John 1:6-9  The Witness of John the Baptist.


Introduction:  Matthew began his Gospel by taking us back to the time of Abraham and listing the genealogy of Jesus and the story of His birth.  Mark began his Gospel by taking us back to the time of John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness about six months before the public ministry of Jesus.  Luke began his Gospel by taking us back to the birth of John the Baptist which was six months before the birth of Jesus.  John began his Gospel by taking us back to eternity past, back before the world was created.  John introduces Jesus to us as the Word who was with and who was God. 

       We must not forget the stated purpose of John’s Gospel.  “John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”   John, in our text today, calls his first witness by telling us about a man who is named John.  This is not the John who wrote this Gospel but another John who is called “John the Baptist” by the other Gospel writers. The title “John the Baptist” is not used in the Gospel according to John.  We shall examine the authority, commission and message of John the Baptist which qualifies him to be a witness.  Remember as we study this text that it was written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and thus have life through His name. 


I.  What made John the Baptist qualified to be a witness of the light.

       1. He was a man.  God did not send an angel to proclaim the light of men.  He did not send Gabriel to tell men about Jesus.  Gabriel knows Jesus well.  Gabriel is more powerful than men.  Gabriel could have come and walked the streets of Jerusalem dressed in a white and shining garment and caused men to fall down in fear.  It would have been a spectacular show to see an angel of such great glory putting fear into men.  But Gabriel is not qualified to be a witness of the grace of God for He can not know what it is to be forgiven.  For Gabriel to tell you about the saving grace of Jesus would be like me telling you what it is like to have labor pains.  I will never experience labor pains so I  can not testify or be a witness to you about bringing forth a child.  God chose to send a man who had first hand experience with repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as his savior. 

       2.  He was sent from God.  God sent this man to us.  God calls men to serve Him.  God called the prophets of old to testify of the light.  God called John the Baptist to testify of the light.  It is God’s message and He authorizes men to proclaim that message.  We as a church of the Lord Jesus Christ have been sent from God to make disciples and to baptize and teach them.  It is by God’s authority that we speak.  When I visit in the home of a lost person and I tell them about Jesus, they need to know that I have been sent by God for it is God’s message that they need.  It is a blessed privilege to be sent by God.  Men, is God calling you to preach His Gospel message?  If He has put that desire in your heart respond to His call by announcing your call to preach and then go and preach.

       3.  His name was John.  God insisted that this man be named John.  It was not until this demand was met that his father, Zacharias, was allowed to speak again.  Upon the insistence of his mother and her unwillingness to yield to the demands of their family and friends this man was named John.  His name means “God is gracious”.  This name would sum up the message that God wants all men to hear.  Salvation is by grace.  It is a gift of God.  It is not of works.  God saves us as an act of grace.  We do not deserve salvation and we only have it by the grace, unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor, of God.

       4.  He was willing and accepted his commission.  Our text says “the same came”.  John accepted his lot in life.  God called him to be a witness and a witness he would be.  There are plenty of examples of men who refused to go when called by God.    Willingness is then a much needed qualification.  A person who has experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ and is not willing to be a witness before men disqualifies him or herself by their unwillingness.  I am thankful that someone was willing to be a witness that I might come to know Jesus as my savior.


II.  The  commission of John the Baptist.

       John was sent by God for a witness.  He was to bear witness of the light.  A witness is one who has seen, heard or experienced something personally.  They may or may not share the experience with others.  Whether they do or not does not change the fact that they are a witness.  John experienced saving grace.  John did not stop there for the scripture says “he came to bear witness”.  John was not saved just to sit down and do nothing until death.  He was a witness and would bear witness that others might believe.  He bore witness of the light which is Jesus Christ.  John came to tell men about Jesus.  That was his commission.  Jesus existed before John.  Jesus has been the light of the world ever sense its creation.  John came to tell men that Jesus had come as the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. 

       John was not commissioned to save.  He was not that light.  He was to tell people that Jesus is the light.  Jesus is the hope of men.  Jesus is the savior.  It is not our job to save people. We just arrange the meeting.


III. The message of John the Baptist.

       John the Baptist’s purpose for sharing the message was that men might believe.  John wrote this Gospel that men might believe and that believing they might have life through His name.

       John the Baptist’s message was that only Jesus can save.  Men can not save themselves and men can not save each other.   John was not that light! John can not save you nor can you save yourself. You are not that light.  There is only one true light, Jesus Christ.

       If there is a true light then there must also be a false light.  Cain brought to God the works of his hands thinking this was the true light.  This action was an example of the false light taught by men.  Men made idols and worshiped them.  This was not the true light.  Men have taught that church membership, baptism, Lord supper, Church attendance and a whole host of other things would satisfy God and cause them to be saved but these are false lights.  The true light is Jesus Christ.  Light is truth and the truth is that neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name given among men where by we must be saved.  No one comes to the father but by Jesus Christ.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Men must repent and believe in Jesus to be saved.  There is only one true light.

       This light is offered to every man that cometh into the world.  No one is left out.  All have sinned and all need a savior.  A savior has been provided, Jesus Christ the righteous.  This light is offered to every man but as we shall see in our next text this light must be received.  You must come to the light acknowledging your unworthiness and confess your sin and call upon Him to save you.


Conclusion:  John the Baptist made a good witness.  He told people the truth even at the cost of his own life.  Many people in John’s day refused to come to the light.  They refused to believe.  Don’t be like them.  These things were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name.  Will you come to the light. Will you accept the truth.  For the truth is that you are a sinner condemned unclean and you need a savior.  The truth, the light is that Jesus Christ is the savior and he will save you now if you will come to Him.