February 17, 2019 • Life for Leaders
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
Yesterday, we reflected on how John got his nickname, the Baptizer. Today, we will see another name for John—a witness.
John the Baptizer’s ministry is clearly given as a “witness” to the light so that “all might believe” in the Logos, the Word, who is Jesus Christ (1:7). Now, the word “witness” is an important word in John’s gospel, showing up 14 times compared to only three in the Synoptics. The verb “to witness” shows up 33 times in John’s gospel versus only twice in the Synoptics. Keep in mind that even in Paul’s day there were disciples of John the Baptizer as far away as Ephesus (Acts 19:3). Some scholars even say the goal of John’s gospel in this opening prologue is to correct an overemphasis in the early church on John the Baptizer, which took away the focus on Jesus as Messiah. John being described as a witness informs modern Christians how we should we be identified as well.
I met the singer and songwriter Phil Wickham in the early 2000’s. Back then, he was just a teenager leading worship for his youth group. I heard about him and brought him to lead music for my youth group, while I gave a message on Jesus being primary in our lives. Even back then, I sensed this young artist was destined to be used for great things, and today I see the fruit of his faithfulness as his songs have been sung by thousands—perhaps millions—around the world.
I was reminded of these early years of Phil Wickham’s ministry when I read these lyrics to a song he wrote years after our time ministering together:
If you are the sun then I wanna be the moon
I want to reflect the light that shines from you…
I wanna be more like you
If you are the sun, I want to be the moon
These lyrics resonate with John’s identity as a witness. A young Phil Wickham took this biblical call of being a witness to heart as he used—and still uses—his gifts to reflect God’s light through song. You and I are not the light—Jesus is! Your job and mine is to just reflect his light, whether you are a singer, architect, pastor, entrepreneur, carpenter, educator, retiree, or student.
Something to Think About:
One of Phil Wickham’s primary gifts in reflecting the light of Jesus is music. How do you see your primary gift or gifts being used to reflect God’s light in your daily work?
Does being a witness to those around you involve you regularly using talk (affirming words), touch (physical touch in an appropriate way), tasks (acts of service), time (quality time) or things (gift-giving)? (Learn more about these love languages here.)
Something to Do:
Listen to this recording of Phil Wickham’s “Sun and Moon.” Spend some time in prayer asking God to prompt how you can be a witness today.
My prayer today is to simply recommit to being a reflection of your light. Good God, show me how to shine your light today, being a witness in word and deed, in listening and studying, in doing justice and showing mercy. Thank you for calling me to be a witness and ambassador right where we I am. Amen.