Scripture Focus- John 1:1-5
The Gospel of John is an eyewitness account of the character, nature, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Matthew, Mark and Luke are known together as the ‘Synoptic Gospels’- synoptic is a Latin word coming from the Greek word synopsis- meaning to see all together in a synopsis, or to basically see in the same format, from the same perspective- these Gospels give an account of the events in the life of Jesus from the same point of view. 90% of John’s Gospel is not contained in the others, it is unique material. It was probably written sometime around 80 A.D.
There is not a signature in the book or anything that identifies the author specifically as John. The early church fathers attributed the Gospel to the Apostle John. Irenaeus (130-200) said in the early days he used to sit in Polycarp’s house and listen to him tell about his talks with John and others who had seen Jesus. Irenaeus also reported that Polycarp came to know Jesus through the witness of the Apostles.
The author refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 19:26; John 20:2; John 21:24). The inner circle of the Apostles was made up of Peter, James, and John. James was the older brother of John. Their father was Zebedee, who ran a fishing business in Galilee. Their mother was Salome. Jesus first encountered John and James, on the shores of Galilee, and invited them to come and follow Him.
Together James and John were known as the Sons of Thunder. In one incident, Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem when they ran into trouble. Jesus attempted to find accommodations for the night in one place, but was met with opposition from the villagers, because He was on the way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw the opposition, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’Luke 9:54 Jesus rebuked them. There were likely other times they lived up to the name.
John was the only disciple present at the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus told him to watch over Mary, the mother of Jesus. According to church tradition and history, John is the only Apostle who was not martyred for his faith. The Book of Revelation states that John lived on the Greek Island of Patmos, where he was considered an exile, as a result of the anti-Christian persecution under the Roman Emperor Domitian. We are not certain when or where he died ultimately, but it has always been said that he died at Patmos, likely of old age, unlike the other disciples who died as martyrs according to tradition.
The theme of the Gospel of John-
John 20:30-31 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.
Believe- a word John uses 98 times in his writings.
Belief/faith- Involves the head, heart, & will. What you believe in, where you place your faith, is a matter of life and death, it is a matter of eternity.
Word= logos- Basically refers to an expression of thought.
The Hebrew concept of the Word is essential in the Old Testament. The Word ‘dabar’ of the Lord expresses one of the most important ideas in the Old Testament. The Word of the Lord was the basis for covenants, laws, the giving of The 10 Commandments, God’s relationship with Israel, the proclamation of the prophets, and continued guidance for God’s people. God did so many things, and the Word of the Lord was the active agent, through which God accomplished His will in the world.
The Greek concept of the word was very different. They viewed logos as the rational mind that ruled the universe. Heraclitus the Greek Philospher, saw in the common term logos, a basic defining principle related to the ordering of the cosmos. Stoics expanded the use of the term, to refer to the divine principle that permeates the orderly universe. Logos was thought of as a bridge, between the transcendent deity and the material universe.
Biblically, logos is not an impersonal force, but a personal God who cares about the world, and who has spoken. God speaks clearly, fully, and savingly in Jesus the Word. Logos is the embodiment of the total message of God. It is a Heaven to Earth Message.
3 Characteristics of Jesus The Word from John 1:1-5
Jesus The Word Is Eternal
V1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.v2 He was with God in the beginning.
John begins in eternity past- there is no story as in the Synoptic Gospels, of the birth of Jesus, His baptism, temptation, and so forth. John goes all the way back to eternity.
This parallels Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God. . .
The Word existed, and always existed, before He came into the world. This is critically important to how we understand who Jesus is. The Word existed in the beginning with the closest possible relationship with the Father.
The Word was God- He has all the attributes, and qualities of God, and is of the same essence as God the Father.
Jehovah’s Witnesses falsely teach that Jesus was not eternal but was a created being, just as the heretic Arius did in the early days of the church. If Jesus was a created being, then He is not God, He is a lesser being. They stake their claim based on the fact there is not a definite article- it doesn’t say- the Word was a God, it says the Word was God. They falsely inserted the definite article in The New World Translation. The accurate translation ‘the Word was God’ is the only way to say it.
Many other passages affirm the deity of Jesus-
Thomas encountered the resurrection Lord and he exclaimed ‘My Lord and my God!’ John 20:28
John encountered Jesus in the vision of eternity that he was given- “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look- I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18
The Doctrine of the Trinity is expressed in several places in the Bible- at Creation, and in the Great Commission being two obvious ones. The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity- ‘God is one in essence and three in person- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.’
The concept of eternity is difficult for us to understand. Everything is measured by a point of reference past, present, future– before, during, after. Time equals limits- yet Jesus the Word knows no such limits.
The Jewish leaders questioned Jesus about who He was. He said in John 8:56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day, he saw it and rejoiced. V57 The Jews replied, ‘You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham? V58 Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.’ This linked to Yahweh’s ‘I am’ statement in Exodus 3:14. They well understood what He was claiming- eternal nature, and deity. They considered it to be blasphemy. V59 They picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out to the temple complex.
Jesus the Word, the altogether lovely One, born in Bethlehem, existed from all eternity. Only God is eternal, so if Jesus the Word is eternal, then He is God. He was sent forth as One who already was. The eternal entered time, the invisible became visible.
Jesus The Word Is Creator
V3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
This is a profound truth communicated with remarkable clarity. There has never been anything created that Jesus the Word did not create. It is impossible for Him to have been created, if He created all things! God the Father is the Creator of all. Jesus the Word is declared to be the active agent of Creation. The creation account in Genesis 1 makes reference to the Trinity v26 Let us make man in our image. The Spirit of God was present at creation, hovering above the face of the deep.
There is overwhelming evidence for the deity of Jesus the Word, and for the Son as the active agent of creation. For the Son to be the Creator of all things, that would mean He existed eternally and was not a part of creation, and He existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross- whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Paul carefully defined the fullness of Christ’s work, power, and function as Creator. All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him.
The scope of His work was all things that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. Not only physical and visible things, but all things. This even extends to all authorities. He created, and rules over all creatures- angels, human beings, animals- all things.
Everything created exists by a cause outside of itself and before itself. But Jesus the Word is the Original Cause. All things hold together in Him. Jesus the Word has first place in everything, in Him all the fullness of God dwells, and through the blood of the cross we are reconciled to Him.
Jesus The Word Is Life
V4 Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.
Life is used 36 times in John’s Gospel, more than any other NT Book.
Life first refers back to creation, and then forward to salvation. Life refers mainly to spiritual life, eternal life, which is the opposite of spiritual death and condemnation.
John 5:24 Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.
To say Jesus is the life is to say the purest truth about the nature of God that He possesses.
We need the gift of life. The Word is the source of all life- He is the principle of life. We are spiritually dead and in the dark, apart from the life and light of God. Jesus the Word came to bring us life.
That life was the light of men- Life brings light. The darkness did not overcome the light. Light is invincible and cannot be overcome. Darkness failed to overcome the Light.
Light is triumphant over darkness. Jesus came to shine light into the darkness of evil, unbelief, judgment and death.
John 8:12 I am the Light of the world.
The light comes together with life in a metaphor for the purpose of clarity and contrast. God’s life is holy and true. This is a good reminder for us when we look around and darkness seems to be gaining ground. Darkness cannot overcome the light!
Do you believe in Jesus the Word?