There is a difference between John the Baptist and Jesus. The former is a witness to the latter. He is said to be in John 1:6 “sent from God” and in John 1:7 “a witness, to bear witness.” It is emphatic according to John’s gospel that John “was not the light.” Even so, though John the Baptist was not the light, he was a very essential part of bringing the good news to the world so that “all might believe” (John 1:7).
Even though disciples are not Jesus, they play an important role in the form of testimony. The reason we believe the Bible is due to the testimony of the apostles and prophets throughout time. These were holy men carried along by the Holy Spirit whose words originated with God. Their testimony was that Jesus was the second person of the Trinity and the only way to be saved. All who are Christians believe this.
Furthermore, because there is such a difference between Jesus and witnesses to him, we may consider that there is a difference in our ministry and his. We are more like the moon, and he is like the sun. The light originates from the sun and is reflected off the moon; and in the same way we are to reflectively witness the light that is shining.
Jesus is alive and bright as ever, and his witnesses are not responsible for keeping him alive or making him shine, but only doing all they can to daily look into his face in the Scriptures and bear witness to God’s infinite, eternal, unchanging being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
So, in this sense, the Christian is not called to “be the light” but to be witnesses to the light; and there is a big difference. The moral light that we are to reflect in our actions and words and attitudes is not something that we muster up or make up, but that we bring down from being with Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was later called a temporary lamp shining for a little while. People enjoyed the light that was coming from him (John 5:35). John was not the sun, he was more of “a torch, lighted by God for giving light before the day came” (Godet). One has compared John to “a torch-bearer who ordinarily preceded the bridegroom in the marriage feasts” (Ibid.). The torch lit the path to the wedding.
So, we might take from this that followers of Jesus Christ are put in the position to be leaders to the world to be lighting up the path to the marriage supper of the lamb by their good works (including good words) that flow from communion with the triune God.