For the rest of 2015 we will be looking at the Gospel of John. We’ve seen in Genesis and the Psalms that the Old Testament looks forward to the main event and the main event is Jesus, so it seemed to be a good idea to finish our year of Bible readings in the gospels. John was a close companion of the Lord Jesus and his account is quite different from those of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It would seem John’s purpose may have been different from the others and although it clearly stands apart, there is also the sense that it compliments them. Some of the most wonderful verses in the Bible are to be found in John. Let’s pray as we begin, that God will lead us into a deeper knowledge of himself as we read together.
It’s always a relief when children become old enough to talk, even using the simplest words. Prior to this it is really difficult know what they want especially when they are upset; are they hungry, are they teething, is the nappy dirty, are they in pain or just having a grumpy day? It’s often a process of elimination. However when the child begins to communicate it gets much easier. We use words to express ourselves, to convey how we feel and to reveal who we are.
John doesn’t begin with an account of Jesus’ birth and then supply more and more information so that we can see that Jesus is the Christ as in Matthew and Luke. He begins by describing the Word (in Greek ‘logos’). It reminds me a little of the start of Hebrews;
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
God has spoken to the world, he has revealed so much about himself and his great statement is Jesus, the eternal Word. There is so much here we can only scratch the surface. We learn;
- He is eternal; he existed before time began – ‘In the beginning was the Word’
- He is an individual and distinct from God, the phrase could be translated; ‘face to face with’ (Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary) – ‘the Word was with God’
- He was God, he possesses deity –‘the Word was God’
- Everything came into existence through him – ‘Through him all things were made’
- He brings life to mankind – ‘In him was life’
- He is the light of the world – ‘The true light that gives light to everyone’
- The Word, who was and is all of the above, was coming into this broken and sinful world – ‘The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world’
The gospels only make sense when we understand something of who Jesus is. He was born in poverty, became a refugee and an asylum seeker as a child. He was wrongly convicted though he had committed no crime. He was executed in a way that was humiliating, barbaric and cruel but some would say so what? If Jesus was just a good man it would be a fair point but he wasn’t. The one born into poverty and who then became a refugee was the one who made the universe. The one falsely tried and wrongfully convicted was the light and life of the world and the one who was crucified was the eternal deity – the Word was God!
When we can understand this, we get a glimpse of love that is beyond anything the human mind can conceive. We see grace that is bigger than our brokenness. We see a Saviour who is worthy of our worship.
“Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Father’s only Son;
God manifestly seen and heard,
And Heav’n’s belovèd one:
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.” (Josiah Conder)