2006-12-17_Life and Light_John 1.1-18_SL
Life and Light
John 1:1-18 | Shaun LePage | December 10, 2006
A. Words are so important! Best way to communicate—must choose right words.
B. “When Pepsi-Cola invaded the huge Chinese market, the product’s slogan, ‘Come alive with the Pepsi generation,’ was rendered (or should I say rent?) into Chinese as ‘Pepsi brings back your dead ancestors!” (Anguished English, Copyright 1987 by Richard Lederer, p. 138).
C. Hebrews 1:1-2. God spoke “in His Son.” John gave Jesus the title, “The Word.”
D. Matthew started explanation of Jesus in Nazareth—angel to Joseph; promised Messiah.
E. Luke started explanation of Jesus in Nazareth—Gabriel to Mary; promised Messiah.
F. John went further back. Before Bethlehem; a Visitor to our planet—His true identity.
II. Body—John 1:1-18.
A. “The Word,” (“Jesus” v.17). Gr: logos, meaningful to Jews and Greeks (non-Jews). John gave it new meaning. Idea: “revelation” (v. 18). A “word” is for communicating. What?
B. These 18 verses tell us at least 15 things about the Word. (Back of handouts if desired)
1. He was in the beginning (vv. 1a, 2, 15). Genesis 1:1; John was making the case that Jesus is God—He has always existed! He was God (“Elohim”) of Genesis 1.
2. He was with God (vv.1b,2). Intimacy—in God’s presence. The Trinity is never defended/explained in the Bible. Simply presented as a fact for us to believe.
3. He was God (v.1c). Gr: “unity of essence” (NET note); NET: “The Word was fully God.” Not “a god” (JWs). Violate 1st Commandment; Greek does not require definite article. For example: (v.6) “from a god”? (v.12) “children of a god?”
4. He is Creator (v.3). Notice the point is made twice. More evidence that “in the beginning” is an allusion to Genesis 1:1. See also Colossians 1:16,17.
5. In Him was life (v.4a). John—in rest of gospel—will use “life” to refer to salvation Jesus provides. As Creator—physical life; As Savior—spiritual, eternal life.
6. He is the light of men (v.4b-9). “Light” symbolizes biblical truth and moral holiness. This spiritual life in Christ results in knowledge of truth and a changed life of holiness. John (the Baptist) was not the light, but a pointer.
7. He was in the world (cosmos; v.10). Significant! Creator God “was coming into the world—He was in the world”. Now look at the rest of v.10 (#8).
8. The world did not know Him (v. 10). Ironic! World made through Him, but when He came for a visit, world didn’t recognize Him. Why not? John 3:19,20; a choice!
9. His own did not receive Him (v.11). “His own people”—Jews. Even His own people—waiting for hundreds of years for their Messiah—didn’t know/receive Him.”
10. He gave believers the right to become children of God (v.12,13). Everyone is created by God, but not all are children of God. You have to “receive” that privilege. Reject Jesus, you reject the gift. “Believe” in Jesus, you receive the gift. Then, you are “born again” as a child of God—see v.13; 3:1-8 (v.8 man controls neither.)
11. He became flesh and lived among us (v.14a). The “Incarnation” (Latin, in-flesh), He was human—not just appearance; fully God and fully man. “Lived” is literally “tabernacled”. God met with the nation of Israel in the “tabernacle” (the tent of meeting) in the wilderness, God met with man in the person of Jesus.
12. He is the “Only Begotten” (v.14, 18; “One and Only” NIV). Not “begotten” or birthed. Gr: monogenes—“one-of-a-kind” (NET). All Christians given “the right to become children of God,” Jesus is God’s Son in a unique sense. “We saw His glory”. “We” is eye-witness testimony; “glory” of the “One-of-a-kind.”
13. He came from the Father (v.14b). Not just different forms. Second Person of the Trinity—distinct from but of the same essence as the Father and the Holy Spirit.
14. He was full of grace and truth (w.14c, 16, 17). Another way of saying “life and light”. Through the grace of Jesus, we have life. “True light” (v.9) showing that “light” and “truth” are synonymous.
15. He made God known (v.18). Only God has seen God; only God able to make Himself known. Anyone who contradicts Jesus is wrong; has “never seen God”.
A. The mission of Jesus Christ (Christmas) included two major objectives: 1) making God known (v.18)—providing light (truth), 2) giving the right to become children of God to those who believed in His name (all that He is)—providing life (grace). (Front of handouts.)
1. Since Jesus came to bring life to all who believe, we should believe in Jesus. Receive His grace.
a) “Receive” (v.12) clarified by “believe” (i.e., trust). More than knowing about; or accepting as true. Trusting Him alone with eternal destiny.
b) Show chiasmus structure:
(1) 1-2 (18)—“with God” (“in the bosom of the Father”)
(2) 3-5 (16-17)—“through Him” (“through Jesus Christ”)
(3) 6-8 (15)—“John…testify” (“John testified”)
(4) 9-11 (14)—“He was in the world” (“dwelt among us”)
(5) 12-13—central message: Receive/Believe.
c) For you to become a child of God was as difficult as making God into a man (v.13), but for you to “believe” in Jesus is as simple as it is to “receive” a gift.
2. Since Jesus came to bring light and reveal God to us, we should know Him. Receive His truth.
a) God went to all this trouble—the incarnation (birth and life) of Jesus, the death and resurrection of Jesus—so that we could know Him in personal relationship.
b) Light=biblical truth and moral holiness. We “receive His truth” when we embrace His revelation, then let it change us as we embrace His moral standards.
B. J.B. Phillips wrote a story that helps illustrate how amazing all this truly is: “A senior angel is showing a very young angel around the splendors of the universe… [he] pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere …‘I want you to watch that one particularly,’ said the senior angel, pointing with his finger. ‘Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me,’ said the little angel. ‘What’s special about that one?’ He listened in stunned disbelief as the senior angel told him that this planet…was the renowned Visited Planet. ‘Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince...went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?’ ‘I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them.’ The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.” (The Jesus I Never Knew, Phillip Yancey, pp. 43-4.)