So we are messengers for Christ. God is using us to call people. So we are standing here for Christ and begging people, ‘Come back to God!’ (2 Corinthians 5:20, Worldwide English [WE])
God uses us as His messengers.
I read 2 Corinthians 5:20 in the Worldwide English version of the New Testament last week.
This version was started by a missionary to Liberia who found that she spent too much time explaining archaic English words to her students. These students had a better understanding of modern English words, so she went through the New Testament changing “old” English words not understood in her mission field to “new” English words that were better understood.
The New International Version, the New American Standard Version, and almost all other versions of the Bible use “ambassadors” in place of “messengers” in 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Open your Bible mobile app and look up 2 Corinthians 5:20 in the New Living Translation. It will read …
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
As Bible scholars (including all of us), we can quickly see that “messengers” would be better understood in Liberia than “ambassadors.” In fact, I understand “messengers” better than “ambassadors,” and I try to speak English as my first language on a daily basis.
But is “messengers” instead of “ambassadors” correct?
Let’s continue as Bible scholars (yes, still including all of us) and consider that the original Greek word implies “elder statesman” or “statesperson,” whichever you prefer.
Concluding this scholastic mishmash into something helpful before it gives us a headache, we conclude …
An ambassador functions as an emissary from one country to another. Yes, the ambassadors from Russia to the U.S.A. and European countries aren’t very popular now, but they are essential for communication between countries.
As followers of Jesus, we are to be ambassadors – or messengers – from the Kingdom of God to the kingdom of this world. Our purpose (using the WE again) is found in 2 Corinthians 5, verses 5 and 6.
We are to be ambassadors with this message …
“Come back to God!” Christ did no wrong thing. But for our sake God put the blame for our wrong ways on Christ. So now God sees us as good, because we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
Is there a better message for our world and culture today?
Remember, we are the messenger, and if we don’t bring the message to those that we interact with, who will? We speak from one Kingdom to another.
Let’s be ambassadors this week.