Summary: John the Baptist's purpose was to point people to Jesus.
John 1:6-9, 15-28
1) John’s purpose was to testify. John 1:6-9. John was a ‘witness to testify’. John’s purpose was to point people to Jesus. For the purpose that people would believe in the one, true light and so be saved. That should be our purpose to. Is our purpose to point people to Jesus? Do we shine the light of the one, true light? Jesus said of John: John 5:35, “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.” John wasn’t the light but he was a light. It’s been said that John was enlightened but Jesus was enlightening. John was exuding the light of Christ, the one true light. When John was born his father, Zechariah, gave this Spirit filled prophecy about him in Luke 1:76-80. John the Baptist was the prophet who would be the voice calling in the desert, preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah. He had spent his years growing in the spirit until it was time for him to come into the spotlight. God was preparing him to prepare the way; preparing him to testify to what God had revealed to him concerning Jesus. God is trying to do the same with us. Are we focused on growing and becoming strong in the spirit? Are we allowing God to prepare us to go out and prepare the way for others to come to Jesus? Are we a light pointing people to the light? To ‘testify’ means to ‘give evidence’. Is what I say and how I act giving others evidence that Jesus is alive in me? Other synonyms for ‘testify’ are ‘show’ and ‘demonstrate’. Am I showing people Jesus? Do I demonstrate his love, joy and peace? Is my life a testimony of Jesus’ life changing power? Is this my purpose?
2) John’s purpose was humility. John 1:15-28. John was humble. He had a following, he had disciples. But he kept things in perspective, as I’m sure there was temptation to let all of this attention to go to his head. He was asked if he was the Christ. What greater compliment could a Jew receive? Here they were focused on finding out who he was and John’s focus was to get the attention off of him and onto Jesus. “No, I am only a witness to the Messiah. He is coming, and if you think I’m something special I am nothing compared to him. I’m not even worthy to untie his sandals.” Albert Barnes’ commentary for verse 27: “The latchet of sandals was the string or thong by which they were fastened to the feet. To unloose them was the office of a servant, and John means, therefore, that he was unworthy to perform the lowest office for the Messiah. This was remarkable humility. John was well known; he was highly honored; thousands came to hear him. Jesus was at that time unknown; but John says that he was unworthy to perform the humblest office for Jesus. So we all should be willing to lay all that we have at the feet of Christ, and feel that we are unworthy to be his lowest servants.” John’s answer to the question posed to him, “If you’re not the Christ then why are you baptizing people?” seems to be a weird one. However, the commentary, The Fourfold Gospel, explains it this way: “Taken as a whole, the answer of John appears indirect and insufficient. What was there in all this to authorize him to baptize? This appears to be his meaning: "You demand my authority for baptism. It rests in him for whom I prepare the way. It is a small matter to introduce baptism in water for one so worthy. If you accept him, my baptism will need no explanation; and if you reject him, my rite and its authority are both wholly immaterial." Again we see John trying to get the attention off of him and onto the one who deserved it. This wasn’t to deflect and get the heat off him; John’s focus was in bringing Jesus to the forefront. John 3:22-30. Jesus was baptizing people and everyone was going to him. John’s disciples were concerned about that so they went to John. John needed to remind them of what he had previously said. It was a great teaching moment. “I’m not jealous; I’m joyous! I am willing to decrease so that Jesus can increase.” What about us? As we live out our salvation is our purpose to have Christ increase in us and through us? Do we have the goal that as each day moves forward that there will be more of Christ and less of us? Do we regard our desires on the lowest level and Christ’s on the highest? Do we want God to have the glory over our accomplishments or do we want praise? Do we thank God for giving us the ability or do we take the credit? Can we accept Jesus being the focus or do we want our 15 minutes of fame? If we are humble like John the Baptist we won’t be jealous; we’ll be joyous.