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Posts Tagged ‘John 1’

We are finishing up the first chapter of John today. We looked at a part of this passage two weeks ago, but I want us to focus in on Nathanael and the promise Jesus gives to him, to the disciples as a whole and also to us; the promise of an open heaven.

Let’s begin by looking at –

The story of Nathanael

You will remember that in the verses just before this, Jesus is gathering together his first disciples. Jesus found Philip and then v. 45 says, 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” The phrase, “him of whom Moses . . . and the prophets wrote” is a way of taking about the Messiah, whom Philip identifies as “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” If we ask, “Why the disparaging remark, Nathanael?” it’s not clear. Nazareth was small, but so was Cana where Nathaniel is from (21:2). Perhaps Nathanael means that the Messiah is not supposed to come from a place like Nazareth, in Galilee of all places.

As we saw before, Philip doesn’t engage with Nathaniel’s argument. He is invitational. He simply says, “come and see.” Because meeting Jesus is what it’s all about, not debating.

47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Jesus is alluding to Genesis 27:30-36 in his statement here. It tells the story of how Jacob, or “Israel,” his other name, stole his brother Esau’s blessing.

You remember the story, he dressed up like Esau and made sure he smelled like him and fooled his father into giving the family blessing to him, instead of his brother, who was the firstborn. And when Isaac found out he wasn’t happy at all. He said to Esau in v. 35, “your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing.” (The word for deceit in the Greek O.T. version of Genesis is the same word that is used in John.) 

So Jacob/Israel was known for the character trait of deceit (also v. 36). And not just because of this situation. But Jesus is saying, Nathaniel is an Israelite (a descendant of Jacob) “in whom there is no deceit.” He is an Israelite indeed, because he doesn’t have this negative character trait of his distant father Jacob/Israel. He is a person of integrity.

Well, this is quite a compliment from Jesus. But it startles Nathanael for another reason. 48Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Nathanael is shocked. How do you know who I am? How do you know what I’m like? We have a miracle here. Apparently Jesus saw him in a vision and he saw into his heart; what his character was like. (As Harold Metz pointed out in the John class, a fig tree often represents Israel in the Old Testament. So this further identifies him as an Israelite.)

Here’s an interesting point. Since Jesus saw and knew Nathanael, did he also hear his negative comments about Nazareth, his hometown? Maybe so. And maybe Jesus is smiling when he says, “I saw you under the fig tree.”

49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

Nathanael acknowledges the miracle and comes to agree with Philipp. Jesus is the Messiah. “Son of God” and “King of Israel” are both messianic titles.

Jesus responds to this with a measure of surprise. If such a little thing like seeing you in a vision and knowing what is in your heart causes you to believe that I am the Messiah, how will you respond when you see all that you are about to see? Much “greater things” are coming than what you have just seen.

51And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you all will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Jesus makes a promise here. And it not just to Nathanael, it is to all of his disciples here. The “you” is plural so I have translated it, “you all.” And Jesus gives this promise in the most solemn way with the words, “truly, truly.” He is saying, “this is for sure.”

To understand the promise here we have to see that once again, Jesus is alluding to a passage about Jacob from Genesis 28:10-17, the next chapter over from the last allusion. This is the story Jacob’s ladder. Because of Jacob’s deceit Esau determined to kill him. So he had to flee to Haran. On his way he had a dream.

Let’s look at the parallels between this dream and Jesus’ words:

1. Jacob saw something in a dream. Jesus said to the disciples, “You will see.” This connects not only Nathanael as an Israelite, but all the disciples as Israelites. They are all like Jacob/Israel. They are the remnant of Israel, gathered by John the Baptist for the Messiah. They are the new Israel. And like Jacob they will see something.

2. Jacob saw a ladder or a staircase, reaching up into heaven from the earth. In v. 51, the Son of Man is the ladder, a reference to Jesus. (The Son of Man is the heavenly figure of Daniel 7:13-14.) He is the link between heaven and earth.

3. In the dream angels were ascending and descending on the ladder. According to v. 51 angels will ascend and descend on Jesus. The image in both of these cases is of God’s angels coming and going, doing God’s bidding going to and fro through the earth overseeing all things. (Job 1:6-8; 2:1-3; Zechariah 1:10; 6:5; Revelation 7:2; 10:1)

4. God revealed himself to Jacob. He saw into heaven and saw God at the top of the ladder. He learned who God is and what God’s plan for him was. Jesus speaks of an open heaven. This phrase is used in Scripture to refer to when God reveals himself. (E.g. Ezekiel 1:1; Acts 10:11; Revelation 4:1).

So you can see the numerous parallels. What does it all mean?

What is the promise of an opened heaven?

It’s that Jesus will reveal God to the disciples. Jesus is saying, “Nathanael, you think me seeing you and knowing your heart is a big thing? You will see much greater things that these. I will reveal not a human heart, but God himself to you – God’s heart, character, plans and salvation.”

And this happens in the very next section of this gospel, when Jesus begins to perform signs that reveal who God is and what God is up to in him and his ministry. And it is interesting that Nathanael is from Cana (21:2) and the first two narrated signs are performed in Cana.

But this also sets up the whole rest of the Gospel of John, where Jesus reveals who God is through his teaching and actions and especially on the cross. As Jesus said in 12:45, “whoever sees me, sees him who sent me,” that is, God. As John says in 1:18, looking at the whole of Jesus’ life and death, “no one has ever seen God. It is God the beloved who is at the Father’s side, who has made him known.”

