Mar 11, 2022 – part 2

JOHN 1 – Inspired by God, John tells us EXACTLY why he’s writing his Gospel: “…so 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, ESV) John 1 introduces many titles/descriptions of exactly who Jesus is that will be unpacked through the book.

Jn 1:1-2 – Jesus is the living Word of God. Verse 14 makes crystal clear that “the Word” is Jesus. He has eternally been WITH God the Father and He IS God. People try to wriggle out of the full weight of this. Some point out that John’s Gospel is written years after the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and try to act like the deity of Jesus (that Jesus is fully divine / fully God in the flesh) was later INVENTED by the early church. No way! In Mark 2:1-12 (one of the earliest Gospels) you have Jesus forgiving sins and the Jewish leaders shocked because only God can forgive sins. And of course you have the parallel to that story in Matthew, and many other clear indicators of His divinity for those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

Jn 1:3 – Notice that God did not just START creation and then let evolution take over! “ALL THINGS” were made through Jesus. Yet one more reminder for the cults that try to present Jesus as himself a created being that’s somewhat divine, but less divine than God the Father. No – “ALL THINGS” that were made were made by and through Him! Meaning He Himself is NOT a created being but Himself (along with God the Father and God the Spirit – see Gen 1) the CREATOR!

Jn 1:4-5 – Jesus is the LIFE and the LIGHT that is bigger and stronger than the darkness. What good news in this dark world!

Jn 1:6-8 – A word about John the baptizer who prepared the way for Messiah Jesus. NOT the same John that work this Gospel – the writer of this Gospel is the beloved apostle (see John 21:24).

Jn 1:9-13 – Notice that the human will is certainly involved. In v 12, saving belief is equivalent to receiving Jesus. We must keep being clear that this is the Jesus of the Bible, NOT a Jesus someone designs on their own, picking elements that they like as if from a buffet. Saving belief is receiving the Jesus presented in the Gospels, who came as the perfect Lamb of God to take away our sin (see v 29, 36), not make us feel good about ourselves. Saving belief is receiving Jesus as God in the flesh, with all authority to turn over what we’re comfortable with (see John 2:13-22) and tell us exactly what our lives should be. The human will IS involved – each of us has a responsibility (so I’ve written “R” next to Jn 1:12) to receive/believe this Jesus presented in the Gospels. But our will is NOT the fundamental thing. Jn 1:13 makes clear that a sovereign miracle of God (so I’ve written “S”) is the deeper explanation of the new birth. This will be unpacked more in Jn 3:3-8, and Eph 2:1-10 gives even more detail.

Jn 1:14 – When you connect Jn 1:1 and Jn 1:14 it’s clear that Jesus is God in the flesh. The fancy theological word is INCARNATION. From the hymn Hark, the Herald Angels Sing: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see (Col 2:9), hail the incarnate Deity. Pleased as God with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.” In the original Greek language, v 14 literally says that He “tabernacled” among us. Jn 1:1-5 is full of references to Gen 1 and the creation, and Jn 1:14-18 has multiple references to Exodus. In our OT readings we’re coming up to God’s instructions for the tabernacle, and we should look for pointers that will be fulfilled in Jesus who tabernacled among us.

Jn 1:14, 17 – “grace and truth” – Jesus (and He’s the ONLY human that has ever gotten this perfectly right) is the perfect blend of BOTH. Many people so emphasize what they call “grace” (though they might call it “love” or “tolerance”) that they really minimize truth, and that’s a deadly ditch. But others over-correct and miss the narrow road of “grace AND truth” and go into the OTHER deadly ditch of so emphasizing certain truths that they have no room for grace (of course that means that they’re NOT really presenting the whole truth).

Jn 1:14 – “Son from the Father” – NOT in a way that means He’s LESS divine than God the Father, but in a way that shows He is PERFECT human representative of His Father and fully equal in divinity with His Father (compare Jn 1:18 and Jn 5:18, 23).

