“‘You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light’” (John 5:33–35).
The purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare the nation for the Messiah (1:23), and to point Him out when He came (1:31).
John’s testimony supported Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah. Since he was generally regarded as a prophet (Matt. 21:26; Luke 20:6)—the first one in four centuries—his testimony carried considerable weight.
Jesus, of course, did not depend on human testimony to establish His claim to deity. He cited the testimony of John the Baptist to confirm by the mouth of one already recognized as God’s true prophet that same truth concerning Himself. He did so for the sake of His hearers—that they might be saved on account of John’s faithful witness.
Having mentioned John’s testimony to Him, Jesus in turn gave both a tribute to the Baptist and a rebuke to the Jewish leaders for rejecting his witness. John was “the lamp that was burning and was shining.” His “burning” inner zeal made him a “shining” light in the dark world. Unlike Jesus, who is the Light of the world (8:12), John was a lamp—he was a reflector of the Light. Just as a lamp lights the way for people, so John lit the way to Jesus (1:31).
We are never just standing still. We’re either increasing our resemblance to Christ’s character, or we’re looking more like ourselves—more controlled by our own desires and appetites. What traits would make you a better reflection of the presence of Christ in your life?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610