“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” (John 1: 6-8 ESV)
To look to yourself or to others for your affirmation or provision is to look in the wrong direction and will ultimately lead to stress! (Isaiah 2:22 ESV)
When John the Baptist was proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, some people began to look to John for their salvation. In that moment, He could have taken the attention and responsibility for himself. Imagine the initial feeling of importance and affirmation that John would have felt. Every Jew since the time of the prophets had been awaiting the moment when the Messiah, their savior, would lead them out of bondage and into freedom. For John to have been identified as THAT person would have been exhilarating, I’m sure. However, no matter how hard John the Baptist could have tried to please his followers, he would never have been able to live up to their expectations. So, instead of standing in the limelight, he proclaimed the coming of the true light, Jesus.
One of God’s first acts of creation was light. Then, He separated the light from the darkness and said that the light was good. (Gen. 1: 3-4 ESV))
Throughout scripture, we are reminded of and directed toward His light. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5 ESV); “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 4 ESV)
Before Jesus left His disciples to face the crucifixion, He said to them, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 ESV). The word light has a few different meanings. It is the contrast of darkness and helps to bring clarity to sight. Light also refers to an absence of weight.
No matter which definition you choose, we should be encouraged by Jesus’s proclamation of being THE LIGHT. He came to earth to offer an alternative and a contrast to the darkness of sin. His truth is what causes us to see more clearly the purpose that God has for our lives, and perhaps most relevant to our daily peace, Jesus came to relieve the weight of our burdens! (John 14:6 ESV)
So, if Jesus offers us the freedom from stress, why do we continue to stay in the darkness of our own abilities, carrying the burden of other’s and our own expectations?
Today, if you find yourself having a “dark day” or are feeling weighed down by stress, then take a page from the playbook of John the Baptist or the baby from the 1990s sitcom, The Dinosaurs, and remind yourself that you are, “Not the Savior!” Jesus came to be the light in your darkness and to lighten your load. All you have to do is to stop dwelling in the darkness of stress and step out into His glorious light.