The Evidence We Need
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. — John 1:6-8
The John mentioned in this text is different from the John who is writing the book. The John writing the book goes by a few popular names depending on where in history you are talking about him. His common title was John, the son of Zebedee. Within this book, he is called The one Jesus loved. Today we call him John the Apostle. And this isn't the only book he wrote. He was a prolific writer, writing five books in the New Testament. They are the Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelations. So John, more than the other apostles, was the writer and one of the youngest disciples of Jesus.
In contrast, the John in the text is John the Baptist. Or if John the Apostle could give him another title, he might call him John, the Witness. And he is Exhibit A in his testimony.
Keep in mind John is writing with a clear purpose in mind. He is writing to present a mountain of evidence that Jesus is the Son of God, the Word, the Divine One, the Light, and the Life. Therefore he presents John as his first witness to the courtroom of mankind. And everything following is evidence that builds on this story.
And John the Baptist's role is critical because he was the promised prophet told about in Old Testament prophecy. He is the one God promised would prepare or declare the way for the Lord. One of these prophecies we read at the end of our last study through the book of Malachi. Listen to this verse in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 3:1
Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. — Malachi 3:1
John the Apostle is connecting God's predetermined plan to the man who was the forerunner to God's plan so people would see the Man who was the plan. And he wants to intentionally differentiate these two men by calling one "the light" and the other the one who would "bear witness about the light."
But again, this text has a nifty little feature that really emphasizes this idea. And we cannot see it in the English text. But you can see it and hear it if you read the verse in the original Greek text. It's found in the first verse. It reads like this.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
And the verb "was" here in reference to John is a different tense from the verb "was" in reference to the Word in verse one. The tense in this text is aorist, which means it is completed. It is done. It is past. This is very different from the tense used in reference to the Word, which is ever-existing. And with this tiny little verb, John presents the ultimate contrast between Jesus and John. Jesus was, is, and evermore will be, and John was.
So what do we learn?
As long as I have been doing ministry, I have discovered there are a couple of ways people make decisions about Jesus. Some people make decisions based on experiences they have with the divine. And by the way, the divine always interacts with humanity. For some people, this is all the evidence they ever need. On the other hand, some people make decisions based on evidence, facts, and reason, and they want logical explanations. And many have gone this route and discovered the truth about Jesus. For example, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and C.S. Lewis are a few.
And what John does in this Gospel is a beautiful combination of both. It combines everything he experienced firsthand with the divine, supported by evidence from prophecy, witnesses, logic, and reason. And I love this. It solidifies our faith in Jesus. But that's what followers do. They share the evidence of their life and the evidence in the Bible to guide others to ever-existing life in Jesus. So get out there and do that today. Share your testimony and point people to Jesus.
ASK THIS: Who needs to hear your testimony today that needs to hear more about Jesus?
DO THIS: Share him.
PRAY THIS: God, give me an opportunity to tell someone about you.
PLAY THIS: I Speak Jesus.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.
Well, I’ll be chewing on that on the ride to church today. Thanks, Vince!
there you go!
Thank you for sharing Vince!