The apostle John introduces the themes he will develop in his gospel by relating them to the names he employs of Jesus in chapter one. There seems to be a progressive unfolding of his major theme which is to show that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:30-31).
In his opening words Johns sets forth his theme that Jesus is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is the eternal, preexisting Son of God who came to reveal the Father and give eternal life to all who believe on Him. There never was a time when the Word was not. The Lord Jesus had no beginning. The Word was not created; the Word is creative, and everything owes its existence to the Word (vv. 1-3). The Word came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (v. 14). Jesus is God. The Lord Jesus has fully manifested the invisible God and has uttered all that God has to say to man as the Word.
The incarnation of the Word made it possible for Jesus to die. The God who became flesh loved us enough to die for us personally so He could rise from the dead and give us eternal life. “In Him was life” (v. 4), and in Him we have “the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6). “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly (10:10). To know God is to have eternal life (17:3). It is the gift of God through His Son, and it will never perish (10:10, 18, 28; 3:16; 6:51; 53f; 5:40; 11:25; 14:6).
The Psalmist says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation” (Ps. 27:1). The apostle John introduces Jesus as the light (vv. 4-5, 8-9), and declared, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5; 12:46). The Light of the world never ceases to shine in a world of spiritual darkness. Man’s moral depravity cannot extinguish the Light. Jesus exposed the world’s spiritual darkness by the white light of His perfect righteousness. As the Light, Jesus knows God the Father, and He makes Him known by penetrating our spiritual darkness. In the person of Jesus Christ, the world has the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ who is the radiant image of the invisible God, and in Him we see and know the Father.
The brighter His light shines in our hearts, the greater will be our sense of need for Him to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” (1:29, 36). Not only does Jesus reveal God, but He also provides the only means whereby sinful man can be cleansed and allowed into His holy presence. The focus of Jesus’ work is centered in His death on the cross as the Lamb of God. The sacrifices in the Old Testament accurately foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God at Calvary. Jesus bears the consequences of our sins and removes it completely. He lifted it up and carried it off completely forever. His death fulfills all of the types and symbolic pictures in the Old Testament of a substitutionary sacrifice (cf. Gen. 22:8; Isa. 53:4-7; Jn. 19:36, etc.). Our sin is removed forever through faith in the person and atoning work of Jesus Christ. Have you placed all your sins upon your sacrifice, and let Him die in your place? Confess your sins to Him and trust His atoning death to remove them forever.
The climax of John the Baptist’s testimony is “this is the Son of God” (1:34). The expression signifies the closest personal relationship to the Father. It is an assertion of the deity of the Messiah. He is “the Son of the Most High” (Lk. 1:32). God the Father testified three times, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Peter express his conviction, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).
Jesus is also called “Rabbi” and Teacher (1:38) who taught with divine authority revealing Himself as the Son of God who was named after His father. “Jesus” is Yeshua, Jehoshua, “Yahweh saves.” Salvation is of the LORD.
The most important titles reveal Him as the Anointed Messiah (v. 41), King (v. 49) and Son of Man (v. 51). Christ the Anointed One is the Jewish Messiah. “We have found the Messiah,” declared Andrew. Every time we utter the name Jesus Christ, we are declaring Jesus of Nazareth is the Anointed One, the Messiah. Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, will save His people from their sins as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Nathan said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel” (v. 49). Jesus’ response to such acclaim is very interesting as He reveals further His chosen Messianic title. “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (v. 51). The Ancient of Days will one day come and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords just as the Old Testament prophets foretold and Jesus declared (Dan. 7:13-14; Isa. 24:23; Zech. 14:9, 16; Matt. 13:41-43; 24:27, 30; 2531-46, etc.). Only the Son of Man can bridge the gulf between earth and heaven.
The grand climax is reached when Thomas declared, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).
What is your response to this great truth? "Blessed are they who did not see, d yet believed (v. 29). That is for you and me.
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Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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