Dear members and friends of VP,
I am excited that the Gospel of John has become a priority study at VP this past month. The women are studying it on Monday evenings. We, all are welcome, are studying it on Wednesday evenings at our mid-week Bible study. And I am preaching highlights of the Gospel of John on Sunday mornings during the weekly message.
The author of the Gospel was John, one of the 12 disciples, and considered the disciple Jesus loved most. John tells us about many of the encounters and teachings of Jesus as an eye witness who was often present. He tells us about the struggle among the disciples to discern who Jesus was in the light of the power and authority he displayed during His ministry.
Ultimately, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, John concluded that Jesus was God. He writes “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.” John 1:1-3
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
The term “Word” is clearly defined by John:
He was in the beginning with God when God created the world.
He himself was God and everything came into being through Him.
“He became flesh” means He became a human being. Thus, He was both the creator and the created.
“He dwelt among us” means God lived in our world as a man.
These are amazing statements to make about this apparent person John calls “the Word.” John is intentionally placing “the Word” as present during the creation of the world in Genesis Chapter 1.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. … the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters…” Genesis 1:1-2
The association of John 1 and Genesis 1 is quickly discerned because they both begin with the same
words and involve the same event.
“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1 // John 1:1
“God created…” Gen. 1:1 // “all things came into being through Him” John 1:3
John is also telling specific details about the identity of Jesus. He is a third person present during creation in addition to God and the Spirt. As a third person, “the Word,” was both separate from God and the same as God. This is difficult to understand but it represents John’s conclusion after piecing together everything he had come to know about Jesus Christ.
“the Word was with God,” and
“the Word was God… “
the Spirit of God “was moving over the surface of the waters.”
Why does John use the term “Word” rather than simply stating He was Jesus? The reason is that John is identifying the role Jesus served in the creation account. Seven times in Genesis, God spoke things into existence. God repeatedly says “Let there be…” (verses 3, 6-8, 9, 11, 14-15, 20-24, 26-30) and things come into existence. John believed, in the light of His authority over life during His ministry, that He was the creator of life. In terms of differentiated roles in the Godhead, Jesus was the person who had actually done the work when God spoke. God was the designer and Jesus was the builder… Are there good reasons for this conclusion? I think so. Our study of the Gospel of John should reveal multiple examples of how Jesus said and did things only God would say and could do. For instance, Jesus said He lived to do the will of God, the Father. He was the builder.
“I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me;… I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:28-29
In action, Jesus displayed control over nature and the ability to recreate limbs and eyes. He gave new life to people when they died. Who had this type of authority other than God? Jesus certainly displayed the authority to participate in the creation of everything we know. It is a privilege to be able to study the Gospel of John as a letter written by a man who knew Jesus well and sincerely contemplated the implications of everything Jesus said and did. I hope that all of us, after sitting at the feet of the Apostle John, will be able to say what Thomas said when He saw the wounds of Jesus after the resurrection:
“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28-29