The condition of our hearts requires reconciliation to God and daily help to grow in our faith. As faulty humans, we often look for solutions through a multitude of self-initiated efforts and achievements. If you need an illustration of this reality, just look at the latest book bestseller list.
Our Christian faith operates in an opposite direction from this impulse and the Gospel of John is a great place to anchor the place from which we truly derive our help. It points us to Jesus, the Author, Sustainer, and Finisher of our faith. If we need help or healing, we should look only to Him. It is why John Stott wrote in The Radical Disciple, “Nothing is more important for Christian discipleship than a fresh, clear, true vision of the authentic Jesus.” In Jesus, we will find all we need. In John 1:1-5, we are given a revelation of Jesus’ character, nature, and work. It reads,
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
1. Jesus is the God of eternity. The gospel writer makes the bold claim that Jesus is divine. He is not saying that Jesus is like God or has some God-like characteristics. He is God. He preexisted our universe. When John uses the term Word to refer to Jesus, he triggered two philosophical concepts from the First Century. To the Greeks, the term logos was considered to be the defining principle related to ordering the entire cosmos. To the Hebrews, the companion idea in their language dabar related to God’s active power of ordering life. John makes the revolutionary claim that Jesus was God, was with God before our creation, and is essentially the true deity.
2. Jesus is the Creator of the universe. Psalm 33:6 states, “The heavens were made by the word of the Lord, and all the stars, by the breath of his mouth.” As Jesus was active in creation, it positions Him as Lord. We need to be reminded that these two ideas about God are intrinsically linked. Because He is has created all things, He is the authority over all things… including us.
3. Jesus is the Source of all life. Throughout his Gospel account, John consistently shows that Jesus gives us life. Jesus does so physically as the Creator and do so spiritually as the Savior. Some of the reference points in John’s Gospel that point to our spiritual source of life in Jesus include 3:16; 5:40; 6:51; 10:10, 28; 11:25; and 14:6.
4. Jesus is the Light in the darkness. The imagery of light is attached to God throughout the Bible. John’s Gospel helps us to see it as a particular description of Jesus. It is a common idea for us. When we don’t know something, we are “in the dark about it.” When we are hoping to achieve against all odds, we are “taking a shot in the dark.” The Bible uses darkness as a reminder that we live in a world estranged from God, spiritually ignorant and blind, fallen and sinful, and dominated by Satan’s schemes. In Isaiah 9:2, the prophet declared, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” Jesus fulfills this prophecy. He is greater than the Law, Wisdom Literature, and the Prophets. The darkness cannot fully understand Him. It cannot overcome Him. He conquers it completely.
The proclamation of Jesus’ identity by John has three results.
- Asserts His authority. Since Jesus is the eternal God, Creator and source of life, then He has the right to claim authority over everything including you. You have zero claim of authority over yourself. All claims of authority outside of God’s rightful rule are an act of rebellion.
- Demands a response. For skeptic, demands a response of faith or rejection. For believer, demands a response of faithfulness or selfishness.
- Offers hope. As the claim is that Jesus is God and with God, then the claim of what He does for us to relate us to God can be supported. Jesus overcomes the darkness of sin, rebellion, the enemy, and judgment. The hope we are looking for comes from the One with the authority to offer it and the power to deliver it. He is The Word by which all things are created, all life is held together, and all hope is distributed.
As part of my sermon series through the Gospel of John, I’ll be posting summaries of my messages and sermon notes. You can listen to the messages at FirstBradenton.com.