John the Baptist’s testimony

Published December 12, 2020, 11:25 PM

by Manila Bulletin


JOHN 1:6-8, 19-28

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 Witnessing to the light

To be a witness to something important that has happened is a great privilege. That is what I felt as a witness to what happened at EDSA in 1986. I did not see everything, of course; I only saw what happened where I was.

But to be a witness is also a great responsibility. Because we may be called upon to stand for the truth and against those who purport to have the truth also. To be a witness not just means “to have seen” but, perhaps most importantly, to have lived out or stood for the truth of what one has seen or personally experienced.

John the Baptist’s role, as is clarified in the Gospel, is that of martys (Greek for “witness”) rather than phos (Greek for “light”). Only Jesus is the light. John is to bear witness or give testimony to the light. And what a witness he gives to Jesus and for the truth that it costs him his very life.

How do we see our role in this world? What are we witnesses to?

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: