Monthly Archives: April 2010

John 1:9-13 – He Gives the Right

John 1:9-13 – He Gives the Right
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for John 1:9-13

John 1:9–13 (ESV) — 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.

I am purposely skipping verses 6-8 for now and will come back to them in a few weeks.

1) JOHN REVIEWS

John 1:9 — 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
• See “The Life and the Light” lesson.
John 1:10a — 10a He was in the world, and the world was made through him…
• See “The Word Was…” lesson.

2) JEWS REJECT THE RIGHT

John 1:10b–11 — 10b yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
• John has been describing the glory of Jesus Christ as the Word, God, Creator, the Light and the Life.
• He then brings us to something of a paradoxical observation.
• Jesus, the God of Israel who covenanted with His people “came to his own” yet they “did not receive him”.
How in the world is this possible?
If Jesus was as obviously God as John says, why did “his own” reject Him?

The Bible provides the answers to these questions:
The rejection of Jesus was prophesied in the OT.
• Isaiah 8:14 (ESV) — 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
• Isaiah 53:3 (ESV) — 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.
• Romans 11:7–8 (ESV) — 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
  o Here Paul quotes Isaiah 29:10 describing how the rejection of Jesus by Israel relates to the Gentiles being “grafted in”.
• Luke 19:41–42 (ESV) — 41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
  o Jesus, Himself, says “the things” are hidden from Israel.

POI – With regards to redemption of Israel as a nation, we learn in Zechariah 12:1-14 that at Christ’s 2nd coming, the people of Jerusalem will repent over the sin of rejecting Jesus.
• And a repentant nation of Israel will be saved, “I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem”.
• The first coming was to a nation that rejected Jesus; the second coming will be to a nation that doesn’t.
• In Revelation 7 we see, in the words of John MacArthur, “A missionary corps of redeemed Jews who are instrumental in the salvation of many Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation. They will be the firstfruits of a new redeemed Israel. Finally, Israel will be the witness nation she refused to be in the OT.”

The rejection of Jesus was explained in the NT.
• Romans 11:25–27 (ESV) — 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
  o Paul calls this “hiddeness” or “hardening” a mystery and that it has occurred for the sake of the Gentiles.

Summary of the rejection:
The rejection of the Messiah was part of God’s purpose and was foretold in the OT.
• This rejection ushered in God’s plan to redeem the Gentiles.
• Israel as a nation will be redeemed in Christ’s 2nd coming.
• Jesus first came “humbled and mounted on an ass” as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 and was rejected.
• But He will be “coming with the clouds” as prophesied in Daniel 7:13 and redeem Israel.

Let’s look at a specific example of how the rejection played out in Luke 4 (from Jesus Through Middle-Eastern Eyes).
• It will help us to get a little bit of background.
• Prior to and during Jesus ministry, Galilee had become known as “Galilee of the Gentiles”.
• Partly as attempt to stem the tide, nationalist Jews founded what were called “settler towns”.
• Nazareth was such a town.
• It was here that Jesus inaugurated His ministry.

Luke 4:16–21 (ESV) — 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The enormity of Jesus’ proclamation alone was astounding.
• But, it was the way he quoted Isaiah that would have been just as astounding to the Jews in Nazareth.
• In Luke 4:19 Jesus quotes Isaiah 61 and says “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.
• If we look at Isaiah 61:2 however, we see Jesus left something out.
  o Isaiah 61:1–4 (ESV) — 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
What did Jesus leave out?
• He left out that the Jews, who had been enslaved and oppressed by Gentiles throughout history, would be avenged at the hands of God.

But Jesus goes on to make things even more offensive.
• He had a reason for leaving this part of the verse out.
  o Luke 4:25–27 (ESV) — 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
What were the woman of Sidon and Naaman the Syrian?
• Jesus was proclaiming to these nationalist Jews, who had serious problems with Gentiles, that He Jesus was the Messiah of whom Isaiah spoke and that this Messiah was called to save the very ones that had oppressed Israel, the Gentiles!

And their reaction to Jesus is exactly what John meant when he tells us “his own people did not receive him”.
• Luke 4:28–29 (ESV) — 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

Who, then, are those that don’t reject the Messiah?
Who are those that are able to recognize Christ as Word, God, Creator and the Life?
Who can see the light He shines in the darkness and understand it?

