I am presently preaching through the book of Acts, the last two weeks in chapters 18 and 19 we have had mention of those who had only received the baptism of John. Reflecting on that these last few days has caused me to plan a detour for this Sunday back to the Gospel of John explaining a little more about who John the Baptist (Witness) was and what his ministry was all about and what that should mean to us, especially during the Advent season.
First let us look at John 1:6-8 which I believe gives us both a summary of and the purpose of John’s ministry.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. (ESV)
Witnessing is such an essential part of who we are, it defined John’s ministry and I believe it should define ours as well.
While the witness of the individual is important, more important I believe is the witness of a group of local gathered believers called the Church. We are collectively the Body of Christ in the place where God has placed us (for our church that is the Drexel Gardens Community in Indianapolis, IN.)
I believe that sometimes we send a mixed message to the people around us, who while they have heard of Jesus, they really are not in a place to receive him or the message of the gospel, the condition of their hearts does not allow the message to sink in. We try to give people Jesus who have no clue what it is to receive him. We have people profess a faith in something that they know little or nothing about, not because we haven’t taught them with words, but because we haven’t prepared their hearts to receive him in his fullness.
God thought that the condition of the heart was so important that he sent John to prepare peoples hearts to believe in Jesus when he did come.
Just maybe we have got this all wrong or at least partially wrong, instead of just telling people about Jesus (which is important) maybe we should invest a little more time in getting to know them and the condition of their hearts.
John’s witness/ministry was about preparing people’s hearts, showing them the need for repentance so that when Jesus came that they would be able to hear and respond to him.
I think we leave this step out sometimes, it is difficult, if not impossible to help/minister to people that you don’t truly know and might I add that don’t know you.
We need to invest time in developing relationships with people, so that we can give them the help that they need, we need to show/witness to the fact that we care about them as people, I believe that it is through bearing witness in that way, that the light of Christ is allowed to enter into the darkness of their heart.
“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.”