John 1.1-18 God the Jesus
July 22, 2007 Series: Gospel According to John
Topic: Gospel Passage: John 1:6–1:18
Hello I Am Jesus: John 1.6-18
July 29, 2007
GOOD TO BE BACK.
We've titled this series on The Gospel of John, Hello, I am Jesus. Why? We are a . We're also convinced, however, that many people have not met Jesus. Perhaps you know him intellectually, you know who he is, what he taught, but you've never gotten past the point of accepting Jesus as anything more than a good teacher a good example or just a nice guy. Perhaps your stuck on the first verses of John, where Jesus is the "creator of all things"-this distant cosmic deity that turned on the earth on and walked away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our God is personal.
I'm hoping that through this study, you fall in love with Jesus. Not because he's some warm fuzzy teddy bear that is lovable, but because in him you see what God is like. And if you do, if you really look at Jesus and say God is CHRISTLIKE...in fact, there is no UNCHRISTNESS about God. Suddenly, your faith comes alive because God instantly becomes reachable as someone just like us but TOTALLY different than us. Yes, perfect, but in that sinless ness which in itself is attractive, he's passionate, loving, powerful, courageous, emotional, strong, he's a real person.
The WITNESS to the coming Light: 1.6-8
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
John was sent From God to bear witness
All of the gospels begin the record of Jesus' public ministry by introducing the ministry of John the Baptist. John chapter 1 says that John was not the LIGHT...he was a WITNESS to the light.
The word witness both as a noun (A WITNESS) and the verb (TO WITNESS) is a key word in this book; In fact, John uses the noun fourteen times and the verb thirty-three times-total of 47 times!. The Word "witness" means
NOUN: testimony, attestation to facts, one that gives evidence, one that has personal knowledge, or serving as evidence or proof of something or someone
VERB: to attest, to furnish proof of, to see for oneself, to testify, to certify
- 1. Human Declaration of Facts: Legal Witness
- 2. Good Report: Giving direct observations of events
- 3. Religious Witness: A declaration of divine facts/the gospel
Growing up I would always hear about people talking about "witnessing" to people. What they meant was to tell people about the gospel. And the gospel became this 4 step process of walking up to someone and saying:
- A. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life
- B. Man is sinful and separated from God therefore you
- C. Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.
- D. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives.
Life Witness: What is your witness like? Translated: What do people see when they look at you. This kind of religious fear, guilt, or Christian Peer Pressure, began to govern our lives so that we were no longer thinking about and leaning on our Savior, but focusing on trying not to SIN.
- John's Witness: John witness is especially the witness that is given, not specifically to the facts of Jesus' history, but to the person of Jesus. John comes to bear witness to the INCARNATE WORD as the Light. John witnesses to WHO JESUS IS!
Character Assassination of the Witness
The different religious leaders did not believe John. Instead of listening to WHO JESUS IS, the Jewish people stop at the person. Instead of listening to the truth of the message, they get HELD BACK by the packaging of the messenger.
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
We selfishly want to be the Light
John is a humble man, something that I often am not. There are a lot of TYPE A personalities like me that like to be the light. You can usually tell when someone is beginning to "step in front of Jesus". I don't mean to discredit any church or man, but it just bothers me when people put their name as "JO BLOW'S STUDY BIBLE" or JOBLOW.com as their web address for their church.
John was humble. In John 3 you have Jesus' disciples and John baptizing in the same body of water. When men lose sight of WHO exactly is the light, they become territorial, introverted, and selfish. They want to shine.
- At our church we must always ask: Is it done for the glory of Jesus or the glory of the church?
- As individuals you must ask: Are you doing it for the glory of Jesus or the glory of you
It is curious how people's expectations of you change when they hear that you are a pastor. There are just certain things pastor's don't do, don't say, etc. It's almost as if they want you to be perfect. They don't want you to tell a joke, never swear, dress a certain way, only talk about certain things, have all the answers, the list goes on. Don't get me wrong, I think it is important to set a godly example for my bride, my kids, my friends, for anyone that I come into contact with. The requirements of leadership at our church are not perfection but they are imitation. But regardless of how "good" or "respectable" I might be, I am still a depraved, dirty, evil, son of a gun in need of a savior who will love me despite all my problems. When all is said and done, the best I can ever do is reflect a little of Jesus' light....
John was not the Light...John was a lamp.
You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony I have is greater than that of John.
Just imagine a lamp without a light in it. It doesn't do much good. My father-in-law and I went to a movie over the weekend-Harry Potter. We walked in 10 minutes late, the movie had already started. It was bright outside, so bright that when we walked into the darkened theater I couldn't see anything-not a person. So, being the brave stupid male that I am, instead of waiting for my eyes to adjust, I blazed a trail in the backrow over the bodies that filled the seats.
Trying to find your way with a lamp and no light source is just plain stupid. But there a ton of people trying to do this. When we think of Jesus being the light, we might imagine all the DARK things that Jesus is going to find out because he is shining on all of our darkest secrets. That is true. But I'd rather focus on how Jesus and the cross injects meaning, and purpose, and understanding of who I am, why I am here, and why things are the way they are.
That light...the light that let's us SEE our way in this dark world is Jesus.
- What do I do with all this guilt?
- How do I deal with suffering?
- How can I be a good husband?
- How do I love?
- What is success in this life?
- What is power?
- What do I do when I'm wronged?
ALL problems, all issues, all concerns go back to a misunderstanding or refusal to accept Jesus and the cross. Through John, the truth, Jesus Christ, was made more visible and brighter!
