約翰福音信息之六---施洗约翰的身份与使命（The Identity and Mission of John the Baptist）
“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” (John 1:6-8)
I. Introduction （引言）
According to the apostle John, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, the creator, the Life and the true light, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (or, overcome) it.” (John 1:5)
And later on, in John 1:9, it continues saying, “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” So, John 1:9 was perfectly connected to John 1:5 in the stream of the flow.
Then the question arises: why John 1:6-8 was there? It looks like a parenthesis and a kind of interruption.
Remember the purpose of the gospel of John, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)
To serve as the proof and evidence, the author of the gospel of John recorded seven miracles and seven ‘I Am’ statements of Jesus Christ. In addition, he also provides seven personal witnesses, among whom John the Baptist was the first and the most important witness.
II. The identity of John the Baptist （施洗約翰的身份）
“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.”（John 1:6）
The gospel of John begins with a unique theological prologue, it traces the Word far back even before the universe, the time and the space came into being.
In the very beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, He was the creator of all things, and Life was in Him, and He was the source of the Light. All these concepts, the Word, the Creator, the Life, the Light, once put together, it clearly reveals the divine nature of the Word---He is the almighty God. (John 1:1-5)
太初有道、道與神同在、道就是神。他是萬物的創造者，生命在他裡面，他是光的源頭。所有這些概念，包括道，造物主，生命，光，放在一起，就清楚地揭示了道的神性-- 他是全能的上帝。 （約1：1-5）
When it comes to John 1:6, “a man” came into the scene: “there came a man.” (John 1:6)
到約翰福音1：6 “有一個人” “一個人”進入了場景中。（約1：6）
It forms a sharp contrast, the author of the gospel of John shifts his focus from the Divine Word now to a mere man, whose name was John, not the apostle John, who was the author of this gospel, but John the Baptist, he came as the witness for the Word, namely Jesus Christ.
Who was this man John the Baptist?
He was not an ordinary man; he was a very special man “who was sent from God” directly---John the Baptist was the very unique witness for Jesus Christ and a very powerful servant of God. His name was given by angel even before his birth---John---the grace of God, which was very fitting, for he was chosen by God to be the prophet and the forerunner of Christ.
他不是一個普通人。他是一個非常特殊的人，“直接由上帝差遣來的”-- 施洗約翰是耶穌基督的特殊見證，也是神所差派的一位大有能力的僕人。甚至，在他出生之前，天使就賦予了他的名字。 “約翰”-即神的恩典，用在約翰身上恰如其分，因為他被神選為基督的先知和先行者。
A. His coming was prophesied （旧约的预言）
“The story of John the Baptist stretches back hundreds of years (750 years) before Christ. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah the prophet of God prophesied about a special person who would arrive on the scene to prepare hearts of Israel to receive their Messiah.” (David Welch)
“A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’” (Isa 40:3-5)
有人聲喊著說：在曠野預備耶和華的路 ，在沙漠地修平我們神的道 。一切山窪都要填滿，大小 山岡都要削平；高高低低的要改為平坦，崎崎嶇嶇的必成為平原。耶和華的榮耀必然顯現；凡有 血氣的必一同看見；因為這是耶和華親口說的。(賽 40:3-5)
The book of Isaiah is divided in two major parts: the first part of the first 39 chapters pronounces the message of judgment for the sin of the nation of Israel; the second part of the latter 27 Chapters declares the message of Comfort of the Redeemer for His people.
So the second half begins with these words: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” (Isa 40:1)
Yet the comfort message starts with a voice calling in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord.” (Isa 40:3)
因此，下半部分的開頭是：“你們的神說 ： 你們要安慰，安慰我的百姓 。”（賽40：1）
When John the Baptist came into the scene, the gospel authors Matthew, Mark and Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, unanimously declare that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophesy of the book of Isaiah.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’” (Matt 3:1-3)
那時 ，有施洗的約翰出來 ， 在猶太的曠野傳道 ，說：“天國近了 ，你們應當悔改！”這人就是先知以賽亞所說的。他說：“在曠野有人聲喊著說：預備主的道，修直祂的路！”（太3：1-3）
In addition to the book of Isaiah, the book Malachi also recorded the prophesy concerning John the Baptist. “See, I will send My messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.” (Mal 3:1)
除了以賽亞書之外，瑪拉基書還記錄了有關施洗約翰的預言。“萬軍之耶和華說： “我要差遣我的使者在我前面預備道路。你們所尋求的主必忽然進入他的殿；立約的使者，就是你們所仰慕的， 快要來到 。”（瑪 3：1）
And the book Malachi ends with this prophecy concerning the Lord’s messenger, that is John the Baptist. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (Mal 4:5-6)
瑪拉基書以關於主的使者，即施洗約翰的預言結尾。“看哪，耶和華大而可畏之日未到以前，我 必差遣先知以利亞到你們那裡去。他必使父親的心轉向兒女，兒女的心轉向父親，免得我來咒詛遍地 。”（瑪4：5-6）
Notice the uniqueness of John the Baptist, who else in human history was prophesied 750 years ahead before he came into the world? Who else in human history will be called the very messenger of the Lord God? Who else has such a privilege and honor to be the forerunner for Jesus Christ the Savior of the world?
Therefore, Jesus Christ ever commented on His forerunner John the Baptist, “Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matt 11:9-11)