So as the disciples follow Jesus, they will receive the final and highest revelation of God through Jesus.

But there’s more . . .

In the story of Jacob’s dream, there is not just a revelation of God, but also a focus on the means of revelation. In Genesis 28:16-17, when Jacob woke up he said, “surely the Lord is in this place . . . How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

The ladder or stairway, the means of the revelation, went from the earth to heaven.

  • And where it touched the earth, he called it “the house/temple of God.” 
  • And where it touched heaven, Jacob called it “the gate of heaven.”

And he exclaims here how awesome is this ladder! How awesome is this place that connects heaven and earth.

Well, just as Nathanael saw a small miracle and exuberantly spoke, “Rabbi you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” When he sees the greater things promised – the full revelation of God through Jesus, he and the rest will be like Jacob/Israel and magnify the means of the revelation of God, Jesus, the ladder. Jesus will be exalted. Like Jacob, the disciples will exclaim, how awesome is Jesus! He is the house/temple of God and he is the gate of heaven.”

The promise for us

Now this promise isn’t just for these first five disciples. It’s for all followers of Jesus. And it’s for us as a congregation. We too receive the revelation that Jesus has given of God; we too come to see who God truly is. In Jesus we see the heavens opened.

This revelation happens as we read this Gospel and the rest of the Scriptures. And it happens when we follow Jesus and he continues to do his work even today. We see confirmed in our life experiences and in our congregation what is revealed through Jesus in the Scriptures.

It’s not something just in a book from long ago. God is still active through Jesus, doing his work and revealing himself. And so as we gather soon to think about what God has for us as a congregation, through Jesus God will reveal his will, his plans, his provision. And as we walk in this, his faithfulness to us as a congregation.

But even more close to hand, as we think of the Shands family grieving the loss of Pat, we know that through Jesus, God will reveal himself to them – God’s love and faithfulness, God’s power and strength for them.

God continues to reveal himself to us through Jesus, and in accord with what is in Scripture. As we follow him we come to truly know who God is, God’s character and God’s plans for us.

And as we see this unfold in our midst, we come to understand who Jesus is and exalt him as the one who alone reveals God to us; as the one who is the link between heaven and earth; as the one who has opened the heavens for us. How awesome is he!

William Higgins

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We’re back in the Gospel of John today. We looked at the introduction and how the Word, or God’s Son brings light and life, and grace and truth. We also learned a lesson from John the Baptist about knowing our place in God’s plan.

And last week we saw how John the Baptist’s identifies Jesus as the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, and what this means. And you received a call to be filled with the Spirit.

Today we look at how the good news about Jesus begins to spread. Let’s read John 1:35-49. 35

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Let’s see what we can learn about the spread of the good news from our passage.

1. We learn what the good news is

If someone came to you and said, “Hey, I want to be Christian, can you tell me how?” What would you say? Where would you begin? Do you know how to articulate the gospel??

Well there are lots of expressions of the good news in these verses and they can help us. First we have in v. 36 John the Baptist’s words to Andrew and his companion, “Behold, the lamb of God.” John most likely is referring to Jesus’ sinlessness, just as sacrificial lambs had to be without blemish. [It is unlikely that John the Baptist understood that Jesus would die on the cross.]  And if we allow Revelation 6:16 to guide us, the Lamb is also the judge of the world. He is saying, “look the Messiah is here!”

Then we have in v. 41 Andrew’s words to Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” The same message. “Messiah” is the Hebrew word that means “anointed one”; Christ is the same word but comes from Greek into English. The anointed one refers to the one anointed by God to save and to rule the world.

In v. 45 Phillip says to Nathaniel, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote . . ..”There are a number of prophecies and hints of the Messiah in the Old Testament. Here’s one example from Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.” Philip is saying, “he’s here!”

And finally in v. 49 Nathaniel says to Jesus, “You are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” The phrase “Son of God” has to do with those who rule. It was a title used for the kings of Israel. So the two phrases here blend together nicely. The promised ruler has come.

[All that is confessed is true for sure. Jesus is the Messiah. But from the point of view of the writer of John, they have much to learn still about the eternal Word made flesh.]

Notice the positive content in all this. It is, after all, good news we are to share. And in each case the focus is on how the promised one has come! He’s here! We’ve found him! The one sent by God. Yes, the world is deeply broken. But the emphasis here is on fulfillment; how Jesus has come to save and to rule.

2. We learn from this passage how the good news spreads

Most basically it spreads though people. And as we go through this you can think about this question – “How does God want to use me to spread the good news?”

First of all, in our passage, it was through the preaching/teaching of John the Baptist that Andrew and his companion begin to follow Jesus. This is the culmination of John’s ministry. God revealed to him who the Messiah was, and here he introduces Jesus to Israel. “Behold, the lamb of God!” And two people began to follow Jesus.

And God still calls people to preach and teach so that through this means others can hear the word about Jesus and come to follow him. Has God called you to do this?

A second way the good news spreads is through sharing with family membersAfter spending the evening talking with Jesus, Andrew, first thing in the morning, goes and finds his brother Peter. He’s very excited. We have found the Messiah! He has good news to share and he wants to share it with his brother.

What family members might God be nudging you to share the good news with this week?

A third way the good news spreads is through sharing with friends. In vs. 43-44 Jesus decides to go to Galilee and it says that he found Philipp. But we also learn that Philip was from the same home town as Andrew and Peter. So it is likely that they told Jesus who he was and that he should speak to him. If Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, here he and Peter bring Jesus to Philip.

