John's gospel Study.
God has spoken with His words.
Key Verse 1:1-2.
I really thank God for letting me study Romans book for a while. I could deeply learn what the gospel is, how we should live in as a believers through the book of Romans.
We start John’s gospel from today.
John’s gospel has been called “God’s love letter to the world.”
Luther wrote of it. “ John’s gospel is unique Gospel which is different from other gospel; Matthew, Mark, Luke gospel. This is the unique, tender, genuine chief gospel.” I briefly summarize it.
Firstly John’s gospel clearly portrays Jesus as deity, God.
This book has provided plenty evidence as the full deity of Jesus. I came above but you are not. Jesus, himself represents to his disciples ,who wanted to know God in John 14:9-10.
9 “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” If you know Jesus, you will know God. If you know Jesus’ work, you will know the work of God because he is the image of the invisible God. you can know God through Jesus because full of deity is in Him.
Secondly, John’s gospel vividly describes that Jesus is the only way of our salvation. He is only way to come to God. John 3:16 is the best-loved text to describe how much God loves this sinful world, why Jesus came into this world. 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus introduces himself as famous words of “I am”; I am the bread of life, (Jon 6:35), I am the gate for the sheep (10:7), I am the good shepherd (10:11) I am the resurrection and life (John 11:25), I am the way, the truth and the life (14:1-4), I am the true vine (John 15:1). All emphasize that Jesus is the only way to come to God. Jesus is the only way of salvation. Knowing Christ is the way of your salvation. If you don’t know him, you should examine your salvation because there is no other way except Him.
Thirdly, John’s gospel develops the theme of salvation through notions of sin, atonement, life and knowledge of God. If Jesus is the Lame of God, he might take away the world’s sin and set free from the slavery of sin which hold entire human beings. All the movement of the plot of John’s gospel is toward the cross and the resurrection. The cross is not merely a revelatory moment, it indirectly portray of the cross and resurrection through whole book; the death of the shepherd for his sheep, the sacrifice of one man for his nation, the life that is given for the world, the victory of the Lamb of God, the triumph of the obedient Son and so on.
John expresses the purpose of writing this book in John 20:30-31. “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
I cannot explain such a great book of John’s gospel as just few summary notes.
It is the great privilege and such a blessing for us to study John’s gospel. We can know who Jesus is personally through study of this book.
Today, we will study beginning of John’s gospel chapter 1:1-3. I pray that God my richly bless our John’s gospel 2017 so that we may deeply and personally know who Jesus is. It may lead many of us into the salvation and sanctification through Jesus!
Part one- In the beginning was the word. (1)
How does the author, John start this book?
Let’s read verse one. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John makes the beginning of his Gospel parallel with that of Genesis chapter 1:1. Genesis chapter 1:1 starts “In the beginning God created heavens and earth.
However “ in the beginning” in Genesis, is “בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית” (be·re·shit) as Hebrew, which point out the beginning of all creation. It indicates the starting point of creatin. However John gospel of “in the beginning” is different. ἀρχῇ (archē) as Greek word, means the eternity time before all creations.
“In the beginning was the Word” and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The word is repeated three times at just one verse. The word is the key point. The word represent Logos as Greek. Greek philosophers had interest about the origin of all universe and of power, and studied that area so much. They regarded God’s logos as the controlling principle of matter. One of typical Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who used Logos at the first time, described that life is not chaos because the change is not mere random change but changes it according to certain rules and principles. It is ordered change. This “Logos” indicates controlling power of the universe and of even man’s mind. Very famous Philosopher, Plato, said to his followers. “ It may be that some day there will come forth from God a word, a Logos, who will reveal all mysteries and make everything plain.” The origin of power and of existence means “Logos”.
It is very interest same concept in Genesis chapter one Genesis 1:3. “God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” “God said,… It was so” those verses continuously repeated in Genesis.
Part two-the word indicates Jesus.
What can we learn from verse one?
Firstly, The word, Logos of God is the origin of everything.
God created universe with His words. Hebrews 11:3 tell us “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
Psalm 33:6 describe it.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
In the time of New Testament, words of Lord is crucial of new creation of our soul.
John 5:25 tell us. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
If spiritually dead hears the word of the Son of God, he will have new life. The Word of God reveals our hidden serious sickness and has surgery of our soul. Heb 4:12 teaches us. 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Secondly, God has spoken to us through His words. Words are the tool of conversation. We have personal relationship with others through conversation. We represent ourselves with Our words. People regards your word as the identification of yourself so you should not say word with careless way. There is One of oriental maxim. All things will be done as what you said. God judges you what you said. Mat 12:37 tell us. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
That much is that spoken word is important.
When God revealed himself, he spoke to us with his words.
When God called Abram, he spoke to him with his words. When God revealed who he is, he spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14. “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
He left his written words to explain himself. He never speaks with empty words. What he spoke, it comes back through the accomplishment what he spoke at his time.
