The Apostle John now introduces John the baptist. In just a word or two he provides and enormous amount of understanding as to who John was and what his purpose and mission was. Jesus described John as the greatest man to have been born? In Matthew 11:11 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” John’s mission and purpose then is clearly something that was and is highly important. If the Son of God himself bestows such a title on this man, it is evident that his purpose was highly important.
Who was John the Baptist?
John was a man of God. He was the last of the prophets of the Old Covenant age. He came specifically to fulfill prophecies in the Old Covenant and to announce the end of that age and the beginning of the New Covenant age. His role was preordained by God to carry out a divine purpose.
John would have appeared a little eccentric for he is described as wearing only clothes made of camels hair, living in the wilderness and eating and drinking only locusts, wild honey and water. By any account these would appear to be strange behaviours. And yet he had a ministry that was powerful. He was recognised by the people as a prophet and some even believed him to be the Christ. The people went out to him in the wilderness to listen to his teachings for he was led by the holy spirit, which he had received before he was born, and his ministry was led by the power and the word of God.
John was Not the Christ
Even though some thought he might have been the Christ, John quickly set them straight. He said himself that he was not the Christ but that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord and to make his paths straight.
John’s ministry was not to bring into being the New Covenant, but to make the people ready to accept it. He came and preached repentance and baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins, but he said! “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8)
John was the one who prepared the world to receive Christ and the teachings that would lead us to freedom. John began the journey by laying the foundations of Christianity and Christ then followed to build on that foundation.
Coming to the Light
And so we see in this first chapter of John that the purpose of John the Baptists ministry was as follows.
7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
John was the witness. In the law it was established that any matter would or could be established on the evidence of two or more witnesses. John came to bear witness to the truth or the light that is in Christ Jesus and Jesus bore witness also. For men this should be enough, two witnesses. But Jesus also showed later that God the Father bore witness, the Holy Spirit bore witness, and the signs, wonders and miracles that Jesus performed while on the earth also bore witness to who he was.
Jesus was, is and always will be the light. We come to the light when we come to him. The light is the knowledge of the truth of the New Covenant and the life that we receive from God through Jesus Christ. In the light that is Jesus there is life, peace, love, joy and the hope of a better future. Without the light there is only anxiety and darkness. Let us then seek the light that John bore witness to all those years ago and recognise Jesus as the light, just as John did too.
(Photo sourced from Universe Today picture taken by NASA)
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