"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe" (John 1:6-7).
John the Baptist was, according to Christ Himself, the greatest man who had ever lived up to that time (Matthew 11:11). As great as he was, however, there is a striking contrast between himself and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said that John "was a burning and a shining light" (John 5:35), but he was not "the true Light" (1:9). The two Greek words used depict something like a candle in John's case, and a brilliant light such as the sun for Christ.
Similarly, John was a great "voice of one crying in the wilderness" (v.23), but Jesus Christ was "the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (v.1). John "came for a witness" (v.7), bearing witness to the light and to the truth, but Jesus Christ was Himself incarnate truth (14:6). Some even thought John was the Messiah, but he said, "I am not" (1:20).
John's coming was prophesied four hundred years before: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me" (Malachi 3:1). John was the divinely sent messenger, but Christ was the One whose way he came to prepare. John was "a man sent from God" (John 1:6), but when Christ came, John "saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God" (John 1:34).
Both were called to baptize, but there was a great difference. John said, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire" (Luke 3:16).
John was a mighty man of God, but when Christ finally came, John could only say, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). HMM