Isa 55:11 teach about it.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Ps147:19-20 tells us.
19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.
He still speaks to us through his written words. God speaks to us through Jesus’ words at our time. Hebrew 1:1-3.
“ In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
Do you want to know God? Do you want to hear the voice of God? “Hear the words of Jesus”
You can hear the words of God through words of Jesus.
There are so many God’s laws and regulations in the Old Testament. To be righteousness before God, should we keep all God’s laws. Jesus fulfilled the law. He is the culmination of the law. Romans 10:4 describe it. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Thirdly, The word indicates Jesus. John vividly represent who “Logos” is in John 1:14.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus is the origin of universe. He was before Abraham was born. (John 8:58). He exists before the universe was formed. Verse 2,3 tells us about Jesus.
“He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The origin of Logos came into this world as human form. The glory of God came into just ordinary man.
It is impossible for man to understand fully at this incarnation.
However it has been prophesied from Genesis 3:15 to Malachi. Isaiah 9:6 tell us about it.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This ordinary child is mighty God who has the power and authority of all government.
Prophet Isaiah was even shocked with full of astonishment when he foresaw the future Messiah’s crucifixion in Isa 53.
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
The infinite word indicates Jesus who came into this world as human form.
The infinite one came as the finite one to be with you and me. The infinite one came to die for setting you and me free from the eternal slavery of sin.
John proclaims this event like that. “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
We live in so dry and uncertain world. it is very stressful and afraid in the life of this world. It seems like there is no reason to thankful when we live in this world. However there is full of God’s grace and truth in Christ.
God’s full of grace and truth came upon you. We have clear reason to thank to any situation because infinite God love you so much. He came this world as an ordinary baby in the lowest manger to be with you as. He came to die for saving you and me from Satan’s grip. In him, there is full of grace and truth.
Why shouldn’t thank toward Him at any situation if you are believers?
Firstly, the words of God, Logos is the origin of all universe.
Secondly, God has spoken to us with His son, Jesus’ words. Thirdly, this Logos indicate Jesus. Do you want to know God? Do you want to meet God? Please meditate on words of Jesus! Please study who Jesus is. If you know him, you will know God.
John 14:6-7 even teaches us about it.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Jesus is the light of all mankind.
Key verse 1:4
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a it.
We studied that Jesus was there before the universe was formed as the Word last Sunday. Word was God. The Word indicates Jesus who incarnated as human form in this world. Jesus was God. Fullness of God dwells in him. If you want to know God, we should know him through only Jesus. This is the way God provided us to know Him.
Today, we will study John 1:3-5. Even though these verses are short, they are so clear and powerful in demonstrating Jesus. We will study three main topics through today’s passage.
1. Jesus is the creator, God.
2. In him was life.
3. The life of Jesus is the light of all mankind.
May God give us humble hearts to know who Jesus is through today’s passage we may worship Him as our creator and God!
Part one-Jesus is the creator, God. (3)
Look at verse 3. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
This verse declares that Jesus is creator God. John’s gospel uniquely distinguishes Jesus as deity, compared to other gospels; Matthew, Luke and Mark. Matthew gospel portrays Jesus as the king of Jews. Mark gospel represents Jesus as the servant of God. Luke gospel deals with Christ’s humanity as the son of Man. But John’s gospel describes Jesus as the eternal, pre-existing, Son of God who incarnated into human form.
There are no narratives of parables, of his transfiguration, of the Lord’s Supper, and Jesus’ temptations in John’s gospel. Jesus’s act of changing water to wine in John 2 demonstrates Jesus’ divine power. Jesus introduces himself as equal with God in 5:17-18. He walked on the water in John 6:16-21. He even proclaimed himself “ before Abraham was born, I am” in John 8:58. He raised Lazarus from the dead after Lazarus passed away for four days. The final proof of his climax as deity was his death and resurrection. He rose from the dead as the Scripture said. After Thomas, who doubted Jesus’ resurrection, met the risen Christ, He confessed “my Lord and my God” in John 20:28. John’s gospel clearly demonstrates Jesus as God.
1Col 1:16 describe Jesus. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
Jesus introduces himself as eternal God in Revelation 1:8. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Many believers may believe Jesus as their savior but not know Jesus as God. It is familiar to hear “Jesus is our savior, good shepherd and friend.” Even Muslim people admit Jesus as a great prophet but they deny him as creator, God. John’s gospel clearly states that Jesus is creator God.
Think about the time of Jesus! Was it easy for people to believe Jesus as creator, God? They saw him in their same human nature. He had the same emotions, pains, sorrows and joys like you. They knew he was born from Joseph’s wife, Mary but they didn’t know that he was born through Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was not easy for them to believe Jesus as Crestor, God.
