He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
If you see the Light, you are never confused about being the Light yourself. “That is not this,” is one of the first things an illumined person can say. “That is not me.” is the very first!
This ability to distinguish the true from the false is a good start, even with simple ideas, concepts, or things.
Imagine never seeing an actual home computer or a device like a smartphone. I can, because I lived before they existed (like a goodly number of parents and grandparents). We imagined what they would be like, what they would do in the early generations. Many of our dreams turned out to be silly, a few ahead of the technology, and others just right.
The Vic-20 was our first home computer (thanks Mom and Dad!) and the real thing was better than our dreams. Why? Star Trek computers could do more, but they were not real. The Vic-20 could not do much (compared to our dreams), but it actually did something.
Universal rule: existing is better than not existing.
The moment we began to use a real computer, the fantasy computers were less interesting to us. We still dreamed of something better, more RAM, better sound, but we knew what the home computer was. Somebody had built the thing! In a similar way, people dreamed of the Messiah: the chosen one who would come and bring peace between God and men. We speculated. We got the wrong person more than once. Finally, a man came who was illuminated, who went to the desert and saw the Light. He was so intense, so full of goodness, that many thought he was the One. He denied this, because he knew the Light. If you have light, knowing where and how you were illuminated, then you are not confused. You might bring some light, but are not the source. John got it.
John was born the greatest humanity had produced, a title he held for a few months until the first Christmas.
When this man, John the Baptist, saw his cousin Jesus: light knew Light. He bore witness to the Light and helped the rest of us. We might think John the Baptist was the Messiah, but this was impossible to maintain when John the Baptist himself said that he was not. He told us who was: Jesus of Nazareth.Unless you knew (or know!) someone greater than John, then the quest is over. If John is not the one, if every other candidate is worse than John, while John is pointing to someone new, then we better give the new guy a hearing.
John, the best we had other than Jesus, pointed to Jesus, the best human ever. This is a job to which we can aspire. This much I know from experience: once I saw Jesus, the Light, going back was hard and also a plunge into deception. Jesus is real, making all my fantastic visions before Jesus look foolish to me.
May this John (Mark, Reynolds) point to Jesus: the True Light.
Christ is Born!
A Christmas series on John 1: 1-14 (Links will not be active until the piece is published. All active by January 5, 2019).