__*“Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s.” (John 5:34-36)*_
When the Jews confronted Jesus, Jesus reminded them of how they sent messengers to John the Baptist and how John the Baptist testified to the truth that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.
Jesus then went further to describe John the Baptist as a burning and shining lamp. As a lamp, John the Baptist brought many of these Jews from the darkness of ignorance to the light of faith so much so that many of them went to him for baptism and some even saw him as the Messiah to come.
Jesus’ description of John the Baptist as a burning and shining lamp is a pointer to what he said on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house…
…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” We all are called to be like John the Baptist this advent. Our lives should become lights pointing the whole world toward the child Jesus.
However, in as much as Jesus reminded them of the testimony of John the Baptist as proof of his authenticity, he laid particular emphasis on his miracles. “But I have a testimony greater than John’s – the works that the Father has given me to complete. The very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”
In essence, Jesus was saying, “Do not base your faith only on the words spoken by John the Baptist, let the works I have done inspire you to believe.” Words are easy to use but works are not so easy.
Talk is cheap but how easy is it for me to carry out good works? In the final analysis, it is my works and not my words that matter. No wonder Jesus would say in Matthew 7:16-19, “You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Do my works (that is, my fruits) contradict the words others use in describing me? What kind of testimony do my actions proclaim?
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, may my works exult your name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu