Jesus is the Light
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light,
so that through him all might believe.
He himself was not the light;
he came only as a witness to the light
My opponents accuse me of teaching that God alone should be respected and revered. They claim that I treat the saints as though they had never done anything good or useful in their lives. They ask, "Wouldn't you at least say that John the Baptist was worth something?"
I haven't snubbed John. I honor and respect him. However, John is a servant of the Lord and is not the Lord himself. John points to the true Light and leads people to it, but he is not the Light. He certainly had a more important role than the prophets did. John didn't prophesy as others did, that the Lord would come one of these days. Instead, he points with his finger at the Lord who was standing right there and said, "Look, there he is!" That's why I greatly respect John. I am thankful that God gave us such a faithful prophet, whose mouth spoke about the true Light and whose finger pointed out the Lamb of God. Yet I won't depend on John to save me. I can't rely on his holiness, ascetic life, and good works. John admitted that he wasn't the Messiah when he said, "I am not the Christ" (John 3:28). But regarding Christ, he said, "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).
Christ said that John was the greatest of all people ever born (Matthew 11:11) and that he was far more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9). Yet John was not the Light. So if John's holiness, ascetic life, strange clothes and food, and refusal to drink wine can't help me obtain eternal life and salvation, then any saint who is less significant than John will be able to do even less for me.