Do you know why religious leaders killed him? Because Jesus himself declared that he is deity who is equal with God. If he denied himself as God, there was no reason to die. In front of Pilate’s interrogation, he clearly declared who he is. “I am a king, this reason I was born and came into this world, to testify to the truth.” In John 18:37. He came to die as deity, God.
Why is it crucially important to acknowledge Jesus as deity, God?
If you don’t acknowledge him as God, there is no forgiveness of sin. Can angels be ransom for us? No angels don’t die. How can sinful man become ransom for us as our sin offering? Someone who is sinless should substitute for us in light of our sin. Only Jesus, who is fully man and fully God, can be a ransom for us as a sin offering.
If he is not true God, You also truly don’t know God’s love. God, himself came to this world to die in our place as the accused and died in your place. This is God’s love.
If he is not true God, You truly don’t know how serious sin is. Holy God, himself came down as a flesh to die due to your sin. Jesus didn’t need to come down in human form, which is extreme humility. He was ignored and mocked and horribly crucified. However, the reason he died on the Cross was to proclaim himself as God, as a ransom for all our sin.
Holy God came into this world as human form to accomplish our salvation through his death and resurrection. This is gospel.
Do you believe that Jesus is creator, God?
Part two – in Him was life.
Let’s read verse 4. “ In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” If you read John’s gospel, you can frequently find that Jesus is ‘life’ and ‘light’ of the world. ’The word of ‘Life’ comes out 41 times andthe word of ‘light’ comes out 16 times and in John’s gospel. The theme of John’s gospel is “life” and “light”
Life is so mysterious. Even though the technology has been highly developed, man cannot create the life because the life comes from God. “ In him was life,” this is the great statement. Jesus is the origin of life and sustains our life.
This life includes the source of physical as well as of spiritual life.
Let’s think about our physical life. Genesis 1:26-27 describes God’s creation of man.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, ….27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Trinity God created man. Jesus is the origin of your physical life.
Genesis 2:7 especially focus on where Man’s life came from.
7 Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. The dust became a living being when the breath of life came into the dust.
Our physical life came from God who is Trinity.
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, it was already passed four days from Lasarus’ death. Decayed smell came out from His dead body in the tomb. Life was gone. He was already completely dead.
However, when Jesus commanded the dead body, “Lazarus, come out!” dead body received the life and came out from the tomb.
Jesus introduced himself in John 11:25.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”
The origin of our life comes from Christ. Not only physical life but also spiritual life comes from Jesus. Ephesian 2:1-3 represents our spiritual status before we didn’t know him. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…… 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
” We were spiritually dead. Our nature was the destiny of the wrath of God due to our sin. But verse 4-5 describe new spiritual life came with Christ.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Being born again means receiving a new life from God through the Lord, Jesus Christ by faith in him.
1John 5:11-12 tell us. “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
There is no other way to receive new life of regeneration except Christ Jesus.
John 14:6 testified it. 6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“In Him was life.” John’s gospel clearly testifies this truth through whole book.
Only in him, there is true life.
Nicodemus ,who had all fame, authority, material, knowledge and even great religious ethics, didn’t have true life. He probably thought that all those things would give him true life. However His soul was dark and gloomy. He silently visited to Jesus to look for true life. Jesus gave him the answer In John 3:14-15.
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g] Samaritan lady thought an ideal husband could quench her thirty and give true life. She looked for him and changed even five husbands. What she had was deep wound and pain. However after she met Jesus, her thirsty was quenched, her inner life and joy was overflewed as much she couldn’t stop to shear her living life to all home town people. “come and see…. Could this be the Christ? (John 4:29)
Jesus introduces himself as the bread of life in John 6:35.
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. True living life comes from him.
Jesus testified, “In him, was life” with intense expression in John 6:53
53 “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
How can we eat the flesh of Jesus? How can we drink of his blood? Jesus emphasized it “very truly I tell you,” Without you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, do you have no life in you.
Without cleaning our sin by His blood, can we not in Him. if we repent our sin, forgiveness of sin come upon us and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We can have communion with Jesus through faith in Jesus’ blood.
When we are in him, Jesus’ life is within you.” In him, was life. “ There is no other way of eternal and living spiritual life.
People look for powerful living life. People want to have peace. So Yoga and mediation is popular in those days. Some of people look for living life through other religions or activities. However I never heard true life comes from those ways. 53 “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” “In Him was life.”
We need to depend on Jesus’ blood and have communion daily to overcome this sinful world. This is the secret of powerful life. “In him was life.”
Are you in Him or out of him?
Part three- Jesus is the light of all mankind.
John testifies the life of Jesus is the light of all mankind in verse 4b. “that life was the light of all mankind.”
Even prophet Isaiah prophesied Jesus as great light in Isaiah 9:2.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Zechariah describes Jesus as the rising sun Luke 1:78-79.
