John 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
All of us know that we are all ultimately searching for something real. That’s the way we are all wired. It’s as if we are blind, groping our way through life looking for some light. The world is a dark place becoming darker by the day. That’s exactly how it was when John the Baptist appeared on the scene. Like Jesus said, John was a burning and shining light. His passion for God and spiritual revelation made him appear as a torch in the midst of a dark culture. The light shining out from him prepared the way for the coming of the Lord. This is what Paul meant when he said we appear to shine as lights in the world. Jonathan Edwards spoke about this verse when talking about the role of ministers in colonial America.
“True piety is nothing remaining only in the head, or consisting in any speculative knowledge or opinions, or outward morality or forms of religion; it reaches the heart, is chiefly seated there, and burns there. There is a holy ardor in everything that belongs to true grace. True faith is an ardent thing, and so is true repentance; there is a holy power and ardor in true spiritual comfort and joy; yea even in true Christian humility, submission and meekness. The reason is that divine love or charity is the sum of all true grace, which is a holy flame enkindled in the soul. ‘Tis by this therefore especially, that a minister of the gospel is a “burning light”; a minister that is so, has his soul enkindled with the heavenly flame; his heart burns with love to Christ, and fervent desires of the advancement of his kingdom and glory; and also with ardent love to the souls of men, and desires for their salvation.”
Actually, it was these very lights that brought the awakening that culminated in one nation under God. Could it be that as our nation faces a spiritual darkness that threatens our existence as America that the answer for our dilemma is the same? I believe it is. Our lives today must be lights in the midst of moral darkness.
What could it mean to burn and shine? Burning was Jesus’ description of John’s passion for the Lord. He was on fire for God, the anointing that came on him in his mother’s womb was like a flame of love burning for his God. This flame was contagious and erupted into an awakening characterized by a passion for God. John also shone with revelation light. He saw Christ like no one else ever had and his preaching was like a burning fire of revelation. This is exactly where we are today. We are in need of a generation of Christians and ministers lit up, burning and shining for the Lord.