To Testify about the Light

 

This post is the sixth in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan. We will be posting one devotional a day through Christmas.

John 1:6–8, 19–28 (Part 1)

A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. This one came for a witness, in order that he could testify about the light, so that all would believe through him. That one was not the light, but came in order that he could testify about the light.…

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem so that they could ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed—and he did not deny, and confessed—“I am not the Christ!” And they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not!” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No!” Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

He said,

“I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,

“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’

just as Isaiah the prophet said.” (And they had been sent from the Pharisees.) And they asked him and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water. In your midst stands one whom you do not know—the one who comes after me, of whom I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal!” These things took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

Discussion Questions

Why was John sent? And who is “the light”?

Response: John was sent to tell people about “the light” (vv. 7–8). The light is Jesus Christ. John’s job was to tell the world of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.

Why did the people confuse John with “the Christ” (the Messiah, Jesus) and Elijah?

Response: John was doing amazing things, things that caused people to think he was the Messiah (v. 20). There were also prophecies that Elijah would return prior to the return of the Lord (see Mal 4:5). John’s appearance even reminded some of Elijah (v. 21; see 2 Kgs 1:8).

How does this relate to joy during the Advent season?

Response: The beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry was announced by John the Baptist. It was not a secret. The second advent of Jesus, his triumphal return, will occur. As it gets close, there will be signs of his coming. We should rejoice in the expectation of seeing them.

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