One of the problems we have is our Westernization of scripture. The attitudes and misconceptions associated with westernization builds in misunderstanding makes translating difficult and opens the door to arguments from outsiders and those who choose to let others tell them what they should believe the Bible is saying instead of finding out for themselves. I suppose God knew that would happen. When you consider how people say that the Bible is full of errors, it makes sense when you examine the fallacies built into our non-Jewish understanding. One of those fallacies is often revealed as pastors try to explain the Revelation, also written by John, by telling you that John wrote the Revelation in code so that the Romans would not understand and therefore not be able to prevent this letter from making to any of the churches John intended. Another pathetic aspect of writing in code would be to confine comprehension to a select few, and that would make Jesus statement found in the Revelation about a special blessing pointless.
All that being said, keep in mind that John wrote this gospel primarily to a developing Jewish Christian community, (I explain my reasons for saying this in my first post on John's gospel and will not go into it, in depth, once again.)
With that in mind, why would John feel the need to point out that God sent Yochanan/John?
Consider this, the general feeling among the people seems to convey that John the Baptist was a prophet. That might imply the general idea that he was a man from God. If that was the case, then how did the people feel about the Pharisees?
Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John (the Baptist) as a prophet. Matthew 14:5
So John's statement then is:
John 1:6 CJB There was a man sent from God whose name was Yochanan.
I give you the Complete Jewish Bible because to the Jewish community they would have recognized Yochanan. I chose the translation called God's Word because it comes across as direct and to the point, ending with the reason why.
John 1:6 GW God sent a man named John to be his messenger.
The NASB reads like this: John 1:6 NASB “There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.” The phrase makes me think of a voice over in an old movie like The Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood.
Came - Greek word ginomai / ghin'-om-ahee. A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be.
When I think about a human being and the idea of being caused to be, I think about birth. We should all know that God did some intervening when it came to Jesus being born, but not so with John the Baptist. The only major interaction we see is in Luke 1.
Luke 1:13-15 NASB But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14) "You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15) "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.
While being filled with the Holy Spirit is an incredible thing, there was nothing, as you can see, comparable to the birth of Jesus.
There was a point I wanted to make as I started pondering this one, seemingly simple, passage, and that would be this: You too were sent by God.
I believe that if you had an honest heart toward God, then you, as I do, would want to back up your statement with a substantive witness. Typically, what an excellent expositor would do is use, or at least know that there is a minimum of two scriptural witnesses. Based upon the word “sent,” I am only finding one strong one.
John 20:21 NASB So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
This statement was made to the disciples, and at this point, there were well over 120 by conservative estimates, gathered in the upper room. While they may have been there to honor the command of Jesus, there was an overwhelming fear considering what had been happening, ending with the death of Jesus.
John 20:19-20 NASB So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, "Peace be with you." 20) And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
We find a comparable description in Luke 24.
So, if you can see yourselves as His disciples, and, accept that you too have the same command as the disciples, then it is not difficult to see yourselves as being sent by God.
If that still causes you grief then imagine yourselves living in a medieval kingdom where you are brought before the King. Standing there before a public audience, you are addressed in a regal manner and knighted, you are given a mandate as an emissary for the kingdom to convey the good will and nature of the king toward all those who wish to enjoy the benefits of the king's grace. We, in the religious world, call this evangelizing or spreading the gospel/good news of the kingdom.
The good news is that as you find the joy and relief within this life of Christ, which is merely an aspect of His kingdom, then it seems only natural that you would want to tell others about it. An example of something along this line comes out of me finally joining the gym. The gym, in conjunction with Weight Watchers, has knocked 30 pounds off my 300-pound frame. Obviously, this makes me jubilant, and I have told people about what I am doing. My enthusiasm cannot be a controlling or manipulating factor, as people have to see the changes in me, and my enthusiasm. Hopefully, they too would want what I found.
I have mentioned in previous posts that I have struggled with depression. Fortunately for me, it is not debilitating. Depression, unfortunately, will cause you to crawl into a corner alone to make the world go away. I found out that does not happen, and at some point, you have to toughen up and walk through the difficulty. For me, this difficulty was what I called the dark times, and it impacted my skewed image of God. To be honest, I thank God for that because I intentionally buried myself in God's word so that I could find out who this Jesus/God was and His nature was like. Some would have you believe that He is merely evil and hates you, and that is not the case at all. If it was, why then would God have sacrificed his son for people he cared nothing about. In fact, the opposite is true, you are loved with an everlasting love, and, He longs that everyone would found this out about Him and come to Him. I would hope that you find, as the time for grace is running short. If you should find this after the church is gone, there is still hope, and power in Him. Just turn to Him, giving your life to Him and accepting His. His name is Jesus.