Then, it sounds like right away Philip finds a friend of his – Nathaniel and invites him to come meet Jesus. So the message spread through the friend networks of those who responded to him. (Thanks to Dale Bruner for these three points)

What friends might God be calling you to share your faith with this week?

This passage also breaks down some stereotypes about how we share the good news. Yes, we have John the Baptist, who could certainly be a fire and brimstone preacher. But notice in the sharing with family and friends these several things:

  • It’s confessional. You just confess what you believe, what you have found, what you have experienced. It’s not about a debate or who knows the most, or arguments. And its OK if people don’t accept what you say. You are just sharing what you believe.
  • It’s invitational. What does Jesus say to Andrew and his companion? “Come and . . . see!” (v. 39). You’re seeking after me? Come and see. Andrew then brought Peter to Jesus. He wanted him to meet Jesus. Andrew and Peter brought Jesus to Philip and Jesus says to him “follow me” (v. 43). And Philip brought Nathaniel to Jesus. And when Nathaniel wanted to argue about whether anything good could come from Nazareth, Philip doesn’t engage. He just says, “come and see” (v. 46).
  • The key is a personal encounter with Jesus. It’s not about us, it’s about him. And when people encounter Jesus – his compassion, authority, power, holiness – this is what makes the difference. This is when transformation takes place. Sharing the good news is all about people being invited to encounter Jesus truly and fully.

3. We learn from this passage what happens when people receive the good news

1) They confess their faith in Jesus. Andrew said, “we have found the Messiah.” Philip said, “we have found him of whom Moses  in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth . . ..” People confess publicly that Jesus really is the promised one; the Savior and Lord of the world.

2) They become disciples. Andrew and his companion “followed” Jesus. Philip “followed” Jesus. This is another word for being a disciple in this Gospel. In that day you would often literally follow your teacher around to learn from their teaching and example. Jesus says in 8:12 “whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

And Andrew and his companion “stayed with Jesus” (v. 39). This is the same word that is used in this Gospel for “abiding” with Jesus. It is another term for being a faithful disciple. For instance Jesus says in 8:32 “if you abide in my word you are truly my disciple.” And here Andrew and the other disciple are with Jesus and learn from him.

So being a Christian is not a one-time experience. It is about a lifetime of discipleship. These people had a relationship with Jesus. They spent time with him, they learned from him; they were his disciples. 

[Also, I think it is interesting that each disciple received something special from Jesus: Andrew and the other disciple got to spend time talking with Jesus alone, learning from him. Peter received a new name and a new role. Philip received a personal call from Jesus himself. Nathaniel was praised and experienced a miracle.]

 Have you met Jesus? If you haven’t, I invite you to do so this morning. May the words of Jesus reach out of this Scripture to your heart as he says, “what are you seeking?” And as he says, “follow me.” 

William Higgins

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We looked at John the Baptist’s identity last week. We saw who he was not. He was not the Christ, or Elijah or the prophet. And we also saw who he was. He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’ . . .” (John 1:23). Today our focus is on John the Baptist’s identification of who Jesus is, found in v. 33 of our passage. Jesus is “he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” Let’s read this text –

31 “I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John’s identification of Jesus

Let’s follow the train of thought in these verses. In v. 31 John tells us – “for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he (the Messiah) might be revealed to Israel.” [Now in the Synoptics (Matthew Mark and Luke called this because they are very similar to each other), the emphasis is on how John prepares the people for the Messiah by calling them to repentance – “Messiah, here are your people.” But in the Gospel of John the focus is from the other end – he is saying, “People, here is your Messiah.” Like the best man or friend of the bridegroom (3:29).]

However, twice in this passage he says that he didn’t know who the Messiah would be. “I myself did not know him.” [Now in the Synoptics we learn in Luke that John and Jesus were cousins. And who knows if they knew each other growing up – probably not. But John’s point, even if he knew Jesus, was that he did not know that he was the Messiah.] So this creates a problem. How will he know who the Messiah is? Well, God gave him a sign. v. 33 – God said, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain” – this is the one.

And John saw this happen to Jesus. [Now in the  Synoptics it is Jesus who sees the “Spirit come upon him like a dove. But here John also sees this.] v. 32 – “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.” And he “bears witness” to this.

So Jesus is the one! As v. 33 says, Jesus “is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John declares to us a key component of the identity of Jesus – he is the one who gives the Spirit. [Of course he doesn’t fully give the gift of the Holy Spirit until Pentecost – Acts 1:5; John 7:39; 14:26]

This then raises the question –

What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?

If this is what Jesus is known for,as John the Baptist makes clear, what does it mean? We begin first with the expectation of the coming of the Spirit in the Old Testament.

The Spirit was active in the Old Testament, but there are a number of texts that speak of a time when God would pour out his Spirit in great measure (for instance Isaiah 32:15; 44:3; Ezekiel 39:29.) Joel 2:28-29 is a good representative passage: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” The Spirit will come in a powerful way on all God’s people, not just a few representatives or leaders.

And also the Messiah was seen to be a person of the Spirit. For instance, Isaiah 11:1-2 says, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.” (also Isaiah 42:1). So it makes sense that Jesus would be the one that gives the Spirit.

But what is this baptism with the Holy Spirit?

