Good morning church! We are a couple of days away from Christmas day and what a wonderful season for people all around the world. In fact sometimes I think during Christmas, unbelievers seem to be more enthusiastic about this time than believers. But it should be a special time for believers as we remember that Christmas is about Jesus.
And this morning we gather together to celebrate His birth, death and resurrection as a family! As I was pondering on what passage to preach on this week, I felt like John 1 would be perfect for all of us to study this morning. Even as you are turning to John chapter 1, I just want to setup the context.
This gospel is written by the apostle John. He was one of the three disciples in Jesus’ inner circle apart from Peter and James. His main purpose for writing this gospel was to tell people that Jesus is the Son of God, the awaited Messiah and that we can receive eternal life by believing in Him. Simple, straight forward purpose and we are excited to see what God wants to communicate to our hearts through this passage. John 1:1-17
I believe this passage has 3 things for us this morning:
- Christ is the true God
- Christ is the true Light
- Christ is the true Revelation
Christ is the true God
The apostle John starts this gospel with the words “In the beginning was the Word”. Do you remember any other place in Scripture that has a similar intro? Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And right from the start John is trying to connect both passages and tell people how Jesus is the true God.
“In the beginning was the Word” (v1). Before anything was made or before anything existed – Jesus existed. For everything else in all the world, there is a start date…everyone and everything has a manufacturing date but not Jesus because He is God. Before the universe existed – Jesus existed. There are debates on how old the earth is – some say between 4-10 thousand years…others say a million years…either ways Jesus existed way before that! Isn’t that amazing?
b.His personal relationship within the Trinity
“the Word was with God” (v1) implying a very close relationship between God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus didn’t exist in eternity past in isolation but in a community and fellowship with the Father and Spirit. Jesus was with them before any thing was ever made. Every decision, every plan, every action was performed out of that intimate relationship.
“and the Word was God”. (v1) And then John explicitly refers to Jesus as God! Jesus wasn’t a created being. He Himself is God! That means Jesus is the All-Powerful, All-knowing and All-Present God. He is the Sovereign God who works out every situation and circumstance for His glory. He knows and sees the hidden intentions of our hearts. There’s no place on heaven or on earth that’s out of God’s reach. He is there everywhere!
d.His active role in Creation
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (v3)
That’s a powerful thing to say. It’s one thing to say that he helped or assisted in some parts of creation. It’s another thing to say that everything was made through Jesus and without Jesus nothing was made! When we look at the beauty of the sun rising from the east, when we look at the breathtaking view from a hill, when we look at the sky above us, when we look at the deep depths of the sea, when we look at the complexity and manner in which God has made us and stitched together our DNA – All of us have a unique DNA – when we look at all of this we realize that Jesus Christ was actively involved in creating all of this. Without him not even a single thing was made!
All of this should move our hearts to worship and honor Jesus as God! We live in an age where Christ is conveniently removed from culture and conversations. Christmas has now become X-Mas. Talking about Jesus in public is looked down upon and considered offensive in this culture. How should believers live out our faith in the midst of this? We continue to place Christ as central to every thing in life. We make Christ the centre of our marriages.
We make Christ the centre of our workplaces. We make Christ the centre of our friendships. We make Christ the centre of our entertainment. We make Christ the centre of our vacations and holidays. We make Christ the centre of our birthdays. We make Christ the centre of our worship services. We even make Christ the centre of our private moments when nobody is watching. Christ being the true God changes our worship! He’s not an ordinary human being or a figment of our imagination – He is God!
Christ is the true Light
John uses an interesting way to explain why He refers to Jesus as the true light.
a.Our necessity for the Light (v4, v7, v9)
4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men.
7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
From all these verses we understand that John is stressing on one thing – we are all in darkness and are in desperate need for Light. This need is not just for those rapists and murderers but for “everyone” who has been born on the face of the earth. Apart from this Light, we will be left in darkness forever – Separated from the presence of God forever! Terrible position to be in. We need help. We need Light.
b.Our love for darkness (v10-11)
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him.