Jn 1:15 – Jesus was after John in physical age because John was six months older (see Lk 1:26-37). But Jesus is also the eternally existing Creator (see Jn 1:1-3)!

Jn 1:21 – How does this fit with Lk 1:17, Mk 9:11-13, Matt 11:14? Since the end of the OT prophecies (see Mal 4:5), Jewish people were looking for the return of Elijah (remember that he didn’t die but was just taken up to heaven in a whirlwind that followed the fiery chariot – see 2 Kings 2:11-12). John the baptizer is letting them know that he’s NOT actually Elijah returned from heaven, but the angel told John’s father that John IS the fulfillment of that prophecy in Mal 4:5, and is coming in the “spirit and power” of Elijah.

Jn 1:19-28 – John the baptizer is wonderfully clear that it’s NOT about him, but that he is preparing the way for the Christ/Messiah (“Christ” is closer to the Greek and “Messiah” closer to the Hebrew way of saying the “Anointed” One – the One promised in all the Scriptures).

Jn 1:29, 36 – Jesus is the LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world. Notice how “grace and truth” (Jn 1:14, 17) come together in Jesus. He is God’s perfect sacrificial Lamb, which emphasizes the TRUTH about how awful our sin is to God. But He freely gave His life as the perfect sacrifice so that hell-deserving sinners like us could be forgiven and our sins taken AWAY!

Jn 1:33 – John baptized with water, but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit (that’s what the book of Acts is all about).

Jn 1:34 – “Son of God” – see notes by v 14.

Jn 1:37 – John wasn’t jealous about this – this is why he came – to point people to Jesus! Compare Jn 3:22-30 where Jewish leaders tried to stir up jealousy in John about Jesus. John’s summary: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn 3:30).

Jn 1:40 – We don’t get a lot of details about Andrew. Even here, he’s introduced as “Simon Peter’s brother”. But we keep seeing him throughout the Gospels bringing people to Jesus. Just like John’s attitude in v 29-37!

Jn 1:46 – “Come and see.” – Great model for how to interact with those who are initially cynical/antagonistic about Jesus. Not an ARGUMENT, but an INVITATION!

Jn 1:47-51 – Jesus says things to Nathanael that overwhelm Nathanael with evidence that Jesus knew his heart/thoughts and confesses Jesus as the Son of God and the promised King of Israel. Jesus receives all that praise as accurate and adds another title He loves to use of Himself – “Son of Man” (see Dan 7:13-14). Jesus makes multiple references to Jacob/Israel and his vision of the stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending (compare “no deceit” in Jn 1:47 to Jacob’s name hinting at guile and compare Jn 1:51 to Gen 28:10-17). Because of this, Nathanael may well have been meditating on the story from Gen 28 when he was sitting under the fig tree. Don’t miss that in Jn 1:51 Jesus Himself IS the stairway between heaven and earth! He makes it absolutely clear in Jn 14:6 that no one comes to God the Father except by/through Him!

Optional Psalm 49:1-12 – No matter your background, ethnicity, or wealth ALL DIE and we must be ready for that. In times of trouble when the wicked SEEM to be winning (see Ps 49:5-6) we should remember the END of the story (see Rev 21-22 for more details)! Compare Ps 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Optional Proverbs 13:23-25 – Prov 13:24 is SO counter-cultural, but we’ve several times had our grown kids thank us for disciplining them biblically over the years and NOT letting them act like the world should be centered around the and what they want. If our young ones were disobeying, we wouldn’t yell or argue. We’ll quietly slip out of wherever we were, go into our vehicle and biblically apply Prov 13:24 letting them know we loved them enough to obey God in how they should be reared. When getting ready to apply the rod talked about in v 24 we’d often read/quote verses like this. And after firmly applying the rod of v 24 we’d finish by tenderly hugging and praying together and thanking God that He sent His own Son as the perfect Lamb of God for sinners like us (both the child AND parent) – see Jn 1:29, 36.