An Effective Witness

John 1:19-23 “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Careful consideration of John the Baptist’s life reveals that he was an effective witness! It is an occupation that all believers are to pursue, “ye shall be witnesses.” When the delegation from Jerusalem arrived they had two major questions; who are you, “Who art thou?” (vs.19) and what are you, “What then?” (vs.21). Being able to answer those questions is directly proportional to your effectiveness as a Christian!

John’s response reveals what he knew who he was and what he was. He declared that he was a selected witness, “I am the voice of one.” While he readily admitted that he was not the Christ, he had been selected to witness of Him and for Him as he magnified His preeminence (See vs.26-27). He declared that he was a solemn witness, “I am . . . crying in the wilderness.” John’s solemn responsibility is revealed by the place, “the wilderness” and the practice, “crying.” In that barren wasteland of human depravity and darkness, John shouted out at the top of his voice; “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (vs. 29). He declared that he was a scriptural witness, “crying . . . as said the prophet Esaias.” There was continuity between the witness of John and the Word of God! This continuity of the Word manifested itself in two specific areas; John’s life and John’s lips! John’s witness was effective because his steps were consistent with the Word and his speech was consistent with the Word.

A delegation from the Pharisees approached John and said, “What sayest thou of thyself? (vs.22); who are you and what are you? The manner in which John answered that question reveals the effectiveness of his witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. The world is still asking that question of all that call themselves a Christian; what would you say?