Not only do we need Light but sometimes what prevents us from coming to the Light is our love for darkness. It’s like a guy who is stuck up in a deep pit and then over a period of time gets comfortable and starts loving his environment rather than wanting to get out of it. Crazy right but that is true of our sinful hearts.
John 3:19-20 says 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
c.Our provision through Christ (v12-13)
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Because we are in desperate need of the Light & because we ourselves are saturated with sin and love darkness more, we can’t help ourselves. We need God to make a way. We need God to provide an answer to this problem. And God provides for us His own precious Son to live a perfect life and then to die as a perfect substitute for our sins. So that v12-13 would be given to us as a free gift! So that by receiving Jesus and believing that He is the Son of God and has made a way for us through His death, we can now be God’s own children!
In my last church I once heard a story mentioned by an evangelist who used to minister in the villages of Maharashtra. My previous church had a legacy of being one of the oldest churches of India believed to have its roots in the ministry of the apostle Thomas. So this evangelist once was at a mission field talking to a group of new converts talking about how our church had a 2000 year history from Thomas.
As he was talking, one of the new believers stopped him and asked honestly “Brother, I understand that you have had the gospel for 2000 years, but why did you take so long to bring it to us?” A simple yet astonishing statement to the evangelist for many years.
Brothers and sisters, this truth about Christ being our true Light is an absolute necessity for everyone to hear and know. I know sometimes we do get discouraged when people don’t respond to the Light. I get discouraged easily myself. The reason why they can’t receive the Light is because they love darkness.
They don’t even see Jesus as Light because of their blindness. But let’s not allow that to stop us from telling people about the true Light. Since Jesus is the provision, let’s trust that God is the One who causes the spiritual birth in people’s hearts.
When we tell people about the Light, it’s not as though we are selling Jesus or a religion. We are pointing them to the true Light who will save them. That’s why we need to always accompany our evangelism by being on our knees. It’s Jesus who shines among the darkness and darkness cannot overcome Him.
Christ is the true Revelation
a.He is God incarnate (v14a)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
All of us have similarly at some point or the other said something like this “You don’t know what I’m going through”. “It’s easier to say that from the position that you’re in”. That idea that if someone hasn’t been in your shoes, he won’t empathize with you is there in all of us. Now let’s think about what Jesus Christ did. He became flesh – he took on the form of us as a human being & endured every possible temptation and suffering that we go through yet without sin.
So we cannot say that God doesn’t understand – because Jesus lived in a fallen world among fallen people just like us. Talk about identifying and empathizing with us…Jesus takes it to the next level. The other thing that’s super encouraging is God’s pursuit to dwell with us – to stay with us. Even though he is the pre-existent, creator God – he doesn’t want to be disconnected and far from us…he desires an intimate relationship with us and He’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that He can dwell among us.
b.He fully reveals God to us (v16)
16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[e] 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God,[f] who is at the Father’s side,[g] he has made him known.
Not only does Jesus identify with us by becoming like us and dwelling with us but He fully and completely reveals God to us. The full grace of God was poured out on us through Jesus Christ. Till then people understood God as a rule book keeper through the law, but through Christ we can now know see the length and breadth of God’s grace – and understand that there is no end! And it’s not in a sense where God’s grace is a cheap thing.
It came at the highest cost – the death of Jesus to now give us grace. And the best benefit of this grace – knowing God through the face of Jesus. No longer do we need a prophet to tell us who God is, we don’t need any signs to reveal something about God…we have God’s own Son Jesus who tells us everything about Him. How does he do that? Through the written Word.
I really think this should open our hearts to trust Jesus more and more. The truth about Jesus being God incarnate and fully revealing the heart, mind and person of God to us should allow us to trust God in situations and decisions that we struggle with. Jesus is totally for you and not against you. You don’t have to feel insecure about situations or people or decisions in your life.