The word “baptism” has to do with a water experience. It has to do literally with water when, for instance

  • Noah and family went through the flood. And Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:20-21 that this was a kind of baptism.
  • Or when Israel went through the waters of the Red Sea, which Paul calls a baptism in 1 Corinthians 10:2.
  • Or when new Christian converts were baptized with water in the book of Acts.

But the word “baptism” can also be used figuratively, where there is no literal water involved.

  • You can be baptized with suffering. Jesus uses baptism language in this way in Mark 10:38 to talk about the cross. This is because ‘deep waters’ can figuratively speak of going through difficulties.
  • You can be baptized with fire. John the Baptist talked about this in Matthew 3:11. It is an image of judgment. And baptism language can be used because fire or judgment can be ‘poured out’ like water.
  • And in our case you can be baptized with the Spirit. That’s because, as we saw in Joel, the Spirit will be “poured out.” This is also a water image. And so baptism can be used of it.

When we look at the way the word baptism is used in all these cases, the best definition might be “inundation.”

  • Noah was inundated with water as he floated on top of the flood and got rained on.
  • Israel was inundated with water as they went through the Red Sea.
  • In times of suffering we are inundated with difficulties.
  • When judgment comes it inundates those who are judged.

And so Spirit baptism means to be inundated with the Spirit. It means to be flooded, overwhelmed or engulfed with God’s presence, with the life that comes from God, and empowerment and gifts to serve God.

The picture of Spirit baptism. The water in water baptism has to do with deep waters that symbolize judgment, suffering and death. And the picture of water baptism is one of being saved from these and coming up on the other shore. But the water of Spirit baptism is good water; fresh water, drinking water. This is the picture of Spirit baptism:

1. The Spirit is poured out like water, as in Joel 2.

2. We “drink” the Spirit. Jesus said concerning the Spirit, “Let the one who is thirsty come to me and drink” – John 7:37-38. Paul says, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . and were made to drink of one Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:13.

3. When we drink we are filled with the Spirit. We are, as it were, a container of the Spirit that if filled to the top. Acts 2:4 says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 says, “be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

There is a contrast in these last verses between being filled with one kind of drink versus another. Many thought the disciples were drunk on the day of Pentecost, but they weren’t. They were filled with the Spirit. And Paul says don’t be drunk with wine, but rather be filled with the Holy Spirit. You can be filled with wine – and have this affect you (drunkenness). Or you can be filled with the Spirit  – and have this affect you.

Let me end with the most crucial question today –

Are you baptized with the Holy Spirit?

Have you received this from Jesus, who in known as the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit?

Perhaps you see yourself as a Christian but have never received the Spirit at all. You just went through the motions of conversion/baptism. You went through the symbolism, but didn’t receive the reality to which it points.

A part of the symbolism of water baptism is that when you come through the deep waters and up on the other shore, you receive new life from God. Well, Spirit baptism is the reality to which this points. When the Spirit comes, this is when you receive new life.

Peter in his message on the day of Pentecost said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38. This is the gospel message and it includes the gift of the Spirit.

So put in place repentance and forgiveness; put in place the faith in Christ – and then receive the gift!

Let’s say you are a Christian and thus have received of the Spirit. The question for you is are you still inundated with the Holy Spirit? [Baptism language may well refer to the first or initiatory experience of the Spirit (just as baptism language is initiatory) with filling language being more flexible and especially applied to later experiences. But in either case the idea of filling and being inundated is the same.] Having received the Spirit at one time, are you still full of the Spirit, of God’s presence, life and power to serve?

A one-time experience of the Spirit at salvation is not enough. And a second experience of the Spirit after salvation is not enough. We are to be continually filled with the Spirit as we just saw in Ephesians 5:18. Notice the present tense, “be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

But too often I fear we live at a level far below this. God has given us a pipeline for the Spirit to flow through to us, but from our end the faucet is barely turned on – just a few drips. Maybe it’s because there is sin in their lives that blocks the Sprit. Or maybe we are distracted by the things of the world. Whatever the case may be, so often we are not living into what God has given us.

If we want to live the kind of Christian lives God calls us to – we must be filled with the Spirit! And if we want to do the work of the kingdom that God has called us to do in this place – we must be filled with the Spirit. We need to open ourselves up and receive of all that God has for us.

So receive the Spirit! God’s promise to us comes from the word of Jesus in Luke 11:13 – “The heavenly Father give(s) the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

As John the Baptist has taught us, this is who Jesus is. He is the one who inundates with the Spirit. Will you receive the blessing he gives?

William Higgins

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The title today is “Knowing our place in God’s plan.” Now the phrase “knowing our place” doesn’t sit well with many Americans, being free spirited and independent as we so often are. We don’t like this idea of having “a place.” We say, “I’ll be who I want to be and do whatever I want.”

But the Scriptures teach us that we will only find true peace when we find our place in God’s will for our lives. There is a paradox here: the one who does whatever they want is actually a slave; a slave of sin, which eventually makes us miserable and destroys us. But the one who is a slave of God, doing what God wants,  is free; free to find true peace and contentment.

That’s because God made us; God designed us to walk in his ways. And specifically God has given each one of us gifts and callings. And it is only when we align our lives to his will that we will know true contentment and joy. Even if things are hard, we can know we are right where we should be.

John the Baptist knew his place in God’s plan. He was crystal clear. So I want us to look at two passages from the Gospel of John to see what we can learn from him.

John 1:19-27

John is not the Christ. 19And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

So this delegation from the powers-that-be come from Jerusalem to check John out because he is drawing big crowds. This was a cause of concern for them, since they were mindful of keeping the peace with the Roman overlords.

