A Voice in the
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn1:1,14)
Paul writes, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" and again of his own desire, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.." (Phil2:5,3:10)
So many intone the name "Jesus". When the pretend 'christian' charismaniacs are trying to get into Heaven they will be wailing, "Lord, Lord, have we not..in Your name..in Your name..done many works of power IN YOUR NAME?" (Mt7:22) They mantracize and swoon over the name "Jesus, Jesus, Jeeezzzzus...there's just SOMETHING about that name". But how many people actually know Jesus? For Paul, knowing Jesus had nothing to do with mantras, but rather the "power of His resurrection" and as he said in another place, "I now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, on behalf of His body, which is the church" (Col1:24) What do we see in Jesus? A sugar daddy? Or our Master and partner in afflictions? What Jesus promised for us was "affliction". (Jn16:33) And this is because "if the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you..remember..A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also." (Jn15:18,20) When we truly come to know Christ, and share in His sufferings, those who do not know God become manifest. "..these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me." (Jn15:21)
So, if we are sharers in Christ's afflictions, would it not be good if we know the One who is our Master? If we are to be imitators of Christ (1Cor11:1), should we not know whom we are to imitate?
Seven years have now past. This article begins the eighth year of this ministry. How much time remains before Jesus Christ comes to "receive" His Church unto Himself as He promised? (Jn14:3) We don't know. As we watch prophecy unfolding before our eyes, we know it is sooner and sooner. How far we may progress into this series I have no way of knowing. But until He comes for us, for a period of time, however much time remains, we will start into the Gospel of John; considering just who is this Jesus Christ we claim to know. Where the series we did on Matthew covered Jesus' "teachings", this series will concentrate primarily on the "person" and "Deity" of Jesus Christ, Himself.
These writings don't usually tell jokes. But there was one I heard the other day that hopefully will not so much make you laugh, as much as to open your eyes as we dig in: With all that modern science has become capable of, this scientist and God were having a conversation; man boasting that God's 'trick' of creating man 'from dust' wasn't such a big deal. And the challenge was made that this man and God would both take a handful of dirt and make a person, right there, on the spot, and see who could do it quicker. So, the man digs his hand into the ground and pulls up a handful of dirt to prepare for the 'start' signal, and God cuts him off short, "Uh, just a minute there! Get your own dirt!"
Man's 'wisdom' fills library shelves full of books of commentaries to explain away God. A subscriber was sharing recently his conversations with a seminary graduate who was dumb-founded that this person lets the Bible be the "commentary on itself"; that he doesn't read commentaries. Man's 'wisdom' that "does not know God" (1Cor1:21) requires university degrees to prove God doesn't exist. John, here, takes a mere four (4) verses to explain the existence of both God and the universe.
When vs14 tells us that the "Word became flesh" and its following context, we know that "Word" in vs1 speaks of Jesus. Thus, we could say, "In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Jesus was in the beginning with God." (vs1-2) Do we have any other passage that says the same thing? When God spoke "to us by His Son" it is by this Son "through whom also He made the worlds" who is "the express image of His essence". (Heb1:2-3) As Jesus would say later, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jn14:9) Thus, we must first establish that Jesus is, in truth, Deity. Jesus is God. This was the final point which condemned Him to death before the rulers, "Are you the Christ?" to which Jesus replied, "I AM". (Mk14:61-62)
And as Hebrews said, it says here, All things were made through Jesus, and without Jesus, nothing was made that was made. (Jn1:3) In other words, if something exists, Jesus brought it into being. Even that handful of dirt the scientist was going to make a man out of... even the scientist, himself. The disciples were awed, "..what sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" (Mt8:27) "For by Him all things were created that are in Heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Col1:16-17) Thus, Jesus not only created everything; He also controls it all. And in fact, it all holds together through Him.
Just one little scientific thought here. Even way back in grade school science we all learned that likes oppose, and opposites attract. Try to put two "N" magnets together and they push each other apart. The electrons spinning around the nucleus of an atom are held to the nucleus because they are Negatively charged, and the nucleus is Positive. But the nucleus consists of many positive particles packed together in a clump. If they are individual Protons, with 'like' charges, why don't they explode away from each other? What holds them together? Well... wrong question. It should be, 'WHO' holds them together? Jesus. "..in Him all things consist.."
And this whole discussion of God, creation, existence, etc would be impossible if we were not here with cognitive powers to 'think'. And we can only do so because we are 'alive'. Where did life come from? "In Jesus was life.." (vs4) You see, when Jehovah God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen2:7), that was Jesus at work.
Now... it says that this Jesus, the One who is God, who created all things, and gave life... "became flesh and dwelt among us.." (vs14) And this completes the package of what we must know about Jesus. That He is fully Deity; but that He also became humanity. One of the tests regarding false prophets and the spirits that 'fill' them is the "[confession] that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh" (1Jn4:2-3) And for our salvation, (which is another topic), it was necessary for Him to "share" in our form as "flesh and blood". (Heb2:14) How did the witnesses know He was flesh? They 'heard, saw with their eyes, looked upon and handled with their hands.' (1Jn1:1) Remember, when Jesus was crucified, there was no question in anybody's mind (of the day) that He was "human". They -KNEW- that He was a man. The thing they objected to was that He "being a man, [made Himself] God" (Jn10:33) In Jesus' day the unbelievers did not accept His Deity. Today, many don't accept His 'full' humanity. But He was both.
Notice how John introduces Jesus to the people; what he says about Him. "This was He of whom I said, He who arrives after me came to be before me, for He existed before me." (vs15) Is this a bunch of double-talk?
