"You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light." (John 5:33-35)

Jesus is referring to the teachings of John, his spiritual teacher.

That surprises you? Indeed, many ecclesiastical sectarian theologians have been mystified by the reason Jesus approached John, and the reason Jesus became baptized by John.

The answer lies in baptism. What was the intended meaning of baptism before the ecclesiastical organizations of the Christian churches perverted it to mean some sort of "sect-joining" ritual as it is today?
During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:2-3).
What does "a baptism of repentance" mean? The word "repentance" is translated from the Greek word μετάνοια. According to the Greek lexicon, μετάνοια means: "a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done."

In other words, the Greek source of the word "repentance" means to have a change of heart: A change of purpose and a change of mind. This means a change in ones life, basically.

What kind of change are we talking about here? Luke 3:2-3 states clearly that God empowered John (the word of God came to John) to teach others. In other words, John became one of God's representatives.

And what was John teaching?  "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

The words "for the forgiveness of sins" comes from two Greek words: ἄφεσις and ἁμαρτία. According to the Greek lexicon:

ἄφεσις means to "release from bondage or imprisonment."

ἁμαρτία means to "to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong"

So if we pull this together, John was preaching "a baptism" that changed people's hearts, released them from bondage, and corrected their path.

In other words, we are talking purification. John was teaching God's word, which was able to purify people and free them from the clutches of selfishness, anxiety, greed and fear. John's teachings were able to change people's hearts. John's teachings were able to make people change their hearts and change their path.

Now the word "baptism" has been translated from the Greek word βάπτισμα. According to the Greek lexicon, βάπτισμα means "immersion, submersion". 

So if we combine the Greek phrase used; βάπτισμα μετάνοια εἰς ἄφεσις ἁμαρτία; we can understand that John was immersing those he taught into the word of God, which changed peoples hearts; released them from the bondage of their selfishness, anxiety, greed and fear; and put them on a path of love for God.

How can we take this leap that John taught love for God? We know this because this is the central message in God's word. Remember Moses? Moses was also empowered by God and given "God's word." And what was Moses' central teaching?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5)
Does this sound familiar? Yes, Jesus quoted this statement by Moses, adding: "This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:38)
This central message and teaching also has the ability to change a person's heart, release a person's bondage, and straighten a person's path.
How so? Consider what happens when a young man falls "in love" with a young woman. Suddenly, his life changes. He no longer considers himself only. He now is thinking of his beloved. He rearranges his life to please his beloved. Everything changes. Why? Love. He suddenly cares for someone else other than himself.
Love for God has an even deeper effect upon a person. Should we fall in love with the Supreme Being our entire life and focus changes. Suddenly we are concerned about pleasing the Supreme Being. Suddenly we are wanting to live our lives in such a way that serves God's interests, rather than our own interests. This is the change of heart that John the Baptist gave to people who came to the desert to hear from him.
And this is also the change of heart that John gave to Jesus when Jesus submitted himself to John for "baptism." Jesus certainly was already a special person, one already chosen by the Supreme Being - as John saw. But Jesus still submitted himself to John (as John had submitted to Zechariah). As Jesus heard and submitted to John's teachings, he became even more focused upon God and fell in love with God. Following Jesus hearing John's message and submitting to John, the Supreme Being also empowered Jesus to become His representative. This is why Jesus' teachings began after his baptism by John.

The baptism ceremony of dunking into the water is simply a symbolic act that represents the submission to God's representative (as was anointing previously). It is not the submission in itself. The submission must occur within ones heart.
This is the method by which God's word is passed from teacher to student. The student sits at the feet of the teacher and hears his message with submission. Should he absorb and embrace those teachings, his (or her) life will change. As that happens, God may then empower the student to also become a teacher, to pass God's word on.
Why is this so important? Because love of God is passed from person to person. Love of God is about a relationship with God. One who has that relationship can introduce another to that relationship. It is a personal system, because we are each persons, and God is a Person.
We can see this system work in everyday life. When a friend introduces us to his friend, we can then become his friend's friend, through that introduction. Their relationship enables our new relationship with that person. This is because relationships are fundamental to our existence, and they all branch from our original relationship with the Original Person.

So when Jesus says, "John was a lamp that burned and gave light," he is communicating that John was a representative of God. He spoke God's message, and that same message was also taught by Jesus. Jesus follows with "and you chose for a time to enjoy his light." This indicates that people were enlightened by John's teachings, and Jesus is now carrying that same torch in his teachings.

So why does Jesus say: "Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved." after speaking of John? When Jesus says he doesn't accept human testimony, he is meaning that he only accepts the word of God. As indicated in the verse before (John 5:32), Jesus accepts only God's testimony. But in this case, Jesus speaks of John because Jesus is teaching the same message that John taught. John was credible because he changed people. Jesus, like John, was teaching God's word, which also changed people's hearts, freed people from bondage, and put them on the path of pleasing God (assuming they really heard Jesus' teachings). In other words, Jesus, like John, taught love of God. He was trying to introduce those around him to love and cherish God. This is why Jesus; like Moses (and John, and all the other prophets) taught:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)


(See also the Gospels of Jesus for the Book of John - translated from the original Greek texts without sectarian influence.)