3) JESUS GIVES THE RIGHT

John 1:12–13 (ESV) — 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.
• “Gave the right” denotes that Jesus has given us the freedom and capability (Strongs & TDNT) to become children of God by receiving and believing Him.
• John is telling us that the right to be children “is not obtainable through any racial or ethnic heritage (blood), personal desire (flesh), or man-made system (man)” – John MacArthur.
• It is a right that John says is “of God”.

This bestowal of “the right to become children of God” brings us back to the Life/Light/Psalmist discussion from last week.
• We learned that we are as dead spiritually without Christ as we are dead physically without Christ.
• Our spiritual person is as lifeless and unclean as the dust of our physical person.
• We can no more make ourselves alive spiritually as we could make ourselves alive from the dust.
• So those that see the light shine in the darkness and understand it are those that Christ gives this right.
• Psalm 36:9 (ESV) — 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

To be sure, John opens a can of worms here that has challenged the Protestant mind since the reformation.
What is the relationship between God bestowing this right (election) and our freewill?
• We won’t settle this issue in this class but we will wrestle more with it as we move through John’s Gospel.

POI – And the rest of the NT clearly echoes John’s words (and these are just a few):
• John 6:37 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
• Acts 13:48 (ESV) — 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
• Romans 9:14–16 (ESV) — 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
• Ephesians 1:4 (ESV) — 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
• Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
• 2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV) — 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
• 1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

One thing we can be certain of is that the Jew’s perception of what it meant to be a “child or promise” or a “child of Abraham” is radically challenged and altered by John’s Gospel and Jesus.
• John 1:13 (ESV) — 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
• Galatians 3:7 (ESV) — 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

See you next week.

John 1:4-5 – The Life and The Light

John 1:4-5 – The Life and Light
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for John 1:4-5

John 1:4–5 (ESV) — 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

1) IN HIM WAS LIFE

John’s description of Jesus as containing life is thick in meaning.
• Jesus was the source of life at creation.
• Jesus is the source of life at redemption.

Life at 1st creation:
• We covered Jesus as creator of everything last week, but we need to look quickly in Genesis again.
• Genesis 2:7 (ESV) — 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Life at 2nd creation (redemption/new birth):
• John 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
• John 5:26 (ESV) — 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
• John 10:28 (ESV) — 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
• John 14:6 (ESV) — 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
• Romans 6:23 (ESV) — 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
• 1 Corinthians 15:45 (ESV) — 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

There exists an important parallel between the life given at the 1st creation and the life given at the 2nd creation that John uncovers by alluding to Genesis.
• The Psalmist gives us a hint when he says, Psalm 119:25 (ESV) — 25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!

Genesis tells us that man was made from what?
• Genesis 2:7 (ESV) — 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Why is this significant…what’s the deal with dust?
• Genesis 3:14 (ESV) — 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
• Genesis 18:27 (ESV) — 27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
• 2 Samuel 16:13 (ESV) — 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.
• Job 30:19 (ESV) — 19 God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.
• Job 10:9 (ESV) — 9 Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?

From these verses, we get a picture of dust as:
• Part of a curse; Unworthy; Method of insult; Worthless; Death and to it we will return
There was nothing of value and no life in dust.
• And yet it was from dust that God “formed the man”.

And this brings us back to Psalm 119:
• Psalm 119:25 (ESV) — 25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
• In spite of being “dust made alive”, the one who fears God longs for a life in the word of Jesus.
• And giving life according to “the word” is exactly what John is doing in his Gospel.

The life that Jesus gave to dust “formed into man” parallels the life of redemption.
• Why? Because even though we have “creation life” we are “sin dead”.
• Romans 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
• Romans 6:23 (ESV) — 23 For the wages of sin is death…
• Ephesians 2:1 (ESV) — 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

Two verses highlight this parallel and also demonstrate how dire our circumstances are.
• Psalm 104:29 (ESV) — 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
  o No “breath of life” from God means no life because “in him was life”.
• John 11:25 (ESV) — 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
  o No “belief in the life” of Jesus means no life because “in him was life”.

We are no more spiritually alive without Jesus than we are physically alive without His breath!
Our spiritual death is as lifeless and dire as our existence as dust prior to the Word’s breath.

2) THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF MEN

So what happened to man that we are no longer mindful our humble beginnings from dust?
• We have become self-righteous and prideful; we are in sin.

Yet, in spite of that, the psalmist says God shows compassion on us that fear Him.
• Psalm 103:13–14 (ESV) — 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
• And John reveals that compassion to us as Jesus being the “light of men”.

