Jn. 5:35 – He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
This was the amazing statement Jesus made about the great prophet, John the Baptist. Jesus was describing the spiritual nature of this mighty man of God. Jesus said John was like fire, burning and shining. John appeared as the forerunner of Jesus of Nazareth, a voice crying in the wilderness. The times were incredibly dark. There had been no prophetic word in Israel for four hundred years. The Roman Empire was controlling Israel. Darkness had settled in. That’s what made John so effective. He was a light shining in that dark world.
Exactly what did Jesus mean by this statement He made about John? What He was saying is this. Fire has two major qualities, heat and light. John was burning with the heat of love for God. His soul was literally burning with passion and it permeated his preaching. John was also a shining light. He was shining with a penetrating revelation of Christ. He saw Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. He recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament sin offerings. Even more amazing, He saw Christ in His future heavenly ministry. He said Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Jonathan Edwards said that ministers as well as Christians should be burning and shining. Here is a short quote.
“Ministers (and Christians), in order to their being burning and shining lights, should walk closely with God, and keep near to Christ; that they may ever be enlightened and enkindled by him. And they should be much in seeking God, and conversing with him by prayer, who is the fountain of light and love. And knowing their own emptiness and helplessness should be ever dependent on Christ; being sensible with Jeremiah that they are children, should sit as children at Christ’s feet to hear his word, and be instructed by him; and being sensible with Isaiah that they are men of unclean lips should seek that their lips may be as it were touched with a live coal from the altar, as it were by the bright and burning seraphim.”
We too live in a dark time. It seems as the love of many has grown cold and our revelation of Christ has become dim. In this dark season we need a generation of burning and shining lights to penetrate the darkness.