September 23, 2020 – Wednesday
John 1:6-8 NIV
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
Today we move into the book of John which has 85 verses with believe or belief (NIV) which is more than twice the number in Matthew, Mark, and Luke combined. Only two chapters (15 and 18) in John do not have at least one believe or belief.
In our Verses of the Day above we have three references to the light, all referring to Jesus. In sixteen verses the word light is used in John 25 times with 21 of them referring directly to Jesus. This is entirely appropriate as John focused primarily on who Jesus is while Matthew, Mark, and Luke had more of a focus on what He taught and did.
Looking at verse six, it is clear the man sent from God whose name was John, John the Baptist. While he is called John the Baptist, John was an evangelist and a prophet, the first in over 400 years. Matthew Poole points out in this verse we are told he was sent from God and he was not the Christ, not an angel, but a man; yet one, than whom (as our Saviour saith) there had not risen a greater amongst those that were born of women. He did not come of his own head, but was sent; for it was he of whom it was written in Malachi 3:1, Behold, I will send my messenger before thy face, he was not sent of men, but from God, foretold by the angel, as to his existence, name, work, and success, Luke 1:13-17.
The very next verse tells us of John’s purpose, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. Compare this to the last two verses of John 20 (next to last chapter) where he writes, Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. John the Baptist and John the Apostle had the same goal in mind, that we might believe.
John came so that … all might believe, not have faith. I mention this because faith is assumed, but belief is a further step. Faith, Greek pistis, is the root word for believe, Greek pisteuo. Strong’s definition for faith is moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. So how do we go from faith to belief or believing? The last part of Strong’s definition of believe is commit (to trust), put in trust with. So, in my own words, belief is taking your faith and using it to commit yourself or to put your trust in something or someone. Both John the Baptist and John the Apostle were doing their best to testify or tell us of Jesus so that we might believe in Him as the Messiah, the Son of God. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. I submit to you that we cannot do that unless we believe!
In the last verse for today we read of John the Baptist, He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. Part of John’s witness and testimony concerning the Messiah, Jesus we find in verse 15, John testified concerning Him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’’ John’s testimony and witness was so powerful, according to Ellicott’s Commentary, Now first for 400 years a great teacher had appeared in Israel. The events of his birth and life had excited the attention of the masses; his bold message, like the cry of another Elias, found its way in burning words to the slumbering hearts of men; and even from the least likely classes, from Pharisee and Sadducee, from publican and soldier, there came the heart’s question, “What shall we do?” The extent of the religious revival does not impress us, because it passed into the greater which followed, but the statement of a publican living at the time is that “Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan, went out to Him, and were baptized of Him in Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:5-6).
Today we are graced with much more evidence and testimony, the books of the New Testament along with many volumes such as ‘The Case for Christ’ but still the question remains, ‘Will we beileive?’