What is light of Jesus?
• If light is that which is “emitted from a luminous body” – Strongs
• Then we can ask what, then, is contained or emitted in the light of Jesus Christ and what does it illuminate?

The answer is found, of course, in the Bible and in Jesus’ own words:
• Psalm 27:1 (ESV) — 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
• Psalm 36:9 (ESV) — 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
• Psalm 119:105 (ESV) — 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
• John 8:12 (ESV) — 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
• John 12:46 (ESV) — 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
• 1 John 1:5 (ESV) — 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
• 2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV) — 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…
So the answer to our question, “What does Jesus light emit and what does it illuminate” is:
• It emits salvation, truth, holiness, and it illuminates or reveals darkness (sin).
• So Jesus’ light to man is that He is bringing His salvation, truth and holiness to destroy the stronghold of the darkness of sin and it consequences – spiritual death and hell.

POI – another important note on the light of Jesus.
• Revelation 21:23 (ESV) — 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

3) THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS HAS NOT OVERCOME IT

Jesus’ light and its relationship to darkness is controversial and divisive.

First, it shows in clear and unambiguous terms the enmity between Christ and the world’s darkness.
• 1 John 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
• John 8:24 (ESV) — 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

So the light of Jesus brings a “rift between faith and unbelief” – TDNT.
• The light brings life to the believer and reveals the death that we are already in as unbelievers.
• Just as there was no life in dust w/o Christ, there is no spiritual life w/o Christ!

This rift revealed by Christ’s light is one reason why the world (and Satan) seek to “overcome it” or as Phillips Translation translates it, “put it out”.
• But as we learned from Paul, the light of Christ (as contained in the Gospel) will never be put out.
• 2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV) — 12 …But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me [which as we saw from a previous lesson,was the Gospel].

Second, Jesus light reveals an objective, transcendent difference between it and the wickedness of the world’s darkness.
• Proverbs 4:19 (ESV) — 19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
• John 3:19 (ESV) — 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
• Life without Christ is “deep darkness” and “evil works”.

All of us are enslaved by this darkness unless we have surrendered and believed in the salvation, truth and holiness of Christ’s light as just mentioned above.
• So where your Bible reads “comprehend” or “perceive”, this is the sense in which it is speaking.
• Jesus light is rejected by those in darkness because they love their darkness more.
• Now, John also reveals how it is that man, who is spiritually dead, can come to see, know and believe the Light.
  o More on this in future lessons.

POI – Jesus had something important to tell us about His light and the believer.
• Matthew 5:14–16 (ESV) — 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
• The believer is now the light of Christ!

To paraphrase John Piper, how is it that man, a dim candle, can be the light of Christ, a massive lightning bolt?
• Mark 16:15 (ESV) — 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
• 2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV) — 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
• The light is the GOSPEL and we are to proclaim the GOSPEL!

John 1:3 – He Made All Things

John 1:3 – He Made All Things

Review of last 2 weeks:
John, in verses 1 and 2 has thus far painted an enormous portrait of Jesus as:
• Eternal – He never began to exist and is uncreated.
• 2nd Person of the Trinity – He was “with God” as in had a person-to-person relationship with God within the triune godhead.
• God – Jesus is God.
  o The NT writers thought of him as God.
  o He thought of himself as God

So the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is also the Eternal, 2nd Person of the Trinity, Word that is God, a.k.a., Jesus.
• What an awesome declaration by a Jew!

And by portraying Jesus as the Logos of God, he was appealing to Greek philosophical thought.
• Plato, we are told, once turned to that little group of philosophers and students that had gathered around him during the Greek Golden Age in Athens and said to his followers, “It may be that some day there will come forth from God a Word, a Logos, who will reveal all mysteries and make everything plain” – James Boice.

• Both of these appeals by John remind me of Paul at Athens in Acts 17:23 when he says I am going to proclaim to you who God this is!

Coming Attraction:
Now that it is clear who Jesus is, in verse 3, John begins to show us what Jesus (the Word) does.
• And what he does is create.
• To the Jew, the idea that God created everything is nothing new.
  o But assigning that activity to Jesus is just one more indication that John saw Jesus as God.

