John 1:1-28 April 30th 2018

Focus questions:

  1. In your day to day life do you stop to consider that everything we have came from Jesus?
  2. Does the fact that Jesus was there at creation literally forming the world that He choose to come down to and be mistreated by in order to redeem us impact your daily life?
  3. Do you have a right perspective on yourself, or do you think of yourself more highly than you ought?
  4. Are you willing to be bold for Christ, even if that means leaving some comforts behind?
  5. Do you love the dark or the light? Another way of asking that is do you have a secret life that you would be ashamed if it came out, or are you an open book with nothing to hide?

 

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. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

God is three in one. He is one God but has three distinct persons. It can sometimes be tempting to think of things to simply and think God the Father was there from the beginning and created everything. Then Jesus showed up some 4,000 years later and walked the earth living the only perfect life and dying the death we deserve. Then sometime after Jesus ascends into heaven is when the Holy Spirit comes into play. At least that was the understanding I had from growing up in church. The truth of it hurts your head to try to understand. The truth is that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present at creation. There was God the trinity and nothing and then God created everything through spoken word, that Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt amongst us. All things were made through Christ Jesus. In Jesus is the only place that we can truly have life. He is the light of the world and has come to shine in our dark world.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

I love John. This is not John the disciple that wrote this gospel we are reading, this is John the Baptist. John had an important role to play, he was the forerunner to Christ. The one who came before to make the way straight, yet he knows his place. He does not think of himself more highly than he ought, but he seems the reality of the situation. John knows he was hear to bear witness to the light. We are much the same, our lives are meant to bear witness to Christ. If that were not the case we would be saved and brought right into heaven. Our lives have meaning and purpose, especially once we know our creator. Our purpose at the core is to make Jesus known by our lives. That will play out different in each person’s life, but that is the basis of everyones calling.

9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As many as receive Him He gives life to them. Jesus as come for the sake of all, but not all receive Him. He came to His own, meaning the Jews, but they received Him not. He came to the Jews first, but then He came to the entire world as well. Do you know Him? Have you received Him?

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Really sit in that for a moment. The Word, Jesus, who was there from the beginning, who formed and created everything, took off His majesty and put on flesh to  come and dwell among us. He left the splendor of heaven to come down here and dwell amongst us, all the while knowing the death that He would ultimately face in order to ransom our souls, so that we could one day have the hope of entering the glory of heaven and spend eternity with Him there. Sometimes we can quickly pass by verses like these, especially if we have grown up in church and it seems like the millionth time we have heard it. The reality of how awesome this fact is does not change, regardless of how many times we have heard it. As we grow in the Lord the reality of what this really means should deepen each time we hear it and we should be in awe of our God.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jesus is one who was before John because He was there at the beginning of creation. But in a physically sense He came after John. From other gospels we know that elizabeth was about 6 months along with John when Mary visited knowing that she was with child, that she had just began to carry Jesus. Jesus though is preferred before John, He is the one that all of Israel had been longing to see revealed. He brings grace and truth into our lives. His grace is grace upon grace, it is grace in abundance. We never see the physical form of God the Father, but we do see God revealed physically in the form of Jesus.

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

They could tell that John had something different going on, but they could not quiet figure out what was going on. They knew that they were waiting for the Messiah and they also knew that Elijah was to come before the Messiah came. Os they set out to ask some questions. They have also spent four hundred years now in silence, no prophets. Elijah answers them all truthfully that he is none of them.  

22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

John answers rightfully about himself. He is simply one crying in the wilderness to make straight the way of the Lord. He was literally in the wilderness. The wilderness can also be a dry and weary land, spiritually speaking. I think we can all agree that we live in that place of spiritual dryness. Are we a voice calling out pointing the way to Christ? Do we follow John’s example in that?

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Baptism was something that was already being practiced. It was an offshoot of ceremonial cleanses and was mostly used for gentiles who were wanting to become Jews. Those who were questioning him wanted to know why he thought he had the authority to do such a thing. John then goes about explaining to them what his baptism is really all about. It was a simple and humble admittance of repentance and a heart that was wanting to prepare for the coming Messiah. Even in this answer John points to Jesus the Messiah as one who is greater than he who John recognizes he is not even worthy to do even the most degrading task of taking off someone’s shoe. Do we hold Jesus in such High esteem in our lives?

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