"...a man sent from God...John...witness of the Light...believe."
John the baptist. Strange man. From Matthew 3:1-17, Mark 1:1-11, and Luke 3, we obtain the general description of a man who lived quite unlike the others in his generation. He lived in the wilderness, wore camel's hair with a leather belt, and ate locusts and wild honey. His main message was "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins". This is significant. Consider John the baptist, since he was sent from God as a witness of the Light. How was he a witness? Why was he chosen? Is there even a reason he was chosen or did he grow into that role?
Consider the saying from Isaiah 40:3-5. This is the passage whose context is to speak comfort and deliverance to the people of Israel. There is also the very telling statement "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed". And John is the voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Prepare the way...make straight in the desert". Get ready! How many were unaware? How many did not comprehend the light? But more on this in later passages.
The key points in these verses seem to be about the testimony to some facts or revelations about the Light. The Light gives light to every man, the Light was not known by the world, the Light was not received by His own, those who received the Light by believing in His name, are given the right to become children of God. This is an expansion of the earlier verses. From the original idea that the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness not comprehending, John the author develops the idea of how the Light shines in the darkness.
The Light was in the world. Now, the Maker of the world is in it. Yet He was not recognized, He was not known. This is the tragedy. What has gone wrong that the world does not know its Maker? As a child does not know his or her parents. But John does not stop here, for although the world, His own, did not know Him or receive Him, those who did receive Him received something in return. And here, there is the idea of spiritual birthhood into being a child of God.
Now when we talk of spiritual birth, we refer to something fundamental, something to do with souls. For we are not talking about physical bodily birthing, but divine birthing. We are born of God. For all physical births are reflections of what is happening spiritually. A new soul is born. A new being. A new life. However, that life apart from The Life, and The Light, is sadly, because of our ignorance of Him, our lack of knowledge of Him, our non-reception of Him, that life is still just as good as death. For consider its eternal futility apart from The Light.
Yet, the good news is that if that life were to receive Him, then, there is a spiritual birth as well. One by God's own will. Consider the fundamental, qualitative difference that is now in place between these two lives. Is it a continuum? As in are there "better" lives and "worse" ones? Are not all equal? Good or bad? All die. The only distinction then must be what is eternal. Do you know the Eternal One? And, just as importantly, does the Eternal One know you?