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First John: 1 John 5:6-Jesus Christ Came by Water and Blood Lesson # 192

First John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:04:34
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First John: 1 John 5:6-Jesus Christ Came by Water and Blood

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1 John 5:6 Jesus Christ is the one who came by water and blood—not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (NET)
1 John 5:6 This person is the one who appeared publicly by means of water as well as blood-Jesus Christ. Absolutely not by means of this water only but rather by means of this water as well as by means of this blood. Correspondingly, the Spirit is the one who testifies (about Jesus Christ) because the Spirit possesses eternally and inherently the characteristic, which is unique to Himself as deity, which is truth. (My translation)
1 John 5:6 marks a transition from 1 John 5:3-5 to 1 John 5:7-12.
The former teaches that the child of God’s faith that Jesus of Nazareth is the Father’s one and only Son appropriates the conquering power of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and session, which conquer Satan’s world system and organization.
The latter teaches that the Spirit who indwells the child of God testifies that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and as a result of possesses a relationship with the Father and the Son and also possesses eternal life.
1 John 5:6 begins with a declarative statement which asserts that Jesus Christ is the person who appeared publicly by means of water as well as blood.
Then, the apostle John employs a correlative clause which serves to reaffirm in emphatic terms the previous declarative statement and states that Jesus Christ absolutely did not appear publicly by means of this water only but rather by means of this water as well as by means of this blood.
The assertion that Jesus Christ appeared publicly by means of water and blood is caused a lot of consternation among interpreters of this verse.
Most of the problem revolves around the reference to water.
The same prepositional phrase “by water” appears three times in the gospel of John and in each instance, it is used in relation to John the Baptist (John 1:26, 31, 33) baptizing Jesus.
When Jesus was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:13–17).
Simultaneously, John 3:32-44 records John bearing witness that the Spirit descended like a dove and rested on Jesus, which was the Father’s manner of identifying for John the Baptist that Jesus was His Son.
Therefore, I interpret the reference to “water” as referring to John the Baptist baptizing Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River, which marked the beginning of the latter’s public ministry, which lasted for approximately three and a half years.
Some argue that this reference to water is referring to Jesus baptizing people rather than being baptized by John the Baptist but the problem with this view is that John 4:2 asserts that Jesus never baptized anyone but only His disciples.
Furthermore, this view does fit with the context of 1 John 5:6-8 since these verses are asserting that the Spirit, water and blood testify that Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnate Son of God and Savior of the world.
Thus, these verses are emphasizing the importance with adhering to the apostolic teaching concerning the person of Jesus Christ.
His baptizing people, which He never did, does not contribute to identifying who He was but when John baptized Him, the Father and the Spirit both identified Him as being the Son of God and Savior of the world.
Furthermore, Jesus baptizing people by no means testified to the fact that He was God’s Son and the Savior.
Another interpretation of the water here in 1 John 5:6 is that it is a reference to natural birth with the water being an allusion to either male semen or amniotic fluid.
Some interpreters argue that the water and the blood must be taken together since ancient Jewish sources believed that the human body is composed of water and blood, thus, the water and the blood is synonymous with Jesus coming “in the flesh” and refers to the human nature of the Son of God.
The problem with this view is that in 1 John 5:7-8, John does not take the water and blood together since in these verses he is thinking of them as two different items.
Lastly, some interpret the water as alluding to water baptism but this view does not fit the context of 1 John 5:6-8 since again these verses are asserting that the Spirit, water and blood testify that Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnate Son of God and Savior of the world.
Thus, these verses are emphasizing the importance with adhering to the apostolic teaching concerning the person of Jesus Christ.
The sacrament of baptism does not contribute to identifying who Jesus was and it does not testify to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world.
The “blood” is a reference to Jesus of Nazareth’s physical death on the cross, which marked the end of His public ministry and thus, together, they refer to Jesus Christ’s three and a half years public ministry.
As His death drew near the Father is recorded as saying in John 12:28 that “I have both glorified (My name) and will glorify it again.”
Also, the Father brought about supernatural darkness during the last three hours of the crucifixion followed by an earthquake, which tore the temple veil in two (Matt. 27:45, 50-53) and consequently, a centurion cried out “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54).
Also supporting this interpretation that the blood is a reference to Jesus’ physical death on the cross is that the only other reference to His blood in First John is 1 John 1:7 where it is used of His death on the cross.
Some argue that the reference to the blood is referring to the Lord’s Supper but this too does not fit the context of the passage or the historical context.
John is again refuting the docetic Gnostic teachers who rejected the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
John’s reference to the testimony of Spirit, water and the blood is related to the person of Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s Supper does not contribute to identifying who Jesus was and does not testify that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and Savior of the world.
Others contend that the water and the blood is a reference to the water and blood which poured out of Jesus’ chest after a spear was thrusted into His side after He died physically (John 19:34-35).
The problem with this view is that in John’s gospel, the order is reversed from 1 John 5:6 in that it says blood and water poured out of Jesus’ chest.
Also, the gospel of John is giving John’s testimony about the death of Christ whereas 1 John 5:6-8 is presenting the testimony concerning the person of Jesus Christ.
More importantly, this view does not take into account that 1 John 5:6 asserts that Jesus Christ “appeared publicly” by water and blood.
The blood and water pouring out of His chest after His death does not testify to the public ministry of Jesus as the incarnate Son of God and Christ.
Therefore, it is my view that the reference to water in 1 John 5:6 is alluding to His baptism which marked the beginning of His public ministry and the reference to blood as alluding to His death on the cross, which marked the end of this ministry.
The reason why John is emphatic that Jesus Christ appeared publicly by water and blood is that the false teachers whom John describes in this epistle taught that the divine Christ descended on the human Jesus at His baptism but left him before His crucifixion.
Consequently, they denied that one Person, Jesus Christ appeared publicly by water and blood.
Cerinthus was well-known in the late first century A.D. as propagated this false doctrine about Jesus Christ.
Here in 1 John 5:6, the apostle John makes crystal clear that this doctrine does not originate from the Holy Spirit.
In 1 John 5:6, the apostle John employs another declarative statement which corresponds to the emphatic correlative clause, which preceded it and states that the Spirit is the person who testifies about Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the correspondence between these two assertions is that Jesus Christ appearing publicly by means of His baptism and by means of His death and the Spirit’s testimony about Jesus of Nazareth that He is the incarnate Son of God and the Christ.
Both ideas correspond to each other since the Spirit’s testimony about Jesus took place through His entire three and a half year ministry which began with His baptism and ended with His death on the cross.
The apostle John mentions the Spirit’s testimony here in 1 John 5:6 in conjunction with the water and the blood, which speak of Jesus Christ’s baptism and death respectively, thus, the water and the blood mark the beginning and the end of Jesus Christ’s public ministry.
The Spirit testified during Jesus Christ’s ministry that He was the incarnate Son of God and the Christ, the Savior of the world.
Therefore, John writes the baptism and death of Jesus Christ and the Spirit all testify that Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnate Son of God and the Christ, the Savior of the world.
Furthermore, the Spirit testifies to the truth of the first statement in 1 John 5:6 that the Jesus Christ appeared publicly by means of water and blood since He inspired John to write this and this doctrine originates from Him.
1 John 5:6 ends with a causal clause which presents the reason for the assertion that the Spirit is the one who testifies about Jesus Christa and states that the Spirit possesses eternally and inherently the characteristic which is unique to Himself, which is truth.
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