I hope things are going well with you wherever you are. It’s a beautiful day here at the farmstead. It’s a very emotional week as our remaining animals are going to their new homes as the week goes along. By next week’s show, all the animals will be gone. It’s a very surreal experience. If you could remember Brittan and me during your prayer time, I’d sure appreciate it.
On the other hand, It’s just a couple weeks until we head for Scotland. We’re so excited about the trip. I hope you’ll follow our adventure on Facebook. All you need to do is search for ‘Scotland Rising’ on Facebook and like the page. We will update that page regularly with stories, photos, and prayer requests.
Today, we’re going to John Chapter one. Last week we started our journey in John with a look at the end of John’s gospel where he explained WHY he wrote what he did. His overt goal was proselytism. He wanted readers to not just know about Jesus life and teachings, he wanted readers to place their faith in Jesus as ‘the Christ, the son of God.’
Now, it’s time to go back to the beginning of the Gospel and look at the claims of Jesus, as recorded by John.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
These 5 verses must be some of the most elegantly written pieces of Theology in existence. It is an extremely controversial set of statements in the 21st century, because it categorically declares the Deity of Christ.
Liberal and humanist minds have always chafed at these verses… They identify Jesus as God, as eternal, as creator and as redeemer.
First, John says Jesus was ‘In the beginning’. John is deliberately identifying Jesus with ‘Elohim’ of Genesis 1. Somehow they are different but somehow they are the same. The word was with God, suggesting some distinction. In fact, I found a translation called, “The Scriptures 1998” that actually translates the word, God as ‘Elohim’. Wild. The word was God, suggesting equality. I’m not a theologian, nor do I play one on TV, but I can clearly see John is undeniably calling Jesus, God.
Those who argue against the deity of Christ, have worked hard to come up translations to try and make John say something less direct, but their arguments fall pitifully short. Even the extremely liberal RSV, is forced to translate verse one correctly. It’s simply impossible to do otherwise. The Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation tries to translate it the word was ‘a god’ with small g. And sometimes you might see it translated the word was divine or ‘godlike’. But to do so is simply allowing theological bias to drive the translation rather than the other way round. Sadly, I see this play out in a few other NT verses, but with this passage, only overtly pseudo Christian groups are bold enough to mistranslate John’s opening declaration.
By saying He was in the beginning, John is teaching the Eternality of Jesus. Before creation, only eternity and the eternal existed. Creation is the beginning of the bubble we call time. Jesus was there at the emergence of time. He is eternal.
John clearly identifies Jesus as creator when he says, By Him all things were made, and nothing was created apart from Him.
Finally John identifies Jesus as Redeemer when he says, In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
Quite frequently, light and darkness are considered opposites. You know, the opposite of light is darkness. In movies the Dark Force is often portrayed and the polar opposite of light, sometimes as even a necessary requirement to create balance in the universe. eg. The dark side of the force.
In both Scripture and in Science, darkness is not the opposite of light, rather it is the absence of light. They are not equals and it is never a fair fight. Light ALWAYS dispels darkness. And darkness can’t overwhelm light. No matter how deep the darkness, even the smallest light will send it running. In fact, the heavier the darkness, the more effective the light.
No matter what darkness does, nor how dense, it is impotent against the light. So John can say with confidence, a light has shined in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
I believe this is a reference to sin. Sin covered all the human race and it seems so omnipotnent. But Jesus sacrifice shined a light into the darkness and conquered it.
Many, maybe most of us are afraid of the dark. Darkness hides many secrets, many dangers, many monsters. And as long as the darkness reigns, they seem so powerful, but the instant a light shines in the darkness, the hidden is revealed. Some dark creatures, like rats and cockroaches go scurrying for cover and others are able to be dealt with in the light of illumination. The monster is slain, the bogey man is unmasked as a fraud. And in the same way, sin is defeated by the light of Christ. That’s why John can say in his first letter, ‘we want to be in the light, as He is in the light.
Right there my friends is the Gospel. Christ is the conqueror of darkness. It is defeated once and for all. The darkness is exposed. And that is Good News.
I could probably end here, but there is one more verse we absolutely MUST look at, and that is verse 14.
Joh 1:14 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.
If the first verse is controversial in the 21st century, it is verse 14 that caused all the arguments in John’s day.
We’ve talked on and on about Gnosticism but John 1:14, must have caused blood to come out of their eyes and ears. And the Word became flesh was in conflict with everything they believed. John does not say the word took on flesh, or the Word appeared to be flesh, but the Word BECAME flesh. The eternal became mortal. It is the perfect complimentary verse to Philippians 2 Php 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Php 2:7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
The true identity of Jesus of Nazareth has now been revealed. The mask is ripped off. He is the God Man, the one of a kind, full of Grace and Truth.
You can reject Him, but you can’t dilute the claim.