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Who is Jesus?

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Who is Jesus?John 1:1-2

September 17, 2008

Sojourn Campus Church

Intro: Your opinion on many issues does not matter that much. Your favorite food, drink or activity will not change your life significantly. But there is one opinion that determines your whole life direction: Who is Jesus? John’s gospel focuses on this question with intensity unmatched anywhere else!

So tonight we read the beginning of John’s gospel and ask “Who is Jesus?”

Read John 1:1-18

Background:

1.      We will focus on John 1:1-2 this week.

2.      John 1:1-18 is known as the “Prologue” of John’s gospel.

3.      It is not poetry (in Greek sense) but is a metaphorically-rich prose poem introducing the themes of John’s gospel.

4.      Some have theorized that it existed separately from John, but this seems unlikely because of the tight coherence of the use of language here and in the rest of John’s gospel.

5.      There are many themes in John including salvation, eschatology, the Holy Spirit, the connection to the Old Testament, God’s people, the Lord’s Supper, faith and signs, but above all who Jesus is.

Inter: So who is Jesus?

T.S. John first asks this question with respect to God.

I. Who is Jesus in relation to God?

Read 1:1-2

1.      “In the beginning” reminds us of Genesis.

·        So John takes us back to the very beginning

·        Whereas Mark starts with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John takes us back to the beginning of Jesus’ essence!

·        But in the parallel to Genesis, what new thing is John introducing? The incarnation of the Word!

·        The Word always existed with God, always was God, but now became incarnate (1:14)

2.      “Was the Word;” the Word existed, was with God and was God before the creation. The Logos was with God from eternity.

·        Elohim in Gen 1:1 is plural noun, “created” is singular verb. So even in Genesis there is hint of “plurality” in the One God.

·        Here John moves us gently but quickly: it is God’s “Word” who was present, was both with God (separate identity) and was God.

3.      So we learn several things about the Logos and God:

·        The Word is co-eternal with God

·        The Word was in fellowship with God from eternity. Here is a radical nuance to Old Testament theology: “with-ness,” fellowship and communion, are an eternally existent reality within the Godhead. The human instinct for identity and relationship finds its genesis in the essentially relational nature of the Triune God.

·        The Word was God. There are both facts and mysteries here. The Word who was with God also was God! This is so radical in its implications that John repeats himself in verse 2.

4.      “Word” (= Logos) meaning

a.       To the Jews “by the Word of the Lord the heavens were made” so the Word is the expression of God’s will

b.      Greek notion Logos expressed rational principle of which all law is the expression

c.       John takes these and gives Logos even higher meaning: the self-expression of God himself

5.      Summary: So in two verses we are in mystery: The mystery of the Triune God!

APP: What does it matter? Very much! It reminds us that our deepest drives for relationship, unity in diversity, both friendship and the drive toward marriage are rooted in the very nature of God! Whatever else true spirituality involves, it involves relationship! The core of creation reflects the core of God himself: three persons in one unity. APP: This gives us two tasks in the human person:

1.      To discover and establish our true identity within creation and in Christ. This can involve painful facing of family identity and powerful healing in identity in Christ!

2.      Second task: to find whole relationships out of the wholeness of identity in Christ!

  • Two people seeking to fill their weaknesses find initial intoxication, later resentment. The differences grate.
  • In contrast: two people seeking to mature find friends of complementary strengths, grow together, and find wholeness in Christ.

All this is rooted in the Trinitarian theological perspective.

So the first question John addresses is, “who is Jesus in relation to God?”

Answer: he was eternally both with God and was God!

T.S. John asks another question about Jesus.

II. Second question: Who is Jesus in relation to creation?

Read John 1:3.

1.      The Word is the agent of creation. See Paul also Colossians 1:16

2.      John is addressing proto-gnostic thought

a.       They said: there are good and evil forces, they battle through history

b.      John says no! Nothing made apart from the Logos: no dualism of equal good and evil forces!

c.       John: yes the cosmos is in rebellion, but the evil, rebellious cosmos was made by the Logos!

3.      Notice that the Logos who would become human first created the humanity he would save by “taking on” their flesh.

4.      Like in Ephesians here is a picture of the Incarnation and cross and new creation all in view before the first act of creation!

APP:

1.      We are not created arbitrarily, but by the Logos for fellowship in eternity with the Logos (Jesus).

2.      In a way, it is a case of the groom creating the bride: he made as exactly as he wants us to be and delights in his creation!

Who is Jesus in relation to the creation? The Creator of that very creation, created for intimate fellowship with him!

Conclusion:

So who is Jesus?

Jesus is the Word who was with God and was God.

1.      Jesus immediately confronts us with mystery

Logos: the self-expression of God who also is God.

So what? The mystery of relationship is at the heart of God and existence!

·        Discover and establish your security and identity in Christ. This includes your natural family and spiritual family. The Logos made you and placed you in your family. There is long-term healing here

·        Find whole relationships out of the wholeness of identity in Christ!

Jesus is also the Creator

·        Know that, apart from sin and the fall, you were created by Jesus for Jesus for eternity! Let this transform you!

Let’s pray!

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