The Witness John

The Witness John
Text: John 1:6-8
By Mike Peek

Context

In the first century, “Witness” was a Greco-Roman legal concept and a legal concept among Jews.[1]The Greek word translated into English “Witness” denotes evidence given judicially: this could be a record, a report or a testimony.[2]This is the same word used in the Gospel of Mark regarding Jesus trial before the high priest, chief priests, elders and scribes when they were attempting to obtain testimony against Jesus. (cf.Mk.14:53-65) In the first few words of the Gospel According to John we have a legal metaphor taking shape. The reason being that many who would read this text during the time that it was written and shortly thereafter would find themselves in a trial setting giving “Witness” for the hope that is in them. Isaiah (v.44:8, NASB) prophesied of “Witness” taking place:
‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’” 

Principle

John the Baptist mission was to tell people about the light coming into the world.[3]The apostle Paul said in his epistle to the Romans, answering the question: What advantage has the Jew? They were entrusted with the Word of God. (vs.3:1,2) Though the Jewish people had the written Word of God in the Old Testament writings, they could not see that their Messiah had come into the world because of their spiritual blindness. John the Baptist was the first of many men who would testify about Jesus and John was martyred, just like many other witnesses would be martyred in the last days. Nevertheless, it is the duty of believers to testify about Jesus amongst the spiritually blind. Unlike us, John the Baptist was a forerunner, His mission was to announce the Messiah’s coming;[4]ours, however, is to announce that He has already come, died for the sins of believers and rose again from the dead, returning to judge the earth on the last day.

Application

I am a 21stcentury American male who works as a Registered Nurse in a hospital. I am not a prophet like John the Baptist, nor am I an apostle like the disciple whom Jesus loved, the author of our text. John the Baptist was a forerunner of Jesus Christ. The apostles witnessed the things that Jesus said and did as He walked among men, they witnessed His resurrection from the dead. I was not sent from God to testify to the coming light. Nor was I a witness to the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Lord. There are no prophets among us today, but we have the written word of the Old Testament. There are no apostles among us today, but we have the written word of the New Testament. How can we who were not sent from God, nor witnessed the life, death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as Lord “Witness?” The answer is the Scriptures: We can give people the Scriptures and preach what is written in the Scriptures. One of the things that I enjoy doing is giving away copies of “The Gospel According to John” and explaining what is written in the book. I am not a prophet like John the Baptist, nor am I an evangelist like the disciple whom Jesus loved. I simply promote the reading of the book written by the disciple whom Jesus loved.


[1]Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nded. (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 249.
[2]Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary, g3141.
[3]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: the complete new testament in one volume(Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2007), 229.
[4]William McDonald, Believers Bible Commentary: A Complete Bible Commentary in One Volume5thed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), 1467.

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