And as John answers all their questions, he reveals that he has a really clear understanding of who he is, and who he is not. Beginning in reverse order of who he is not – he is not “the prophet.” This is a reference to Deuteronomy 18:15-18 and how it speaks of a prophet like Moses who would come. And he is not Elijah, or at least he is not literally Elijah come from heaven after going there in a fiery chariot.

But most importantly he is not the Christ, or the Messiah. v. 20 – “He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” He is very clear.

The lesson here for us regarding who we are not is that we also are not the Christ. This seems so basic that it shouldn’t have to be mentioned. And I don’t know anyone who would literally claim to be the Christ, apart from mental illness.

But there are some who, I think, have a “Messiah complex.” People, and yes, Christians, who think they are God’s gift to the world. Who have an all too high opinion of themselves. Who think that they know best about every situation; who have an answer to any problem; who think that everything hinges on them, and that without them things will just fall apart. They are here to save the day!

And then more commonly there is our simple self-centeredness. Where we live for ourselves and our self-interests. We make ourselves the Lord of our lives so that we are functionally claiming to be the Christ and Lord of ourselves and our domain. We don’t learn from Jesus, we don’t listen to Jesus, we don’t submit to Jesus. We just do what we want and what’s best for us.

In both of these cases we learn from John the Baptist that we too must submit ourselves to Christ and his Lordship.

  • He is the Savior, God’s gift to the world – not us.
  • He is Lord – and we are not.

This is the most basic first step in finding our place in God’s plan. We subordinate ourselves to him. This is the path to peace and joy.

Well even though he is not the Christ, John does have a role to play. He knows who he is not, but he also knows who he is. 22So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

John is quoting Isaiah 40:3. He was given the unique role of preparing the way for Jesus as was prophesied by Isaiah. His job was to clear the obstacles out of the way for the coming of the Messiah. And he did this through calling people to repent of their sins and find forgiveness.

He is not the Christ, but he does have a role to play in God’s plan.

Our second lesson then is that we have a role in God’s plan too. In a parable in Matthew 25 Jesus makes the point that all of us have various responsibilities to work for him. Vs. 14-15 say, “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”

In Romans 12:4-6 Paul teaches us that we each have been given gifts to serve God. “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them”.

So we are to be clear about who we are not, but we also need to be clear about who we are – what God has called us to do, what gifts God has given to us. And we need to use them. What is your role? What is your specific place in God’s plan? I encourage you to find out; find your place and then do what God has called you to do.

John’s humility before Christ. 24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

There are several “comes after me” statements from John the Baptist in the Gospel of John. In 1:15 he says, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.” In 1:30 he says, “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.” And here we have, “He who comes after me – the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” In each case they refer to Jesus’ superior status or rank over John.

v. 27 is the most specific. To take off and put on someone’s shoes was considered slave work. And so John is saying that he is not even worthy to be a slave of Christ. Now, Jesus said of John that he was the greatest person in the period of the Old Covenant (Matthew 11:1). But even so, John knows his lowly place in relation to Jesus.

John models for us here how we are to be humble before Christ. Even though we have a role, and it may be a great one, we are under Christ. We too are not worthy to be Christ’s slave. We are as low as you can be. Not a master, not just a free person, not just a slave, but unworthy to be Christ’s slave.

As Jesus says in Luke 17:10, “when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” We are “unworthy servants.” This is our place in relation to Christ.

And then we come to our second passage –

John 3:26-30

Here we see that John’s place is to exalt Christ. 26And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.”

When some heard of Jesus’ success, they thought John the Baptist might be jealous. But John recognizes that whatever our place is, it is given by God. “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” He has his own place, given him from heaven, just as Jesus has his own place given from heaven.

He also makes the point that he is not in competition with Jesus – he is not the Christ as he has been clear all along. Rather his place is to go before Christ.

John describes himself as the friend of the bridegroom, who is Jesus. And as the friend he takes joy in the success of the bridegroom and his blessings. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John’s goal is to exalt Jesus, not himself.

He is content and filled with joy in doing this. As he says in v. 29, “Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.”

The lesson for us is that our place is to exalt Christ, not ourselves. Life is not about us; our accomplishments; our name; our legacy. Always striving, grasping, panting for more and more. It is about Christ and who he is and what he has done. We must decrease, and he must increase.

And like John, when we do this our joy will be complete. When we are in God’s place for us we will have joy, peace and contentment.

William Higgins

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We are back in the Gospel of John today, looking at the introduction in vs. 1-18. As I said before, these verses are poetic, powerful and profound. And although it may take some effort to get at all that they are saying, it is more than worth the effort.

Last week in vs. 1-13 we learned that the Word “was God,” and also that the Word was “with God,” as God’s agent in the creation of the world filling all things with life and light. And we learned that after darkness fell over the creation, the Word continued to shine forth as the light of life in the struggle between light and darkness.

And then we learned that the light came to the world as a human, and although rejected by most, a remnant believed and experienced once again the light and life that God gives; being born of God. John is teaching us in all this that the same Word who brought forth life and light in the first creation, is the one who, with his coming, has begun the new creation.

Our theme today

If you will take your handout, we can look again at how this passage works. Remember with me, there are two sections and each has three parts that parallel each other.

