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4 Feb 2009: John 1:6–8

by Stephen Hebert on Wednesday - 4 February 2009

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

Previously, I looked at John 1:1–5, the very beginning of the prologue. Now, I’d like to go to the next chunk of the gospel which raises some interesting insights about God’s plan.

Hebert Translation Nestle-Aland 27
There was a human, sent from God, by the name of John. This one came as a witness so that he might testify concerning the light so that all might believe on account of him. This man was not the light, but [he came] in order to testify concerning the light. Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι᾿ αὐτοῦ. οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ᾿ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.

John the Baptist is the John in question here (not the John who is the namesake of the book). We learn several things about John from this short little passage:

Human

First and foremost, John the Baptist was human. This may seem obvious to us. What else could he be? However, I think it is always important to keep in mind that the mighty men of God, those whom He handpicked for His greatest acts that are retold in the Bible, are always human.

While angels and the like may play some role in God’s cosmic scheme, it is through the activity and agency of humans that God’s plans are always carried out. John the Baptist is just the latest in this tradition.

Sent From God

John was sent from God. Later on Jesus will ask some religious leaders about the validity of John’s work. The leaders are afraid to answer. They do not want to say that he is from God, because they think that the masses will rise up in anger at such a word.

The Gospel of John, however, makes it clear right here that John the Baptist was indeed sent by God.

Witness With a Purpose

John wasn’t sent by God for grins and giggles. Rather, he had a very distinct purpose: to testify concerning the light so that all might believe.

The Gospel of John makes these facts about John clear. It also tells us who he was not: The Light. Again, John was a man on a mission; a guy sent by God to do His work. However, he himself was not God, but came to testify concerning God.

As we work through the next few chunks of John, we’ll come back to John the Baptist and learn a bit more about him. For now, I’d just like to leave you with the idea of “man on a mission.” John is sent by God.

Do you feel like you have been sent by God to accomplish a unique goal or to serve a unique purpose?

While the greatest of the mighty men and women of God are recorded in Scripture, this does not mean that God has stopped sending his servants. Quite the opposite. With the coming of Christ, we are all invited to participate in the work of the Kingdom of Heaven — we are all subjects and servants of the most high God.

How does it change your view of things to know that God might be calling you for a unique purpose?

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