Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 31: Saturday
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
Saturday’s Bible reading is John 1–2. I have to tell you I love the gospel of John. His labor and thought are so evident in this tightly written work; his gospel is both powerful and a delight to me to read as he carefully unfolds to us his witness of Jesus.
In his sermon introducing the gospel of John, John MacArthur said:
“Matthew wants us to behold the king, Mark wants us to behold the servant, Luke wants us to behold the man, that is the humanity of Christ. And now as we come to the gospel of John we see a completely dimension…. John’s message is behold your God. And his revelation was written to establish the truth of the divinity and the deity of Jesus Christ, that He is absolute total God of very God living in a human body. He is not half-God, half-man, He is total God and total man. And so the genealogy that John presents doesn’t name any human beings. It goes right back to the time before time, the time of eternity, and says that He was there when it all began. That’s His genealogy. He didn’t start; he always was. So John presents to us God.”1
John tells us exactly why he is doing this:
“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
“…so that we might believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we may have life in His name.” MacArthur explains:
“…The primary purposes, therefore, are two-fold: evangelistic and apologetic. Reinforcing the evangelistic purpose is the fact that the word “believe” occurs approximately 100 times in the gospel (the synoptics use the term less than half as much). John composed his gospel to provide reasons for saving faith in his readers and, as a result, to assure them that they would receive the divine gift of eternal life (1:12).
“The apologetic purpose is closely related to the evangelistic purpose. John wrote to convince his readers of Jesus’ true identity as the incarnate God-Man whose divine and human natures were perfectly united into one person who was the prophesied Christ (“Messiah”) and Savior of the world (e.g., 1:41; 3:16; 4:25, 26; 8:58).”2
In his tightly woven gospel, John has deliberately chosen certain specific miracles of Jesus to describe; these signs are miracles that attest Jesus is God. In 2:11, John tells us:
“This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”
John also gives us very specific statements made by Jesus that He is God; Bruce Milne writes, “…the divine self-affirmation so often reproduced in this gospel, ‘I Am’.”3
The signs and ‘I Am’ statements:
John 2:1–11 Jesus changes water into wine.
John 4:46–54 Jesus heals the royal official’s son
John 5:1–15 Jesus heals the paralytic
John 6:5–14 Jesus feeds the crowd of 5,000
John 6:16–21 Jesus walks on water
John 6:35ff “I am the Bread of Life.”
John 8:12ff “I am the Light of the World.”
John 9 Jesus heals the man born blind
John 10:7ff “I am the Door.”
John 10:11ff “I am the Good Shepherd.”
John 11:1–46 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:25 “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
John 14:6 “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.”
John 15:1ff “I am the Vine.”
There is also the great ‘I Am’ statement made by Jesus in John 8:58 (see also 8:24; 18:5).
If you have never read the gospel of John, don’t neglect to do so now. Early one Easter morning, my husband got up and decided to read through the gospels. He began in Matthew and continued on. When he came to John 20, he believed.
“…but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1Grace to You: The Divine Word.
2Grace to You: John.
3Bruce Milne, John, p. 108.
Light Shining (cropped), A powerful light shines in the dark. Zouavman Le Zouave: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter
7 thoughts on “John 1–2: Grace & Truth”
The Lord Jesus is YHWH, a hard concept to grasp. John explained it very well. Being a monotheistic Jew, as were all the apostles, the 120 on Pentecost, and the entire community of saints for about the first seven to ten years of its existence, John was revealing the fact that God became a Man. There was absolutely no thought or concept among Jews of God being a multiplicity of divine persons at that time. This was the main reason so many Jews had such a hard time believing. As the world’s only monotheists, they knew there was only one God. Therefore, they knew John and the apostles were claiming their one God YHWH had become one of them–a very hard concept to grasp, though the OT Scriptures were filled with such prophetic fact. A great, great number of Jews DID believe, however, because their hearts were right. Thank you for this post.