Today's Verse

"John was like a lamp that burned and gave light..." — John 5:35 ERV


John the Baptist had a message from God. The message concerned the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the "true light" that was coming into the world and He would give light to all people. (John 1:9) When he was asked, John identified himself as "the voice of someone shouting in the desert" and that his message was "Make a straight road ready for the Lord." (John 1:23) His message, in other words, was a message to the people of his day to get ready for the true light by, figuratively, making a straight road. That is, they should make it easy for Jesus to come to them and enlighten them.

Since John had this message about the true light, he himself was a light. He was, as our verse for today says, "a lamp." He lit up the situation of his day for what it was and he told the people how they should respond to it. One might say that John's message was a "heads up" for the people that told them what was about to happen and what to do about it. When Jesus actually came, as a result, there would be no major surprises. If the people took John seriously, then they would be ready to receive what Jesus was about to say and do amongst them.

John's message, of course, was a special message for the special time he lived in. Nevertheless, his message still has relevance for today. For those that haven't heard about Jesus, his message is still important. It's important because they need to get ready. It's important because they need to make a straight road. Instead of leaving the obstacles to Jesus coming to them in place, it's important for them to clear them all away. Life itself hangs in the balance. Life in the here and now and in the world to come hangs in the balance.

John, of course, can no longer bring his message personally, but we can. We can tell people to get ready for Jesus. We can tell them and show them what it means to receive what Jesus has for us. As Christians who have been enlightened by the truth of the Gospel, we have a message to bring to a world that still has a lot of darkness in it.

By telling people about the Gospel and by living the Gospel life, we become lamps that light up our world, just like John lit up his world.