John 5:35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
This is one of those scriptures that I used to just skim over until I read a sermon by Jonathan Edwards called THE TRUE EXCELLENCY OF A GOSPEL MINISTER. In that message he explained what Jesus was talking about when he described the prophet John to his followers. Edwards used John the Baptist to explain what Jesus was saying. Edwards said that John was filled with a light of revelation. John prophesied about the One coming after him who would be more than a prophet but was the Lamb of God. Edwards went on to say that John was also a burning light, burning with a contagious love for the Lord. Those two qualities, burning and shining, tell us plenty about the ministry of John. These qualities should not only describe preachers, but every Christian. This changes what being ‘on fire’ is all about. On fire Christians are shining with revelation and burning with passion for God. Here are some thoughts from Edwards on the burning and shining of John.
“John was a burning and a shining light. He was a light to the church of Israel, to reveal the mind and will of God to them, after a long continued dark season, and after they had been destitute of any prophet to instruct ’em, for some ages. He arose on Israel, as the morning star, the forerunner of the Sun of Righteousness, to introduce the “dayspring,” or dawning of the gospel day, “to give light to them” that till then had “sat in the darkness” of perfect night, which was “the shadow of death; to give them the knowledge of salvation”; And he was a “burning light,” as he was full of a spirit of fervent piety and holiness, “being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb”, having his heart warmed and enflamed with a great love to Christ, being that “friend of the bridegroom, that stood and heard him, and rejoiced greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.”
In our spiritually dark age we need an army of bright and shining lights. We need more than positive words, slick presentations, and well organized programs; we need what John had. This generation needs a shining revelation of Christ and His plan of redemption. It also needs to see hearts inflamed, burning as Jesus said, with a love for God. Let this burning and shining start with you.