The Word (Jn. 1:6-8) [4]

The Word (Jn. 1:6-8) [4]

John 1:6-8 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”

As we continue in the apostle John’s prologue, consideration is given to John the Baptist and his witness regarding the Lord Jesus. The name John indicates ‘Jehovah is a gracious giver’ and we see God providing more revelation to the light that mankind has already received (v4).

The apostle uses courtroom language in saying that the Baptist was a judicial witness of the Light. John was just a voice, not obscuring the Light but calling others to it. This is confirmed by his first wordswhen he declares “I am not the Christ” (v20). Witnesses in court promise to say ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’, and this is exactly what John did.

John fulfils Isaiah’s prophecy (v 23) in saying that he was preparing the way of Jehovah. Heequates Jesus Christ with the Jehovah of the Old Testament. He further affirms the deity of Christ by saying “after me comes a man who has a higher rank than I, for he existed before me” (v 30, NASB). John attests to the pre-eminence and eternality of the Lord Jesus in a few short sentences. John’s successor is actually his predecessor and superior.

Before the baptism of Christ, John said “I knew him not” (v31). At that time Christ had not been revealed publicly. As readers of this narrative, we are placed on the same level as John.We, like him do not know the identity of Christ, but are expected to follow the evidence in order to find the truth. Verse 32 is the eyewitness testimony of John; “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him”.Verse 33 is the prior revelation of God saying; “upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” This is a piece of evidence that’s unveiled after the witness statement of verse 32, and validates the whole account. John thenputs two and two together and says “I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (v 34) – this is the inescapable conclusion.

This encapsulates the style of the gospel throughout; evidence is presented and then validated in order that we might believe. The apostle summarises the gospel saying “these (things) are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).

John testifies elsewhere that God gave the Spirit without limit to His Son (ch3:34). Two divine persons in perfect harmony with one another should lead us to the same conclusionas John; Christ is the eternal Son of the eternal God.

John is one of many who bore witness (martyreō) of the Lord Jesus Christ in this gospel. He is no solo act but joins in the choir of testifiers that sound a symphony to the glories of Christ. We read elsewhere that:

The works which the Father hath given me bear witness of me” (John 5:36)

The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me” (John 5:37)

The scriptures … are they which testify of me” (John 5:39)

Verse 8 echoes back to Genesis 1 and just as the moon reflects the sun so too John the Baptist was a faint reflection of the Lord Jesus. John was a lesser light and was happy to say “he must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

In typical Johannine style there is repetition in verses 7 and 8 as well as truth stated positively and negatively. They combine to tell us that though John the Baptist was a great man, he was only a man; eclipsed by the Light of the world.The Spirit of God always guards the person of Christ for none can share in the honours due to him; “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8).

As we remember Christ this morning, may everyone and everything else shrink into the shadows as we gaze at Him alone.

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