John 5:36 – He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
It cannot be emphasized too greatly how important John the Baptist was to the introduction of Jesus and His kingdom reign. John was the prophetic bridge from the Old to the New Covenant. The last verses of the Old Testament recorded in the book of Malachi spoke of John when it said, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
These verses reveal the heart of our heavenly Father. Elijah was the premier prophet of the Old Covenant. He represents the total prophetic revelation of the Old Covenant. John came in the spirit of Elijah. We know these scriptures speak of the time of Jesus’ first coming because Jesus calls John Elijah. Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands” (Matthew 17:11-12).
Prophets are anointed to be lamps to God’s people. John was that lamp, lighting the way for Jesus to enter His ministry. In those days, a lamp was fueled by oil which caused the wick to burn. As John “burned” for Jesus, those hearing him rejoiced for a time. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we too are called to burn for Jesus and to point to the “Lamb of God” who takes the world’s sin away. John’s light revealed Jesus. The light of the Holy Spirit in us reveals Jesus to a dark world as well. People rejoice in that light until they find out what is required to have the light in them. Many reject God’s love because, in order to receive what God has done in Christ, they are required to give up their life and receive His. This is why Jesus said “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
For the one who receives the testimony of John, they become “greater than John.” “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11). Wow! We are greater than John! How can this be? The greatness of the least in the kingdom of God comes through being joined to Christ in the power of His resurrection and His indwelling Holy Spirit. John was part of the last covenant which looked forward to Christ’s first advent. We are those who are part of the “new” who live in the present reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are waiting for His glorious return, when at His appearing we will be joined with all those who have gone before us.
Father, I thank You for what You have done in Christ. I pray for the oil of the Holy Spirit to fill my life so I might burn like John, filled with light that points to Your great love in Christ.