We began the series Beautiful Feet yesterday, a five-week journey in John’s gospel. To start, we looked at the mission and witness of John the Baptist in John 1:6-9. As we engage the mission of Jesus, we can learn a lot from John’s example.
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. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
Toward the close of the message, I summarized 6 characteristics we saw in the text. Here they are:
1) Embrace the divine initiative.
2) Be a witness, not a Savior.
3) Trust God’s sovereignty: Don’t presume and don’t discriminate.
4) Remember and re-visit your first-hand experience.
5) Become less: serve others with grace, love, and truth.
6) Lift up Jesus, point to Jesus, and represent Jesus well.
Embracing the divine initiative of the mission requires us to remember that God has authored and designed the mission of Jesus. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was…” Embracing God’s initiative in his mission means beginning and ending with prayer, realizing it is God’s purposes and plans that we are called to carry out.
A passion to see people come to know Jesus can at times push us toward the line where we forget our role. We are to be witnesses, not saviors. John came “as a witness to the light,” but “he was not the light.” We can’t save anyone. Our job is to engage the mission, God’s job is to save.
This requires trusting in God’s sovereignty. John the Baptist came to bear witness about the light of Jesus, “that all might believe through him.” He didn’t presume and he didn’t discriminate, he just pointed to Jesus continually.
The fourth thing I think we see clearly in John’s example is the necessity of remembering and re-visiting your first hand experience with Jesus. To bear witness about the light we have to remember what it was like when the light of the gospel first broke through the darkness of our lives. We stay in that mode through studying the word, prayer, and community.
The final two points are really linked, and they come from an overall picture of John’s life. His mantra was “I must become less, he must become more.” He served others with grace, love, and truth because he continually pointed to Jesus, lifted up Jesus, and represented Jesus well.