1) ALL THINGS WERE MADE THROUGH HIM – HE CREATES

John 1:3 (ESV) — 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

I think we all know what “made” means and here the meaning is not much different than what we would expect.
• It is the Greek word “ginomai” and it means “to begin to be” or “to come into existence.”
• So the universe or Adam, for example, began to exist and so had an uncaused cause.
• Where it gets interesting is when you contrast “made” with the “was” in verse 1 and 2.
  o The “was” denotes the “continuous existence” of the Word.
• So we get a contrast of Eternal vs. Created giving us further affirmation of Jesus’ Divinity and Eternality.
• Plus John makes clear that “Jesus intended that we should recognize God’s existence” through what He made – James Boice.

The Bible echoes John’s declaration with respect to creator of everything that was made:
• Genesis 1:26 (ESV) — 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
• Job 26:13 (ESV) — 13 By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
• Psalm 102:25 (ESV) — 25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
• Isaiah 40:28 (ESV) — 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
• Isaiah 44:24 (ESV) — 24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
• Isaiah 45:12 (ESV) — 12 I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
• 1 Corinthians 8:6 (ESV) — 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
• Ephesians 3:9 (ESV) — 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
• Colossians 1:16 (ESV) — 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
• Hebrews 1:2 (ESV) — 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

So the point is clearly made that Jesus is Creator and everything else is created.
• But John makes another point which involves Jesus’ role in creation.
• Let’s take a look at this.

John tells us, in verse 3, that all things were made “through” him:
In fact, John repeats this phrase in verse 10.
• John 1:10 (ESV) — 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

And a quick look reveals that creation is not the only thing made or done “through him”:
• John 3:17 (ESV) — 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
• Acts 2:22 (ESV) — 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
• Romans 5:2 (ESV) — 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
• Ephesians 2:18 (ESV) — 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
• 1 John 4:9 (ESV) — 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

So what is John trying to convey by saying everything was made “through” him?
• Well, “through” means “that which intervenes between the act of the will and the effect, and through which the effect proceeds” – Strongs.
  o But honestly, that doesn’t help us much.
• How about this one, “Christ mediates the action of another, i.e., the action of God” in creation – TDNT.
  o It sounds about like the first one; not much help.

There are at least two ways that we can gain insight what John meant.

First, because John began his Gospel by alluding to Genesis, we should also look there to find insight:
• He separated the light and darkness – Genesis 1:4.
• He formed man from the “dust from the ground” – Genesis 2:7.
• He breathed into man’s nostrils the “breath of life” – Genesis 2:7.
• He “planted a garden in Eden” – Genesis 2:8.
• He “made to spring up” trees – Genesis 2:9.

So when John speaks of creation being “through him”, He means Jesus had an intimate role in physical creation.
• He got His hands dirty, so to speak.
• He is the potter and we are the clay.
• Jesus was hands-on in His creation.

Second, we can find insight by simply understanding what is to come in John’s Gospel.
• We just read above that John says, the world will be “saved through him”.
• In his letter, 1 John, we just read that we “might live through him”.
• We just read where Paul speaks of the fact that we have “access through him”.
• And in chapter 3, we will see that the “new birth” comes through him.

Quite simply, John is saying the hands-on, personal way creation was made through Jesus “…points forward to the new creation in the Redeemer, AND the original dependence of all things on the Son is thus a basis for his later seizure of power and for redemption in Him” – TDNT.
• In other words, Christ’s hands-on involvement in creation foreshadows His hands-on involvement in the new creation and redemption.

This is powerful imagery and truth at work here!
• The first creation was through Jesus, and guess what, salvation, redemption and the new birth – the 2nd creation – are through Him too.
• And just as Jesus was hands-on in the 1st creation, he will be so in redemption too (which John will make clear).
• How much more hands-on can you be than being made flesh and being crucified?!

BTW – It is my opinion that it makes sense in the reverse too.
• As hands-on as Jesus was in redemption, it speaks to just how involved Jesus was in creation.
• This leads me to our final point.

One more reason why John’s pronouncement of Jesus’ relationship to creation is significant:
It has to do with the beliefs of early Christians known as Gnostics.
• Gnostics were heavily influenced by Greek philosophy and held a number of heretical views.
  o The one that pertains to our text today is their belief that creation came through an “emanation” of God, not God himself.
  o To say God created matter directly was to blaspheme God because matter is evil.

Our text today, as we have just seen, clearly contradicts these Gnostic beliefs.
• Not only did Jesus create matter, but He became matter (vs. 14 – flesh).

