Born To Bear Witness
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man
came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all
through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent
to bear witness of that Light." (John 1:6-8)
"Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests
and Levities from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you.' He
confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, 'I am not the
Christ.' And they asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' He
said, 'I am not.' 'Are you the Prophet?' And he answered, 'No.'
Then they said to him, 'Who are you, that we may give an answer
to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?' He said,
The voice crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the
Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.' Now those who were sent were
from the Pharisees. And they asked him saying, 'Why then do you
baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?'
John answered them saying, 'I baptize with water, but there
stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming
after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not
worthy to loose.' These things were done in Bethabara beyond the
Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
This is He of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who is
preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him;
but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came
baptizing with water."' And John bore witness saying, 'I saw the
Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon
Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with
water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and
remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.'
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And
looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, 'Behold the Lamb of
God!' The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed
Jesus." (John 1:19-37)
"After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land
of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Now John
also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much
water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not
yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between
some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. And
they came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, He who was with you
beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified - behold, He is
baptizing, and all are coming to Him!' John answered and said,
'A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from
heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, "I am not
the Christ," but, I have been sent before Him. He who has the
bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who
stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the
bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He
must increase, but I must decrease.'" (John 3:22-30)
John The Baptist
He is not to be confused with John, the apostle, who was the son
of Zebedee and authored; John's Gospel, the three letters of
John, and the Revelation of John.
John the Baptist was the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth (Luke
1). His birth was foretold by an angel to his parents, when they
were elderly. His birth preceded that of Jesus', who was his
cousin. He became a "Hell-fire and Brimstone" preacher.
Preaching "repentance to the Jews." His dress was very crude,
that of camel's hair. His diet consisted of locusts and wild
honey. However, even though he was not a "polished" preacher, he
drew the crowds. He baptized Jesus in the Jordan. Due to his
straight forward preaching, he ended up having his head removed
(Matthew 14:1-12). The name "John" means "Gift of God" and is a
Hellenized form for "Jonathan." There is a similarity between
John and his Old Testament namesake. They both gave up the
opportunity to be popular for someone else. Jonathan stepped
aside for David, while John stepped aside for Jesus. When we
find the name "John" in the fourth Gospel, it is always in
reference to John the Baptist, and never the Gospel writer. John
realized that he was born to witness.
John had a tremendous amount of people that followed after him.
He was very careful to inform them that he was not the Christ,
but only the one to point to Him.
Quite often a preacher has problems with having "Preacher
Lovers" in a congregation. That is, people want to follow him,
rather than Christ. If he is not teaching or preaching because
he has to be out of town, they don't even attend services. One
preacher never tells his congregation that he is going to be
gone, because he knows that "when the cat is away, the mice will
play." One has a poor religion if it is "built upon a preacher"
instead of Christ. If a preacher "falls," so does their hope of
Heaven. John made it very clear that he came to witness of
Christ. Any preacher worth anything today, will do likewise.
In John 3:25-30, an argument broke out among some of John's
disciples over ceremonial washings. They came to John to settle
the dispute. He was quick to tell them that Jesus must be given
the pre-eminence in all things. John said that he (John) must
become less and less in the eyes of man and Jesus must become
more and more. The disciples of John were having problems with
Jesus gaining popularity, and John had to resolve this problem.
John showed how "big" he was by his willingness to take second
place. This is a "monument" to his character. It is one that all
of us Christians would do well in duplicating. When Christians
are willing to work in the Lord's Church and not care who gets
the credit, a great deal can be accomplished. However, if a
person fears doing anything, due to not getting a "pat on the
back," then the Lord's work is drastically limited. If John
taught us anything, it was a life of servanthood.
In John 1:6 the word "sent" is from a Greek word (Apostello)
from which we get the English word "Apostle." This word normally
means "one sent with a message."
No one has ever had a greater sender (God), nor has had a
greater message than to point people to Jesus Christ, as John
did. John's purpose of coming was to testify of Jesus. Day by
day people enter court rooms to testify on behalf of others
(witness to accidents, business frauds, martial disputes, etc.).
However, no one can give a greater testimony than to inform
people how Jesus saved them from their sins, when they accepted
Him as Lord and Savior, by allowing their faith to cause them to
repent of their sins, confess Him publicly, and permit someone
to immerse them in the watery grave of Christian baptism.
Now - some people may THINK they are saved, but were really not,
according to God's Word. Some would say they were saved when:
they heard a voice; they prayed the "sinner's prayer" (not found
in the Bible); laid their hand on the radio or TV; recited a
confession or creed; got goose bumps when hearing a Gospel song;
signed a commitment card at a religious service; or "prayed
through" at an alter.
In John 1:8, John made it very plain that he was not the Light,
but came to be a witness of the Light. All Christians today need
to do likewise. That is, make it plain: who Jesus is (God in the
flesh); what the church is (God's redeemed family); there will
be a Judgement Day; there is a hell, as well as a heaven; and
the Lord's Plan of Salvation.
Just as John realized that he was born to witness about Jesus,
today God needs men, women and youth to do likewise. Too many
church members go to the gridirons, ball diamonds and gymnasiums
and shout, scream and yell for some athletic contest and then
become closed-lipped and yellow-bellied when it comes to
"speaking up" for Jesus. Shame on us if we are guilty of such.
If we are a "Born Again" child of God, we have been born to
witness! Let's do it, every day that God allows us to live.
All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless