[Oct 01]--In The Beginning. . .

John 1:1-5

I have to say that I’ve got mixed feelings about delving into the Gospel of John. Please don’t get me wrong. I love John’s Gospel; in fact, if I absolutely had to pick my favorite out of the four, he'd get top billing. But it’s also the most difficult Gospel on which to do a devotional, because it’s so difficult to understand at times. I heard once that a child can swim in it and an elephant can drown in it.

As you might've heard before, each of the four has its own emphasis, with a different portrait of the Savior. Matthew presents him as the King of the Jews, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Mark shows him to be the Servant. Luke (the only Gentile writer) loves to emphasize that he came for all types of people, not just Jews. And to John he’s the Son of God, sent by the Father.

Here are some major themes of the book, which we’ll repeatedly find:

• Jesus as God’s Son. His divine nature is heavily prominent, more so than in the other three.

• Jesus as sent by the Father on a particular mission, namely to die on the cross in our place. You’ll notice as you read the book how many times our Lord mentions that his “time had not yet come” or some variant.

• Salvation. This is the only Gospel that specifically says that it’s designed to draw lost people to saving faith in Christ. You’ll find lots of verses on the subject like the world famous 3:16, along with 5:24, 10:10, 11:25-26, along with some others.

• Contrasts. John loves to pick out Jesus’ sayings which present a stark contrast: light and dark, good and evil, life and death, etc.

• Visual metaphors. He also loves to use physical miracles of Jesus as an analogy about a spiritual truth. For example, Jesus’ miraculous feeding of 5,000 men leads into a discussion in which he claims to be the new Bread from heaven.

• Use of “signs.” This is usually used as a synonym for “miracles” in Scripture, but John’s using it in a special way. A literal sign points to something bigger than itself, and John is specifically using seven “signs” to teach us something about the nature and work of Christ.

• “I am” statements. Seven times in his book, Jesus makes claims about himself starting with the phrase “I am. . .”

• Intimate conversations. Much more than the other three, John’s Gospel takes us “behind the scenes” in which Jesus talks one-on-one with someone in private. You’ll find that our Lord will say things in these types of dialogues that he doesn’t say in front of crowds.

You can see a big difference in how the author starts out. In an obvious allusion to the first verse of Genesis, he presents Jesus to us as the “word,” both the same as God and distinct from him. He created all things, and nothing exists except that which was made by him. We’ll look at this passage more in depth when we study the nature of Christ in a couple of months. But for now, let’s just meditate on who he is.

Lord Jesus, you are the word. You are God, and you’re the Creator of everything seen and unseen. I worship you, for you are worthy of all praise, honor, thanks, and obedience.

No comments:

Post a Comment