I heard this in a sermon once by Brian Zahnd, so I am sharing with you today. I am going to do a little play on words here. Don’t get mad but I’m playing with the bible to make a point about the bible. Besides, I think this actually works. I think the analogy being made is true. I am replacing all the references in this passage to John the Baptist and replacing “John” with “The Bible.” Just as John pointed the people of Israel to Jesus, so the Bible points us to Jesus. Some from the time of John confused John with Jesus. Some from our time confuse the Bible with Jesus.
There was a [book] sent from God, whose name was [the Bible]. We believe the Bible is divine inspiration from God, correct? Therefore, it is a book sent from God, and it’s name is the Bible!!
[The Bible] came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through [it]. Just as John the Baptist came to bear witness that the light had come into the world, so does God’s Holy Bible. It is our witness that the light of Jesus Christ has come and will come again!
[The Bible] was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. Jesus Christ is the light. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We don’t get to the Father through the Bible. We didn’t get to Him through John the Baptist. We come to the Father through Jesus. The Bible is not the way, but bears witness to us about the way. In the earliest days of the church, the believers were known as followers of “The Way.” Because Jesus is “The Way.” I know this from my witness to these things, the bible. It is not “The Way,” but it points me to the way.
([The Bible] bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) Just one last example here. But you say the Old Testament came before Jesus? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. Jesus was in the beginning with God. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26 ESV. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, let US make man in OUR image. Many of our churches include “word” in their name. “Word of life,” “the Divine Word.” Do these churches worship the bible or Jesus. Jesus of course. Jesus is “the word,” He is “The Way.” We are not “biblicists,” we are Christians. It’s not “biblianity,” it’s Christianity. But we still get caught up like Peter (the church) on Mt. Tabor at the Transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, appear with Jesus before Peter, James and John. Peter gets the bright idea that he’s going to build three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses, one for Elijah. But God said NO – “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.” Mark 9:7-8 ESV. God says this is my son, listen to Him. But somehow today, we still try to make the Law and the Prophets equal with Jesus. After all, it’s in The Bible, right? We can justify a lot of evil in the world using the Bible in the wrong way. You can find passages justifying slavery. You can justify killing homosexuals. You can stone adulterers and Sabbath breakers to death. You can call down the fire of God on those who aren’t being hospitable enough to you. The Catholic Church waged wars preaching the Bible. One pope did the math – the prophet Mohammed was born in the year 571 + 666 years = 1237. Good year for a Crusade, right??!! We can use the bible to justify all kinds of evil, but we can’t use Jesus. Just as I have a sponsor leading me in my recovery, I have a sponsor (Jesus) leading me through the Bible. I see all things through the lens of how it points me to Him. Old Testament law and prophets – how does this point me to Jesus. Revelation – how does this point me to Jesus? We know we are not under the law – so why do we try to hold others accountable to the law that we can’t fulfill? We know Jesus came offering salvation, Grace, and mercy. Why are we waiting for Him to return with hellfire, brimstone, and damnation?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 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. There was a [book] sent from God, whose name was [the Bible]. [The Bible] came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through [it]. [The Bible] was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ([The Bible] bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
John 1:1-18 ESV