  • In the first part of each section (A, A1) there is a statement about the Word, what the Word does and how the Word comes into contact with humanity.
  • Then the middle part of each section (B, B1), like an interlude, focuses on John the Baptist’s witness and his subordinate role in relation to the Word.
  • And then the last part of each section (C, C1) focuses on what is received from the Word, picking up on the themes of the first part of each section (A, A1).

So for us today, the focus of vs. 14-18, as you see underlined, is the grace and truth that the Word gives. Let’s look at our verses –

John 1:14-18

The Word. “14And the Word became flesh . . ..” Once again, the Word refers to God’s Word, personified, who is in the beginning with God, as we saw in Genesis 1 last week.

When it says “the Word became flesh” it means that the Word became a human being – Jesus; a true, living, breathing person [Also – 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7].

The Word’s coming into the world has already been referenced in vs. 10-13, but here John goes back and picks up the story line with a different emphasis and theme – the revealing of the fullness of God’s grace and truth.

 Just as the first section of our passage had Genesis 1 as a background, so our verses today have Exodus 33-34 as a background. And just in case you can’t recall the details of this story, I will help you.

After the golden calf fiasco, the Lord told Moses that he would not go with Israel into the promised land, because of their sin (33:1-6). But Moses interceded and asked God to go with them (33:12-17). God told Moses that he had favor or grace (LXX) with him and that he would go with him. But Moses insisted that God go with all the people. He is asking for God’s grace for Israel. And the Lord consented. The idea seems to be that God agreed that he would go with them in the tabernacle that they would build, his place of residence among them.

In the midst of all this Moses also asks to know more of the truth about God. In 33:13 he said, “please show me now your ways.” And in 33:18 Moses asked, “Please show me your glory.” God told him, “I will make all my goodness pass by you” (33:19). But he also said 33:20, “you cannot see my face, for a human shall not see me and live.” God only let him see an approximation of his glory. In 33:23, the Lord said, “you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

So the Lord passed by Moses and the Lord proclaimed his name, that is, his character and ways. He said, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness . . ..” (34:6). And then the Lord renewed his covenant with Israel, once again giving them his Law or will for them (34:10).

Alright, now back to John 1:14 – “. . . and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the beloved from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

There are several connections here with Exodus. The word “dwelt” literally means “pitched his tent” or “tabernacled” among us. In Exodus 33 Moses asked for God to go with his people into the promised land by means of the tabernacle, the same word as used here (in the LXX επηξεν). So Jesus is the presence of God tabernacling among us as a human being.

John also says, “we have seen his glory . . ..” In Exodus 33:18 Moses asked to know God’s ways and to see God’s glory. Here Jesus is the manifestation of the glory of God, dwelling among us. [Jesus’ glory will displayed through his signs 2:11, and as he is on the cross and then raised from the dead. Perhaps 34:10 is a background here.]

And then we have the phrase “full of grace and truth.” This refers back to all that Moses asked for in Exodus 33. As we just saw, he asked for grace from God, that God would forgive their sin and so be present with them. And he asked for truth in that he wanted to know God’s ways and see God’s glory. John teaches us that Jesus’ dwelling with us is the fullness of God’s grace. And Jesus’ showing us God’s ways is the fullness of God’s truth [Many connect the phrase “full of grace and truth” to 34:6 which the LXX translates as “abounding in mercy and truth.” This is too specific a connection however. First, the word “mercy” is used in the LXX and John uses the word “grace” (although grace does pretty much mean the same thing). Also the word for “abounding” is different than the word for “full” and “fullness” in John. But more importantly, the Hebrew word “emet,” translated by the LXX as “truth” has a different meaning than John’s use of the word “truth” in the rest of his gospel. Although it can be translated as “truth” (as in the LXX) the meaning is reliability, certainty or faithfulness. It means true in the sense of being true to one’s word. For John “truth” means something like a correct understanding of God and God’s ways. Also, in 1:14-18 John is making the point that Moses was limited in what he could make known of God, but Jesus is not. The truth that Jesus makes known is the fullest presentation of who God is. It is not just focused on a fuller presentation of the specific point of God’s faithfulness. “Abounding in mercy and truth is a part of what John means by “truth,” but it is not the whole.]

Notice the phrase “the beloved” (monogenes). Although it has been translated as “only begotten,” it is better translated as “the only one,” or “the beloved.” The idea is not procreation, but uniqueness. Jesus is the beloved of the Father. [In vs. 1-18 John distinguishes between Jesus who is the “beloved,” the unique and only son of God and those who are born of God through him who are called “children” (tekna).]

[Also notice the “we” “our” language in vs. 14-18. Although v. 14 may focus more on the actual witnesses of Jesus’ earthly life, certainly in vs. 16-18 it includes the whole Christian community who has received of his grace and truth. This section speaks from the point of view of the Christian community, the remnant that received him spoken of in vs. 12-13.]

And then, as in the first section, we have an interlude on John’s witness. “15John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”

John the Baptist is very aware of Jesus’ preeminence. Usually the one who comes first is the greater one, and of course John baptized Jesus. But John is saying that even though from an earthly perspective he came first, in reality “he was before me.” John knows of Jesus’ preexistence, and this is why he can say that Jesus “ranks before me.”

vs. 16-18 pick up again the themes from v. 14 – Grace and truth from the Word. “16And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the beloved, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

There is a contrast in these verses between what God gives  through Moses (from Exodus 33-34) and what God gives through Jesus. God gave grace through Moses, for he forgave their sin and tabernacled among them still. And God gave truth through Moses, for he revealed himself, his name, character and ways.

