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Monday, October 18, 2010

Journeying Through John (Written that we may know Jesus)

Journeying Through John

(Written that we may know Jesus) - John 1

John belonged to the “inner circle” of Jesus’ followers. He had such a close relationship with the Lord that he was known as “the beloved disciple” (John 13:23,20:2) And John tells us why he wrote: “But these words are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) The book of John is inspired by God and by reading and believing it, we can know Christ. By knowing Christ we have eternal life.

The book of John starts out by introducing Jesus to us as the “Word”. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” ( John 1:1) “And the Word became flesh and lived among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) In these passages the Word is Jesus Christ. The Word (Jesus) is with God and the Word (Jesus) is God. Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity. The Word (Jesus) became flesh and lived among us. And Verse 14 tells us that those who walked and talked with Jesus could see His glory as the Son of God. They could discern grace and truth and righteousness in His Person.

John continues introducing Jesus to us as the One through whom we came into the world. He is our Creator, and also as the Creator of every living thing. “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:2-4) “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:9) This means that our lives were not an accident! Each of us was given that light of life through Jesus Christ before we were born.

John introduces Jesus as part of the Godhead, as Life and Light and the Word. The Bible never speaks of Jesus Christ as being just a great man! If Jesus was a sinful man like the rest of us He could never have been our Savior and taken away our sins. If we believe this heresy it can keep us from eternal life. The Incarnation (Jesus being the Son of God and the Son of man) is a holy mystery that we cannot understand. But the God who created our world and proclaims that He loves the world, can also find a way to redeem that world. Scripture tells us that we are not only created through Jesus but we are redeemed (bought back) through Jesus, to whom all authority has been given. (Matthew 28:18)

Then John introduces Jesus as the rejected One. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:10-12) And Jesus warns us that if we follow Him we will be rejected and persecuted too. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember, ‘a servant is not greater than his master,’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,…” (John 15:18-20) Remember if you really follow Jesus that there is a price to pay!

Here in the first chapter of John, Jesus is introduced as the life giver. Scripture says that Jesus changes those who believe in Him into children of God. Jesus is the One who brings us into the kingdom, the One who gives us our second birth. He gives His Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him. When we believe in Jesus we are truly “born again”. “But as many as receive Him, to them He gives the power to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name. Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) A miracle indeed!

Further on in this first chapter Jesus is introduced to us as “the Lamb”. John is describing how John the Baptist sees Jesus and points Him out to his followers with this introduction: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) For several thousand years the Jewish people had brought lambs to the temple as sacrifices to cover sin. God had instructed the people in Exodus 12:3 that each household should bring a lamb. The sacrifice of a lamb to cover sin in the Old Testament was a type of Christ, and was pointing to Jesus, the Perfect Lamb, that would take away the sin of the world. John the Baptists’ followers, as good religious Jews,` knew exactly what he meant when he referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Reading on we find Jesus introduced as the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. He not only creates us and redeems us, but He baptizes us with His Holy Spirit. John 1:33 describes Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist baptized Jesus. God had impressed on his heart that the person who the Holy Spirit descended upon would be the Messiah, the one who would baptize with the Spirit. So when John the Baptist saw the Spirit come down on Jesus in the form of a dove he said: “this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” (John 1:33b)

Before the first chapter of John comes to a close, five men have become disciples of Jesus. John the Baptist sent several of his followers to Jesus. Andrew and John, Simon Peter, Phillip and Nathaniel were all looking for the promised Messiah. They followed Jesus because they hoped that He was the One they were looking for. As the chapter closes Nathaniel addresses Jesus: “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” ((John 1:49b) and Jesus answers him: “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)

Jesus introduces Himself here as a link between earth and heaven. Angels are ascending and descending upon Him. In the Old Testament Jacob had been given a vision of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:10-22) Here it would seem, Jesus is describing Himself as Jacobs’ Ladder.

In this first chapter of John, Jesus is introduced to us with many names. He has been called the Word, the Son of God, God, Creator, Redeemer, Light, Life, Rejected One, Lamb, Baptizer with the Spirit, and the Son of Man with angels ascending and descending upon Him. The reason the gospel of John was written was that we might “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing we may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) God will give us the faith to believe if we want it. Believing in Jesus is the most important thing that we can do. Let’s believe and have life in His name.


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