Concerns with Jesus’ relationship to creation still linger to this day among some Christians.
• Though clearly affirming Christ’s incarnation, some still seek to escape the implications that arise from acknowledging that Jesus created this world.
• Motivated by this, they seek to distance Christ from making a world that is tainted by so much evil.

Francisco Ayala, a biologist and a former Dominican priest, is one such prominent Christian.
• His ideas concerning God as creator are best expressed by the “Evolution News & Views” blog:
• “He insists that the idea of God’s acting through ‘specific agency…amounts to blasphemy.’ For such direct control would imply that God bears responsibility for all the cruelties, pains, and dysfunctions that have accompanied the unfolding of life’s history.”

John was clear, “without him was not any thing made that was made.”
• It was made “through him” like redemption came “through him” – via personal involvement.
• We can’t run from this.
• To run from this is, in my opinion, to ignore the theological and practical effects of The Fall.
• And the Fall, of course, is why Jesus had to become “matter” to begin with.

Paul understood this:
• Romans 8:22–23 (ESV) — 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

John 1:1-2 – The Word Was… – Part 2

John 1:1-2 – The Word Was…Part 2

1) THE WORD WAS GOD

John 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

Today we deal with one of the more controversial statements concerning Jesus Christ.

  • theos ēn ho logos – The Word was God.

Many liberal scholars say that the translation should read the Word was “divine in quality” or “a god”.

  • This is because theos, ‘God’, does not have an article.
  • But conservative scholars argue that John’s grammar in fact makes it clear:
    • “By placing the article “the” before “Word,” [instead of before God] “Word” must be the subject of the linking verb “was,” and the statement can only be rendered “the Word was God” – NTSK.
    • Not to mention that “there is a perfectly serviceable word in Greek for ‘divine’ (namely theios)” – John MacArthur.

Was Jesus Christ God?

  • Jews don’t think so.
  • Muslims don’t think so.
    • Muslim slogan states “There is no God, but God” – AYBD.
  • Atheists don’t think so.
  • And certainly many Protestants don’t think so.
    • “I reject the virgin birth. I reject substitutionary atonement. I reject the divinity of Jesus. I reject heaven and hell in the traditional sense, and I am not alone” – Darryl, a Presbyterian Minister as quoted from Daniel Dennett’s study on unbelieving clergy.

But John is telling us that the Word, Jesus Christ, is God.

  • Or as C.K. Barrett puts it, “the deeds and words of Jesus are the deeds and words of God”.
  • And he goes on to say that “if this be not true the book [John] is blasphemous” – C.K. Barrett.

The Bible certainly is unified in its assessment of Jesus’ divinity:

  • Jeremiah 23:5–6 (ESV) — 5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch… 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
  • John 20:28 (ESV) — 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
  • Titus 2:13 (ESV) — 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
  • 2 Peter 1:1 (ESV) — 1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
  • 1 Corinthians 16:21–24 (ESV) — 21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

So it is clear that the NT writers considered Jesus to be God.

  • We must ask the question, where did they get this idea that Jesus is God?
  • Did they just make it up or did they learn of it from Christ Himself?
  • If the belief in Christ’s divinity didn’t come from Jesus Himself, then “the belief of the earliest Christians in this regard becomes inexplicable” – William Lane Craig.

With regards to Jesus view of His own divinity:

  • There are liberal scholars (Jesus Seminar) who claim that Jesus never claimed divinity for Himself.
  • And any instance in the Bible where it seems that he does was added in later.
  • There are also Christian movements (Emergent Church) that say we read too much into it.
  • As just noted, however, Christ as God was taught by the earliest Christians.
    • If they didn’t learn this from Christ, one must speculate from where they learned this and why they would teach this and why they would die for something they knew not to be true.

And while it is true that Jesus did not make it a habit of going around telling people, “I am God.”

  • Both His words and even more so in His actions, it is clear that He thought of Himself as God.
  • And both His words and His actions were the source of the NT writers’ claims of His divinity.

We will examine how and why.

Examples of Jesus’ ACTIONS and WORDS and why they reveal that “the Word was God”:
In “A Reasonable Faith”, W.L. Craig examines at least 13 aspects of Jesus ministry that indicate His divinity.

  • We will take a look at the following 4:
    • His approach to teaching and the Law
    • His use of the phrase, “Truly, Truly I say to you”
    • His miracles
    • His view of salvation

One – His approach to teaching and the Law:
A typical rabbi’s teaching style was seen to be authoritative because the source material from which they taught was deemed to have authority.

