You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his lightJohn 5:33-35
Jesus says something that sounds a little strange to us:
Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. By this he means that though he does not need testimony from John for himself, it may be a saving help to those who heard John. It is a strange phenomenon, frequently seen, that men and women who pay no attention to the voice of God directly will often listen very interestedly to someone who tells what his experience with God has been.
I gathered with about 650 other people to hear a former Senator tell how God had drastically changed his life. When he was a hopeless alcoholic, wallowing in his own vomit, so despairing he was ready to take his own life, God met him and delivered him through much struggle and pain, and led him to a place of prominence and power. I sat on the platform watching people hanging on his every word, listening to a man describe what God could do.
The Bible, of course, is the Word of God. It is the most widely distributed book ever — the perennial best seller — having been translated into more languages than any other book. Thus it has always struck me as strange how few people ever open the Bible to see what God has said. But they will listen instead to what some man says about what God has said! That phenomenon is what Jesus is talking about here:
For your sake John has been sent. For your sake I call attention to the witness of John, in order that you might be saved. This is a marvelous insight into the compassionate heart of Jesus. He is willing to use any approach as long as people will listen to what God is saying.
Jesus goes on to say a very beautiful thing about John:
He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. John was a lamp. He was not a light, he was a lamp. A lamp bears the light, but it is not the light itself. If a lamp is not burning, it is not shining either. The lamp is there but there is no light. Many people are like that. They are lamps, they have the capacity to be lights, but they are not shining. John was the kind of lamp who shone brightly. He was a witness who told people where they could see, hear and know the light.
Would you like to be a shining lamp? Let me tell you how to do it. Burn! Let the truth of God fuel your heart until it begins to burn. When you understand the amazing revelation of how God operates in this world your heart will begin to burn, and then you will start to shine. When we sing the words to the familiar hymn that we are going to let our little light shine, this is how to do it: Burn!
Lord, I want my light to shine as John's did, pointing people around me to you.
When the Light of the World who is Jesus Christ lives in us, we are called to be His lightbearers. When our hearts are aflame with His Light and Love, we cannot help but burn as His witnesses.