He [John the Baptist] was a burning and shining light: and ye were willing
for a season to rejoice in his light (John 5:35)
The distinguishing seal between genuine and superficial professions of faith is the possession of the light of the glorious gospel of Christ or the treasure of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). Blind facts birth no desire of love to Christ. It is only in His Light that we behold light (Psalm 36:9). Treasure seen and possessed gives joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Yet there remains a roaring lion that is subtle in the stalking of its prey. A blind religionist can be knowledgeable of the necessity of God’s truth in our homes and pulpits. He can acknowledge that the message and the messenger is owned by Christ. This man possesses a rejoicing in the proclamation of another man’s light. He sits and listens in the light of the messenger’s knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This man interprets his empty rejoicing as assurance of salvation. He delights for a season in the light; yet, alas – he possesses no light.
Such was the case with John the Baptist, a witness to the truth. John bore testimony to Jesus Christ (John 1:7, 8, 15, 20, 27, 29-30, 34, 36). For a season, the Pharisees, Gentiles, and Herod were willing to permit, to listen, question, and observe John’s burning and a shining light, the voice of one crying in the wilderness (John 1:23). However, when John’s proclamation of Light contradicted and exposed the religionist’s darkness, their rejoicing turned to hatred. It is at this point that the false rejoicing of sitting in a Bible-believing church turns to – “I just don’t feel comfortable here anymore” or worst, an attack under the guise of a “respectable spirituality” against the church or its leadership.
All of us need to be diligent that we are not merely delighting in the sphere of another man's light but in truth, possessing the treasure of the light of His glory. May His glorious Word find place in you (John 8:37) and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).