The LIGHT comes into the WORLD: 1.9-13
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Light "illuminates" everyone
The first few verses of John establish the Word of God, Jesus Christ, as the creator of all things. He cannot create ALL things and be one of the THINGS that are created. Here, John speaks about the coming of the true light, the creator, into the world.
Jesus Christ shines on every single man. THIS true light makes all things known much like the SUN makes things more clear than yellow light of a room or the light of a campfire. Everything is laid bare...which is probably why MOST people run from it.
No wants to live in glass house
If you desire to grow more like Christ, live in a glass house. Let the light shine in.
He was in the world yet the world did not know him. (Romans 1)
The world speaks generally to the world that was created by him. The people did not know him. They did not recognize him as their creator. Romans 1 goes so far as to say that people ignored what they already know, suppressing the truth in favor of worshpping creation (any one of those things, relationships, sex, food, etc) instead of the creator.
The world rejects Jesus Christ and all that his coming means:
- Reject authority, Reject their depravity, Reject their guilt before a wrathful God, Reject their desire for light, Reject those who proclaim light
He came to his own, and they did not receive him (Rev 3.14)
The people of Israel, God's own chosen people within the world, did not receive him. These are the people who knew He was coming. These were the people who were supposed to be ready for the Messiah. Like John, they expected something that Jesus was not. Isaiah 53 speaks to this.....
Who has believed what they heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
His "own", the church, rejects Jesus just like we do. We exchange Jesus for a form that suits our perceptions better. I firmly believe that if Jesus were alive today, there would be a ton of Christians who sound exactly like the Pharisees and Sadducees telling Jesus what he should and should not do.
I think Jesus could completely blow us away with how he interacts with people, how he interacts with culture, and how he calls people to repentance with a few words versus a political campaign or public protest.
Is Jesus inside our church our outside? (Rev 3)
But those who did receive him, who believe in his name
But all who did receive him, did so by God's power. This is a powerful part of scripture. What is said here is that WE HAVE NOTHING to do with our salvation. It is not a matter of intellectual ascent or emotional satisfaction that we must achieve. The foolishness of the cross becomes real to us when God changes our HEART OF STONE (as Ezekiel says) and replaces it with a heart of flesh.
We stop running from the light when Jesus shows up and says enough. And yet, even though we know that it is God in charge, we do not rest, we do not stop working, we do not cease our appeals to the Lord, we proclaim the Word of God faithfully knowing that the power resides in it, specifically, in the person of Jesus Christ.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 
The INCARNATION: 1.14-18
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Jesus that I'm in love with, the Jesus that I gravitate towards, is the Jesus of Scripture. If you take any time to study the gospels, you cannot help but fall in love with Jesus because he is like no other man that ever walked the face of the earth.
Jesus dwelt among us and we have seen his glory (Col 2.9)
This tell us so much about our God. The WORD of God, the same WORD called God, and creator, and the all illuminating light takes on flesh. He did not stop being God, he did not absorb himself into some human nature, he is both God and Man. Yes, it sounds foolish or at the least difficult to understand. The HOW it happened is not so amazing to me as it is THAT it happened.
Jesus lived among the people. He immersed himself into their lives so much so that he wasn't even noticed for 30 years! He lived with them, talked with them, interacted with them. Although Jesus came to his people and was rejected, even killed by those "religious", he spent his time with the marginalized, the dirty, unloved, sinful, sick and sore.
Jesus identified with humanity, specifically, with Jewish Culture. He did not go to the church as a temple Pharisee and tell the people to COME TO ME, but rather, he went to them, into their world. While the book of Revelation reveals Jesus coming back as Lord and King, the first time he came as a marginalized, Galilean peasant, the son of a young scared virgin mother, born into a food trough among farm animals, only to spend 30 years in relative secrecy only to arise, and die on a cross homeless, penniless, denied by his best friends and murdered by his own creation.
So what....JESUS WAS A REAL MAN, FULLY MAN.
15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.' ") 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
Jesus had to be both God and Man.
Since sin has been committed by man, therefore sin must be atoned for by a man. Only a human being can be the perfect substitute for other human beings. The debt and obligation and responsibility are mankind's alone. Neither YOU or I, however, can atone for our sin to satisfy God's righteous requirements; our own disobedience already condemns us before a righteous God. WE are not a perfect sacrifice.
Furthermore, we're captive to sin; it's humanly impossible for us to release ourselves from its grip. Even if somehow, from this moment forward, we steeled ourselves to stop sinning (which is impossible), our record is still stained by the sin of our past.
That's our condition-having no possibly way to atone for our sin, nor any possible way to free ourselves from enslavement to it.
A divine rescue is necessary. We need a savior. And in order to be our savior, in order to pay our debt, this individual must be LIKE US-not just God in a form that merely appears to be human, but someone fully and truly human. Yet he must be unlike us as well, because he must be sinless, since only a perfect sacrifice is acceptable. He must be fully God, and not simply a man with a limited set of divine powers and abilities. *
*quoted from CJ Mahaney, Living the Cross Centered Life
32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
that we should come to trial together.
33 There is no arbiter between us,
who might lay his hand on us both.
34 Let him take his rod away from me,
and let not dread of him terrify me.
35 Then I would speak without fear of him,
for I am not so in myself.
No else could do it. Only Jesus Christ, truly God and fully man, could be our substitute and make his sacrifice.
What is Jesus like? He is like our God. What is our God like? He is like Jesus. If Jesus is God himself has no UNCHRISTNESS about him...when we see Jesus we see God. When see Jesus suffer, we see God suffer. When we see Jesus rejected, we see God rejected. When we see Jesus forgiving, we see God forgiving.
When we finally see Jesus in this light, we move away from religious obedience governed by fear and guilt and allegiance to a God that is distance, we begin to fall in love with Jesus because he's real.