6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
God, throughout all ages have sent His messengers to announce both warnings and coming events. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and the list goes on, each played their part in proclaiming a message that bore witness to the true character of God. But, for nearly 400 years the prophetic office had been vacant. No message was coming from God to His people. It would appear to some that God had forsaken His people and left them without a guide, a true prophet, to express God’s message to His people.
Since king Nebuchadnezzar had taken the Israelites captive in 606 BCE (BC), they had been subject to other nations. Yes, there certainly was a short time under the Maccabean’s that they were somewhat independent, but certainly not as they had been before the Babylonian captivity. They had been subject to the Babylonians, Medo-Persia, Greece and now the Roman empire. The Jews hated the dreaded Romans and longed for a messiah, one from the lineage of David the King, to come and set up His earthly kingdom, and then drive the Romans out of Judea and the regions beyond.
Doctor Luke, the New Testament author and historian gives us the most information on who this John (John the Baptist) is, giving us some detail into his family. Luke gives us more information than is mention by John the disciple of Jesus in verse six. Interestingly it is in the gospel of Mark that we find a good description of John and his life style. His message was to call the people to repentance and point them to the one coming after him, “Who is the Lamb of God.”
In fact, Mark 1:6 gives us a mountain of information on John and his prophetic calling. As we read a few moments ago, it had been roughly four hundred years since there had been a prophet in Israel, but here is Mark in verse 6 of chapter 1 giving us a description of John, his character, his dress and his simple life style. Each showed to the people, and the religious leaders that the prophetic gift had returned to Israel.
John the disciple of Jesus states that “This man came for a witness to bear witness of the light, that all through him might believe.” John was describing John the Baptist as a dim light or lesser light pointing to the true light and that True light is the one described in John 1:1-5.
John’s prophetic message was to call the people to repentance and then upon their repentance, baptizing them by total submersion in water, symbolic of washing one’s self and becoming cleansed from all sins. But John had a second message as well, an even more important message and that was to point the people to the true light which would come and instead of baptizing with water as John did, He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit.
But John “was not that light, but was sent to bear witness to that light” and that light is none other, than the one who had spoken the world into existence by His word, who was the logo or representative of God the Father, so that He could reveal before mankind in true light the character of God the Father. Because mankind had developed the wrong idea concerning the Father, “the Word” who is “the Light of the world” came that He might show us the Father, through His words, actions, and character.
Therefore, God sent John as, “A voice crying in the wilderness preparing the way of the LORD; making straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground shall become level and the rough places a plain and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has Spoken (Isaiah 40:3-5).
God has always sent His messengers of truth to prepare the way, for God wants His people to be informed of the things to come. The purpose of His messengers is to point us to Christ, Then Christ points us to the Father who loves us with a perfect love.
For God is ever drawing us to Himself for He has loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you (Jeremiah 31:3 ESV).
Therefore in these last day, the days just before Christ’s second coming, God is once again looking for a people, a group, or a person that will point other’s to Christ, who will reflect the character of Christ to the world, thus showing to the world the Fathers true character.