Lesson 3

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him. 1:8 He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. 1:9 The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.

 Today's Lesson

The writer of the Gospel shifts his focus from the Word to the man that God sent as a witness to the Word. John the Baptist is an important figure in all the gospels, but none more than the Gospel of John.  The Baptist is important in this Gospel for many reasons. He is the first that testifies to the person and work of Christ. He has been given a unique revelation in this Gospel. He prepares the way for the Son by supplying Him with His first followers. All this we will see as the story unfolds.


For now, we are introduced to the Baptist in these four verses. There came a man whose name was John. He was sent from God and he came as a "witness" to "the light." In other gospels, the message and appearance of John the Baptist is emphasized. Even though his importance is greater in this Gospel, his role is narrowed. He is displayed solely as witness. His testimony about the Lamb of God is what is important. The revelation that he has been given about the Word is what is important, not his own personal appearance or message.


In several places in this first chapter we are told that John the Baptist was not himself the light, or the word. This is important, for in the beginning, the followers of the Baptist were more numerous than those of the Nazarene. The religious establishment after his death embraced the message of the Baptist. He became another martyred prophet. Although it was tolerated at the very beginning, the message of Jesus of Nazareth was never embraced.


The message of the New Testament was that John prepared the way for Jesus. John came as a messenger, a forerunner. Here, in the Gospel of John, he is described as one who testifies about the true light that was coming into the world.


John is the embodiment of the old covenant that God had with the nation of Israel. He was the last of the prophets of the Sinai covenant. But, he was also a symbol of what they should have been all along. John was a voice crying in the wilderness and that was what God had wanted of all His people from the beginning. God planted His people in the wilderness so that when all men were drawn to Him, it would not be by chance or by choice geographic local. God planted them in the wilderness because He wanted us to search for Him. The wilderness is an image of testing and purifying for those who cross through it. When Moses led the people of God out of Egypt, those that crossed through the wilderness were purified. Those who rebelled and sinned died in the wilderness.


John has another significance as well. "There came a manů". God sends men as witnesses to His Son. The prophets of old testified about Him. The angels announced His birth. But, it is a man that inaugurates the mission of the Son. It is a man that is His herald.


Even today, God sends His people out into the wilderness as witnesses to His Son. God turns His message over to frail human beings because He is never far from them. We are sent into the darkness because within us we carry the divine light that enlightens everyone. We are sent into the wilderness because we carry the Lamb of God into a lost and dying world with us.


Let His light so shine in you that the lost world might see Him and be saved.


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