Back in the 1980’s, I attended a performance of “Saturday Night Live.” The show was broadcast live from the studio and, like most shows that have a live studio audience, the show had an announcer. His name was Don Pardo, and his job was not only to announce the opening and closing of the show and to introduce the celebrity guests but also to warm up the audience before the taping of the show began. When the show did begin, because of the efforts of Don Pardo, the audience was already applauding and cheering. Pardo was not the main event but was there to get the audience ready for the main event, the show itself.
John the Baptist was a man sent by God to bear witness to the light that was coming to the world, Jesus Christ (John 1:6-7). Just as Don Pardo was not the main event on Saturday Night Live, John the Baptist also was not the main event (John 1:8) in God’s redemption story. John was the voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” By calling God’s people to repentance, John was preparing them for the coming of the main event, the promised Messiah, Jesus (John 1:23). Because of sin, God’s people were living in darkness. They needed someone to tell them what is light, to prepare them so that they would not only be able to recognize the Light but also to trust and believe in Him.
Like the announcer at the taping of a live television show, John the Baptist was there to “warm up” the people, so that they would be ready to accept and believe in the One whom God sent to bring light to their lives and lead them out of the darkness of sin. That responsibility now falls to each and every one of us who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. We have seen the light and believed in Him which, because of God’s grace and love, gives us the right to become children of God (John 1:12). As believers and children of God, we have been commissioned to prepare others to accept Jesus, bearing witness to Him by spreading the Gospel to those around us and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).