There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 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 1:6-8
My friend and classmate, Dr. Jeff Gibbs, is a seminary professor. He is reported to have told his classes over the years, “Gentlemen, the world needs a Savior, and you’re not him.” It’s very similar to the two rules of life:
- There is a God.
- You’re not God.
To that we may add a third rule: When in doubt, refer to rule #2.
Clearly John knew these rules – or at least the essence of those rules. This is John the Apostle’s testimony about John the Baptist. John is the forerunner of Jesus. He is the voice in the wilderness crying, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
John the Baptist is so important that the Apostle breaks into his account of the Word, the One who was with God in the Beginning, God himself, the Creator of all that exists. The Apostle tells us that this one who came, came as a witness to the Light. He was not the Light. He was witness to the Light.
Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest man born of a woman. John, however, was not the Light. He bore witness to the Light. He proclaimed that Jesus was so much greater than he, that he was unworthy to untie his sandals.
It is far more challenging than we might imagine to keep it straight. Are we to be savior or witness to the savior? It should never be a question in our mind. But it is. So let us remember: We’re not the Savior. That’s the Word’s calling. But at our best we are witnesses to the Savior.