There is only one God-made-flesh, and we have the joy of celebrating him this Christmas. Because he put on flesh, we can be transformed by him. Because the light shines in the darkness, our dark hearts can be illuminated. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He and no other. And we get to be his witnesses! We point to the true light to those who are in the dark.
It has been heartbreaking to watch a parade of public Christian leaders pervert power or relinquish their faith. How can we maintain faith in Christ when respected leaders break our trust?
No religious leader was more influential when Jesus began his ministry than John the Baptizer. Crowds flocked from towns near and far to find him in the wilderness near the Jordan. He was dressed wildly, with a garment made of camel’s hair tied with a leather belt (Johnny Depp had nothing on him), and he ate a bizarre diet of locusts and wild honey (Gwyneth Paltrow, take note). Jesus declared that “among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11). Some whispered that this must be the Messiah. But he was not.
The apostle John explains, “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). Jesus explains that John the Baptist is fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you” (Matt. 11:10).
John the baptizer’s special vocation as “witness” is broadened at the conclusion of Jesus’s ministry, first to the apostles and then to us.