If you read Luke ch1 (we won't quote it now), you will see from the narrative that John was conceived and born six months 'before' Jesus. Elizabeth was six-months pregnant when Mary was visited by the angel, and then goes to be with Elizabeth. Now, John is going around preaching, "preparing the way" for Jesus' arrival on the scene. The people did not see Jesus first. They saw John the baptist. Not only was John "preparing" to "introduce" Jesus to the crowds, but he was also physically older. But he says, He "came to be before me". (KJV's "preferred" is outdated for the way we use the word today.) As Jesus would later say, "before Abraham came to be, I AM" (Jn8:58), John was preparing his hearers with information they obviously did not understand, that Jesus' existence was before John was ever conceived in Elizabeth's womb.
This, thus, brings us to another point. Notice that "the Word -BECAME- flesh" (vs14) Did Mary "give" birth to Jesus? Well, certainly He arrived 'through' her womb. But did somebody "create" Jesus into existence, into Mary's womb? No, it says that He "became" flesh. In the "mind" of Christ, He "emptied Himself" as he "[took] the form of a bondservant" as He "[came] in the likeness of men". God did not humble Him, but He "humbled Himself" (Phil2:7-8) Again, notice, "In Him was life..." (vs4) He will say later, "I have authority to lay it [My life] down, and I have authority to take it again" (Jn10:18) Just as the Father is Jehovah, the "existing One" (Ex3:14), it is given to "the Son to have life in Himself" (Jn5:26) Thus, the One who gives life to all things, has life in Himself, and came to earth in human form of His own free will.
Yes, we know that God "gave" His only begotten Son (Jn3:16), and that He "sent" Him (Jn5:36, 20:21, 1Jn4:14), but Jesus came out of His own obedience to the Father. (Heb5:8) He said, "..I always do those things that please Him.." (Jn8:29) Nobody hogtied Him and dragged Him, kicking and screaming. And when He died for our sin, He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Lk23:46) He "[gave]" His life a ranson. (Mt20:28, Mk10:45)
"No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (vs18) As Jesus came to earth, He came to declare the Father's "glory". (vs14)
If we were to summarize in two words what Jesus was characterized by, what would they be? Is it even possible to do so? Well, John did. Jesus is "..full of -GRACE- and -TRUTH-". (vs14)
When we think of "grace", sadly today most people today only think of those aspects where the people noticed His "gracious words". (Lk4:22) Those things whereby, when people hear them, they "feel good" inside. But Jesus came to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk19:10) Thus, His grace is actually more related to the fact that He did not come "into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (Jn3:17) as He said, "..I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world" (Jn12:47) because we are "saved by [God's gift of] grace through faith" (Eph2:8)
And then, Truth. This is something which characterizes Christ and those who are in Christ, believers. As Jesus stood before Pilate, He says, "For this purpose I was born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth hears My voice." (Jn18:37) And Pilate asks, "What is truth?" But based on this closing statement, closing the other things Jesus said to Pilate, Pilate goes out to the people and says, "I find no fault in Him at all" (vs38)
In the N.T. often the Ways of Christ and the Christian walk and doctrine are called "truth". (2Tm3:8, 4:4, Tit1:14, Heb10:26, Jac5:19, 1Jn1:6,8, 2:4, etc) It covers everything from actual Salvation (1Tm2:4), to how we conduct ourselves as we speak, "Yes and No". (Mt5:37) Thus, John's Gospel often has Jesus beginning statements with "Truly, truly, I say to you..." One of my gripes against the NKJV is that they changed "Truly, truly" into "Most assuredly". (Chipping away!) In the Greek in those places it actually says, "Amen, amen". But as Jesus speaks to the church of Laodicea, He labels Himself as "These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness" (Rev3:14) Today's apostasy no longer maintains truth. And, no wonder! They have rejected Jesus Christ, Who -is- the Truth, and the Amen. Jesus said, "I am the way, the TRUTH..." (Jn14:6) (Thus, this is one of the things I had in mind recently when introducing the new VW-Edition of the Scriptures to the subscribers. The NKJV has a lot of 'little' things by which it seeks to have a "feel" as an apostate translation. They don't accept Jesus speaking "Truly, truly". This is one of the many things that was "fixed" for the VW-Edition.) Thus, as Jesus speaks to Laodicea He wishes they would be either Yes ("Hot"), or No ("cold"). But since they are lukewarm and wishy-washy, slip-sliding around, like today's society that says there is no right or wrong, He says, "I will vomit you out of My mouth". (Rev3:15-16)
Thus, when Jesus came the first time, John's mission was to "Make straight the way of the LORD". (Jn1:23) And as we anticipate Jesus' soon return, we cry out with the same message. Jesus is the Word. His Word is Truth. When we were saved, we were "brought forth by the Word of Truth" (Jac1:18) as we seek to maintain and preserve God's Word as it is, in truth, the "Word of Truth". (2Tm2:15) Because the Word of Truth (Scriptures) is one and the same with the Word of Truth (Jesus Christ). Whoever seeks to "twist" the Scriptures, does so "to their own destruction" (2Pt3:16) because in doing so, they seek to change God's character. But He says, "I do not change.." (Mal3:6)
Just as Jesus was the "..lamb without blemish and without spot" (1Pt1:19), so too, "The Words of Jehovah are pure words" (Ps12:6) We should be as the psalmist who said, "Your Word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it." (Ps119:140) We should not be as Israel who, when Jesus "came to His own..His own did not receive Him"(Jn1:11) and after hearing His "gracious words" proceeded to try to throw Him over the cliff to kill Him (Lk4:22,28-29)... but we should be as those.. "..as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those believing into His name.." (Jn1:12) When we "desire the pure milk of the Word" (1Pt2:2) we do so because such a desire is for Jesus, Himself!