John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. John 1:8
John the Baptist never confused who he was with who Jesus was. He told the Pharisees, “I am not the Christ.” When others perceived the spiritual power behind His ministry, they wondered if he might be Elijah. He was clear, even then, that he was not.
It is important to know who we are and who we are not; to know what we can do and what we could never do. Our egos are fragile, ever looking for what will strengthen them, what will offer a kind of significance that feels permanently empowering. Hearing someone say, “No one can do for me what you do,” can be pretty intoxicating. It feels so good that we can’t wait to help them again so we can receive the next compliment.
What we must understand is that each of us are idol makers. We set out to find God but it’s easy to abandon the search when someone nearby walks in the power of the Spirit and bears great Godlikeness. The taste of God’s love and compassion is so profound that we are willing to experience God second-hand. That person gives just enough of what we need that we can’t imagine we’ll want more than they can provide.
It’s ironic ~ we’ll never tell someone else that we think they are God – nor do we expect to hear them say that we are God to them and the object of their worship. Yet, that is how the relationship functions.
John was called by God to bear witness to the Light of the world. He was influenced by the Light, changed by the Light, and even radiated the Light. As strong as His resemblance was at times to Jesus, He knew His place. He was to prepare others to meet Christ, the One who was to come. He would not allow others to make him the center of their worship. His own Spirit recognized Jesus when they were both in their mother’s wombs. He leapt at the presence of God, even in babe form. His awe of God-incarnate never diminished.
You are my Savior and the Savior of all who need me today. Amen