He came “as a witness to testify about the Light” (vs. 7). He came to proclaim the arrival of the Promised One. He wasn’t the revelation but came to “testify” about that revelation.
Did you notice that the emphasis here is not on the man John but on his activity? It was as if John the Baptist was standing before the courtroom of Israel giving verbal testimony to the claims of Christ. He verified that Christ was the Messiah and the Son of God. This is what John the Baptist came to do. He came to proclaim the arrival of this Promised One.
Why did He do all this? The text says, “so that all might believe through him” (vs. 7). John the Baptist came to bear witness and testimony to Him so that people might believe through Him.
John continues, “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (vs. 9). Leon Morris concludes in The Gospel According to John, “Other lights were flickers of the truth; some were faint glimpses of reality; some were will o’ the wisps which men followed, and which led men out into the dark and left them there.” If John were alive today, he might say he was “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is the only true Light. And the text says He came “into the world”; this is simply referring to His incarnation.
And He “enlightens every man.” Did John believe that every man and woman would be saved? The answer to this question is an obvious no, because both before (vs. 4) and after (vs. 10-11) this statement he speaks about those whose reject the Light and will remain in darkness.
The root meaning of this word “enlighten” meant “to make something visible” or “to illuminate something.” The idea is that of a dark room where there is no light and someone lighting a candle to make them visible. The Light – Jesus – became evident to all men. John Calvin got it right when illustrated it this way using Augustine’s comment, “Augustine employs the comparison of a schoolmaster who, if he happen to be the holy person who has a school in the town, will be called the teacher of all, though there be many persons that do not go to his school.”
John the Baptist came to proclaim Jesus as the Promised One, and He proved so by His works and His witness. He “made Himself visible to every man.” He did this for all men to see. This was the Promised Child spoken of in the O.T.
Do you know this Promised One?