But what comes from the Word become flesh is much greater. As v. 14 says, he is “full of grace and truth.” And v . 16 says, “From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” As the word “fullness” means, what comes from him is complete, with nothing lacking. And what comes from him is bountiful, “grace upon grace.”

Yes, “the Law was given through Moses” as we see in Exodus 34 when God renewed his covenant with them. But “no one has ever seen God.” [Also John 6:46; 1 John 4:12]. Exodus 33:20 states that no one can see God’s face or they will die. God only let Moses see his back.

There was a limit to what Moses could know due to his humanity. He only saw God in part. With Jesus there is no limitation. He is the Word made flesh, the same Word who is God. This point is also made in v. 18, where John calls Jesus, “God the beloved.” Here the Word, or the Beloved is also called God, just as at the beginning in v. 1. [This is an inclusion that marks off the beginning and the end of the passage: The Word is with God and is God; The Word is God and is next to God.]

So Jesus is God the beloved and also he is “at the Father’s side,” which means he is in the closest possible relationship with the Father. And as such he is able, in human form, to show us all about God. John concludes “he has made him known.” Jesus has given a full account of God. He has told the whole story. Jesus has fully revealed and interpreted God. [Moses’ exaltation in Exodus 33-34 – God speaks to him face to face, etc. is trumped here with Jesus’ place by the Father and his being God.]

[There is also in all this the theme of covenant, or new covenant. In Exodus 33-34 God renewed his covenant with his people. And a part of this was revealing himself and his ways and choosing to dwell among them (this as covenant language – Leviticus 26:11-12; Ezekiel 37:27; Zechariah 2:10-11). And also with Jesus, he has begun the promised new covenant. He has revealed the fullness of God’s grace and truth and has come to dwell with us by becoming human and giving us the Spirit.]

If the first section moved from creation to new creation, our verses today move from the revelation of God’s grace and truth to Moses in the Law, to the final revelation of God’s grace and truth through Jesus, the Word made flesh in the new covenant. [Also, the Son is the first Word, at the begining in creation (vs. 1-13) and the last Word (vs. 14-18)]

So the message today is – Jesus is it!

  • With regard to grace – he is the fullness of grace. Not just in a tabernacle, but God tabernacling among us as a human being;  one of us.
  • With regard to truth – he is the fullness of truth. Not just an account of what God said, but God among us teaching us himself and living out in front of us God’s character and ways.

God’s provision for his old covenant people was amazing. But his provision for his new covenant people is more amazing and complete. For Jesus is the highest revelation of God.

So any who say we just need to do what the Old Testament says, No! Jesus is the final revelation of God’s grace and truth. We must check everything against him.

And any who come and say they can give more access to God’s grace and presence – No, brothers and sisters! Jesus is the final revelation of God’s grace to us.

And any who come and say they have more knowledge of God’s truth, another revelation, a supplement to Jesus in the New Testament – No, sisters and brothers! Jesus has given us the final revelation of God. When you look at Jesus in the New Testament you are looking at God!

Jesus is it. Rest in him and receive of his grace and truth. He is all we need.

William Higgins 

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Since I am teaching a class on the Gospel of John, I want to share with you as a whole congregation from this book here and there. And so today and next week, the plan is to cover John 1:1-18. And today we look at the first 13 verses. [These verses are called the “prologue,” which literally means a word that comes before the main body of the book. It’s a part of the introduction to this Gospel.]

These verses are poetic, profound and powerful. So much is packed into so few words! So let’s work at unpacking this. I can assure you that the reward of these verses is more than worth the effort.

Our theme today

If you will take your handout, we can look together at how this passage works. There are two sections and each has three parts that parallel each other.

  • In the first part of each section (A, A1) there is a statement about the Word, what the Word does and how the Word comes into contact with humanity.
  • Then the middle part of each section (B, B1), like an interlude, focuses on John the Baptist’s witness and his subordinate role in relation to the Word.
  • And then the last part of each section (C, C1) focuses on what is received from the Word, picking up on the themes of the first part of each section (A, A1). 

So for us today, the focus of vs. 1-13 is the life and light that the Word gives. Let’s look at our verses –

John 1:1-13

The Word, God and creation. “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Here we are taught that the Word, which we later learn becomes a human being named Jesus (vs. 14, 17) was in the beginning of all things “with God,” as God’s agent in the creation of the world. The connection to Genesis 1 is clear in the repetition of the phrase “in the beginning.”

Now we know from the Old Testament and other ancient Jewish writings that it was not uncommon to speak of God’s Word, or Law or Wisdom (and these are really one and the same thing) as involved in the creation with God. And it was also not uncommon for these to be personified as a person next to God.

  • Proverbs 3 & 8 tell us that Wisdom, personified as a woman, was at the beginning with God and helped God in creating the world.
  • In Genesis 1 we learn that God speaks out his Word and creates the heavens and the earth. And in Genesis 1:26 the Word is personified. It says, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness . . ..” Here God is speaking with another person, his Word; his agent of creation, regarding the creation of humanity, and uses “us” and “our” language. (If the personification of Wisdom in Proverbs can be read as more of a literary device, it is reasonable to say that Genesis 1 goes beyond this. And this is, no doubt, a part of why John uses “Word” language and not “Wisdom” language.) (Like John 1, Proverbs 8 is also an interpretation of Genesis 1.)

So, drawing especially on Genesis 1, John is teaching us that the Word is with God, as a person, and is involved in the creation.

