In our study of John’s Gospel, we’ve now made it past the Prologue! Although today’s reading still has a strong connection with it, essentially illustrating in narrative what was said in this part of the Prologue:
John 1:6-8 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
This first story is all about this witness to the light – John the Baptist – and emphasises the fact that he himself was not the light. In fact, it bangs on at considerable length about what John was not. He wasn’t Elijah. He wasn’t the Messiah. And he wasn’t even just a very naughty boy. Let’s take a look at the story, then think about why this is such an important point.