Testimony of the Baptist

A man came, sent by God. His name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world.

John 1:6-9 (New Jerusalem Bible)

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8 responses

  1. I don’t have enough for a post on this — it just seems to emphasize that John the Baptist was not the Messiah but that he was the herald. It seems to me just a narrative piece to get the story going, I’m not getting any real message from it, maybe that all men can bear witness to the light.

  2. I think you got it dead on.All four gospels take particular pains to to note that John the Baptist was not the messaih but pointed tehw ay to Jesus the true messiah.Historical critical scholarship uses this to suggest there may have been tension between the followers of Jesus and the followers of John.

  3. Yes, like you guys mentioned, this seems to put emphasis on John being subordinate to Jesus. Interesting stuff … John and Jesus must probably have been aquainted as kids since, if I’m reading the gospels correctly, they were sort of cousins. Did their parents discuss with them what the angels predicted of them at their conceptions? And they turned out to be so different in the way they conducted their ministries … John with his desert asceticism and Jesus hanging out at wedding feasts 🙂

  4. Crystal:I get the feeling that Jesus began as a disciple of John, but soon went entirely beyond his message (not the last time that has happened).John is actually an O.T. type prophet, with the typically prophetic call for repentance. Jesus had a gospel; it went utterly beyond the O.T. (although we can find many sources for Jesus in the O.T.). You can also find sources for Jesus in Plato, etc. Jesus initiated a new age, an age where the law meant nothing relatively speaking because the Great Law essentially superceded it. As Blake said about Jesus: He broke every one of the Ten Commandments, and acted from pure virtue. (Remember that’s poetry!!!) It suggests to me that there is a time to kill- at the higher commandment of love. Well that’s enough! I’m preaching (and provoking!).

  5. Larry – a time to kill :-). Do you mean euthanasia?

  6. Crystal: What I had in mind was the attempt to assassinate Hitler: whoever achieved that would have been perceived as a friend of mankind. Then on the battlefield, men have been hopelessly, mortally wounded, and in great pain, and got one of their buddies to end their suffering. I have an open mind about assisted suicide for the hopelessly ill. etc. It does appear to me that any or all of these acts might well be in the service of love. I would even include the Quaker heroine in High Noon. (All this may precipitate an outcry of protest, but that’s okay.)

  7. My only protest would be about the killing of Hitler (or anyone against their will) … doesn’t seem like Jesus would go for it (I think) because … 1) once someone is dead, they no longer have the chance to redeem themselves and change their lives for the better … and 2) even if someone’s death would be a blessing to others, killing them would be a situation of the end justifying the means = moral bankruptsy 🙂

  8. It might be useful to re-focus on this scripture: John…came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world. John 1:6-9 I just feel this is so beautiful. The light. Yes. Though we are not the source of this light, everyone may be illuminated with this light. We can feel it radiate within us and we can reflect it, as John stated he would do. In reflecting this light we bear witness to the Christlight; the goodness, the love, the amazing presence of God. Wow!

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