  • They would quote the law, the prophets or oral law and explain what it means.
  • Jesus, in stark contrast, taught as one who was the very source of authority – even above that of the law and the prophets.

The best example of this is seen in the Sermon on the Mount.

  • In Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, & 43, we see the following method:
    • “You have heard that it was said… VS. …But I say to you…”
  • Here we see that Jesus “placed his personal authority on a par with that of the divine law” and “he adjusted the Law on his own authority.” – Craig

But Jesus’ view of His authority is even more profound than this – see Matthew 5:31-32:

  • “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
  • Here, Jesus claims the authority to actually change, correct and reinterpret the law! (See Mark 10:2-9)

From these examples, we see that Jesus saw Himself as the source of authority for the law.

  • “Jesus seems to assume an authority over Torah that no Pharisee or OT Prophet assumed – the authority to set it aside.” – Ben Witherington.
  • Jewish scholar Ben-Chorin states, “The sense of the unique, absolute authority that is evident from this way of acting remains deeply problematic for the Jewish view of Jesus.”
    • This is because from a Jewish perspective, only God has the authority to give the law.

Two – His use of the phrase, “Truly, Truly [amen] I say to you”:

  • John 3:3 (ESV) — 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
  • John 6:53 (ESV) — 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
  • John 8:51 (ESV) — 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
  • John 8:58 (ESV) — 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

From Jesus’ use of this phrase, we see that He saw Himself as the source of authority for truth.

  • This phrase is historically unique to Jesus.
  • Often, the phrase is followed by a new or revised exhortation that is disobeyed at the listeners own peril.
  • Jesus refers to himself, “I say to you”, when he makes such exhortations.
  • This is why Jewish scholars say, “This ‘I’ is in itself sufficient to drive Judaism away from Gentiles forever” – Ahad ha’Am.
  • A prophet of God would have said, “Truly, truly, God says to you.”
  • Only God would say “I”.

Three – His miracles (one example of many):

  • John 9:1–3 & 6-7 (ESV) — 1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him…. 6 Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

Jesus healed the man by His own authority.

  • He gave no credit to anyone else nor did he ascribe the source of the power to heal to anyone else.
  • He did not pray for the healing, He just did it.
  • Matthew 11:4–5 (ESV) — 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
    • Here Jesus makes a reference to Isaiah 35:1-6 and by implication is saying God is here and is doing what Isaiah say He would do and I am He.

This would not have gone unnoticed by witnesses (especially in light of His claims to be Messiah, etc.).

  • In fact, in Judaism, God is the one who heals the sick of Israel (Howard Kee & W.L. Craig).
  • 2 Kings 5:7 (ESV) — 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

POI – By comparison, the disciples healed in the following manner:

  • Acts 3:6–7 (ESV) — 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

Four – His understanding of salvation (one example of many):

  • John 14:6–7 (ESV) — 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Who is the source of authority on salvation? God is.

  • But Jesus says He is!
  • Salvation comes from God + Jesus words that He, Himself, is “The way” = Jesus is God.
  • Know Me + is to know God AND See Me + is to see God = Jesus is God.

Summary of Jesus Words and Actions:

  • Jesus knew the OT, Jewish theology and Jewish expectations.
  • He knew His actions were going to be interpreted as one who was taking upon Himself the authority of God.
    • This truth is borne out not only in how the Jews responded to him, but also by how all unbelievers respond to him now.
  • We have examined only 4 of at least 13 facets of Jesus ministry that point to his Divinity.
  • And in just those 4, we see how Jesus purposely asserted and claimed an authority that only God could rightly claim.
  • So the simple truth is He is either God or an insane heretic.
    • “When Jewish scholars do consider the personal claims or self-understanding of Jesus, the majority conclude that Jesus did consider Himself to be the Messiah, though, of course, they consider Him to have been tragically deluded in this opinion” – William Lane Craig.

So the third brush stroke of the context John is painting for us is:

  • “Here is a man who thought of Himself as the promised Messiah, God’s only Son, the Danielic Son of Man to whom all dominion and authority would be given, who claimed to act and speak with Divine authority, who held Himself to be a worker of miracles, and who believed that peoples eternal destiny hinged on whether or not they believed in Him…Jesus did intend to stand in the very place of God Himself” – W.L. Craig.
  • Jesus is God!