But John says more than this. For the Word was not only “with God,” he tells us that “the Word was God.” So there is sameness between God and the Word in terms of God-ness. 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are wrong then (along with the Arians before them). The Word really is truly God, not just the highest of God’s creations. If there is a line between God and the creation, the Word in on the God side of the line. [Now, some contend that v. 1 simply says that the Word is “a god,” or divine; something less than God since there is no definite article in front of the word “God.” But if there was an article it would mean total equivalence with no distinction. Also, “definite predicate nouns which precede the verb usually lack the article,” (J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John) so you can’t make a theological argument based on this. And also if John had wanted simply to say that the Word was divine there was a Greek word for that – Theios.]

So there is sameness, but there is also distinction, because as we saw, the Word can be said to be “with God.” The Word and God are not exactly the same. [This also likely come from Genesis 1. For here the Word is distinguished from God in that they are able to talk together and there is “our” language (“our image, our likeness”) – v. 26. But then when humanity was created it says “God created humanity in his own image, in the image of God he created them” v. 27. It moves from “our image” to “his own image”; from plural to singular. Here the Word and God are identified simply as God. This is very similar to John’s – the Word is “with God” and “was God.”]

How this all works goes beyond our understanding for sure, but the logic of what is taught here is understandable.

  • “was God” means the same in terms of being God. To use later language, the same in essence.
  • But “with God” means there is still a difference. To use later language, a difference in terms of person.

Let’s be clear, there is only one God. This is the most basic of all beliefs and Jesus strongly affirms this (5:44; 17:3; Mark 12:29). But this one God can be spoken of as God the Father and God the Son, and also, based on the rest of the New Testament, as God the Spirit. There is distinction within the oneness of God.

The Word, darkness and humanity. “4In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” When John says “in him was life, and the life was the light of humanity” he means that the life that is the Word is the model for us of what true life is. In this way the Word is a light that shows us what true life is; what is right and what is good and calls us to this.

We have more echoes of Genesis 1 in these verses, the creation of life and the creation of light. It is through the Word that these came to be in Genesis. As v. 3 emphasizes, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

But there is another reality involved here. For although “darkness” is mentioned in Genesis 1, it is subdued or passive. Here it has become an active force resisting God’s life and God’s light. So John is taking into account the presence of human sin in the world and the active presence of the evil one.

There is a struggle going on. Notice the present tense, “the light shines in the darkness.” It keeps on shining. And “the darkness has not overcome the light.” (Best translated as “overcome,” see 12:35)

And then we have an interlude, the witness of John. “6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”

These verses communicate clearly that John only prepares the way for the Word’s coming into the world; for Jesus. He is not the light, but God’s purpose is that through him all would believe in the Word; in Jesus.

vs. 9-13 pick up the themes of vs. 1-5, Light and life from the Word. “9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”

The Word, who is “the true light,” is not yet incarnate here as a person, although he “was coming into the world.” Nevertheless, as the true light he “gives light to everyone.” As we saw in v. 5 he is the light of all humanity. And so just as the extent of creation is universal, and the extent of darkness is universal over the earth, so the extent of the Word’s light is universal, calling all people to the way that leads to life. (John 8:12) (Sirach 24:3-7; Wisdom 9:17-10:21)

“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,  and his own people did not receive him.” With v. 10 the Word has come to the world as Jesus. This marks the fulfillment of prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.

  • As Isaiah 49:6 says, “I will also make you a light of the nations, so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
  • And as Isaiah 9:2 says of Israel and specifically Galilee, “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light . . .” (Also, Isaiah 42:6-7; Isaiah 60:1-5).

But if anyone was expecting an overwhelming reception of the light, John quickly puts this to rest. “Though the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” The world is under the power of darkness and so most do not receive the light. And this is a terrible irony. Most do not even know who made them.

And even more painfully tragic is that he came to the Jewish people, the people of God, and most did not receive him. (This will be extensively chronicled in the Gospel of John.)

vs. 12-13 are more positive, however. “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.” Some, a remnant from both the world and God’s people, did receive him. They “believed in his name,” that is, they accepted who he is. They received the light and life that the Word gives.

And the Word gives to these the right to become children of God; to be born of God. Now in the Old Testament it was the people of Israel who are the children of God. But it is no longer based on the flesh – John says, “not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man (a husband).” It is based on faith in Jesus and the provision of light and life that he gives.

The Word and the new creation

So John is telling a story here in vs. 1-13. He begins with the creation and the original presence of life and light, he talks about the falling of the veil of darkness that comes with sin and then he speaks of the continued shining of the light into the darkness. But most decisively he tells of the one “who was coming into the world,” our Lord Jesus who has come and saved us.

This is a story from creation to new creation. For what was lost in the original creation – life and light, he brings back to those who look to him in faith. And just as the Word was God’s agent of the original creation, so he is the agent of this new creation. And just as he was able to bring forth the original creation because he is God and is God’s Word, so he is able to bring forth the new creation that God is working through him.

The question I leave you with today is this – Where do you stand? There is still great darkness in the world. The world is dominated by sin and the evil one. But God’s light shines on and it shines purely and fully in Jesus. And you have to take sides in this struggle. You can’t be both in the darkness and the light at the same time.

Have you responded to the light that leads to true life? Have you come to Jesus in faith? Have you been born of God? Receive of the light and new life that Jesus brings. Be transformed from within to live a new life in him.

 William Higgins

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Follow the link – John 1:1-18

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