“by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Jesus is the great light like sun. light is so powerful. If sun rises from the east side at dawn, thick darkness completely disappears no matter how dark it is. Revelation 22:5 even tell us there is no sun and moon in heavenly kingdom because the light of Jesus is much brighter than sun or moon. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Jesus is light. Darkness in John gospel describes the power of sin. So many people don’t know that the course of darkness comes from sin. they look for it and try to solve it but always superficial result come out because they don’t know fundamental course. The Scripture clearly teaches us the fundamental matter of human being is the matter of sin.
Before Adam sinned, there was no darkness at all because the light of God reigned over the Garden of Eden. It was paradise.
After sin came into this world, the darkness reigns over us. The darkness indicates all our misery, sickness, bankruptcy, failure, death and so on. The power of darkness reigns over all mankind since Adam sinned. People try to solve this matter through all effort, they cannot solve it. However, Jesus ,who is the great light, came into this world to shine true light. Wherever the light of Jesus shine, darkness is disappeared.
If the light of Jesus shine upon us, darkness is exposed. If great light of Jesus shine upon us, we deeply realize how horribly sinful I am. That is why Jesus proclaimed as first message when he started his messianic ministry. “Repent, kingdom of God is near.”
If this light comes to us, there are always two different responses; certain people are deeply repent their sin and accept this light and receive true joy, peace and kingdom of heaven. The other people hate this light and try to destroy him because their darkness and evil intention are exposed.
How much powerful is this light? Verse 4b describes it.
“The darkness has not overcome[a] it.” when Jesus came into this world, the power of darkness tried to stop his messianic mission and even to kill him many times. However he accomplished his mission and proclaimed final word, “it is finished.” “The darkness has not overcome[a] it.” 1 John 5:4 -5 teaches us about same conception.
4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
When we are in Jesus, we can overcome the world because Jesus has already overcome the world and gave us the great comfort promise in John 16:33 33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 8:12 also testify us how to overcome darkness and live in light of life. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
To live in light of life is positively and closely follows Jesus who is great light. To follow Jesus means to follow His words. We ,who live in this modern society, are normally so busy. It is easy for us to excuse ‘I don’t have time to walk with Jesus.” I don’t have the time to meditate on His words. “I have to do this, that and others” “there are many things to do” this is the wise way of Satan’s strategy not to follow Jesus and to make us as his slaves.When we feel so busy in our life, It is the time to stop by moment and kneel down before Him and find where you are.
“do I follow him? do I walk with Him?’ , do I go ahead of him?” “do I go my own way?
You will find ‘where you are. “Your direction might be opposite.” And return to him and ask for his guidance and wisdom with His words. I believe the light of Jesus shine your way and guide you with right and straight path through his words.
1.Jesus is creator God.
2.In Him was life.
3. Jesus is the great light of all mankind.
True light came into the world but the world didn’t recognize Him.
Key Verse 1:9
Driving Car alone without drivers is hot technology in those days. It was like dream few years ago. However it seems to be reality at our time. Our technology and culture are rapidly developing in those days.
What was the greatest things of history of the world which mostly effected our life? Many of us think invention of computer or atomic power or steam engine. Some of us may think of discovery of fire or wheel. However there is much more powerful one than anything else. This is the birth of Jesus. Many of Christians or even non-believers will agree that coming Jesus Christ is one of greatest moment of human history. Even our history was changed from B.C which means Before Christ to, A.D represent anno domini as Latin phrase which means “in the year of our Lord.” This event can apply not only our history but also our personal life too.
The scripture describes those who don’t meet Jesus personally are walking in darkness many times. What is the most and desperately need them? They need light.
John describes it in verse 9. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” Jesus is true and genuine light. This light gives us life and direction, hope and assurance for our life. We will study about true light.
Today’s passage represents main three topics
1. The role of John the Baptist,
2. The coming of true light.
3. The response of the world and their own people when true light came.
I pray that God may open your spiritual eyes and ears to find this true light through today’s passage so that you may find the right way of your life!
Part one- John the Baptist came as a witness to testify true light (6-9)
Look at verse 6. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The Old Testament testifies that the forerunner would come before the promised Messiah come this world in Isa 40:3.
“A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord[a];make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
The book of Malachi 4:5 describe it as Elijah.
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.
He was sent by God. all Four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke gospel and John introduce John the Baptist. He is the last prophet of the Old Testament. His role is so important. He shows the modal of ministers. He opened new ears. what can we learn about Him?
Firstly, He faithfully prepared his mission before God.
Do you know how much he prepared for his ministry?
Matthew 3:4 describes it. 4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
He was a son of priest, Zechariah. He could live luxurious andcomfortable life with the recognition as son of priest in Jewish society. However he departed from comfort zone of his house and lived in a desert to keep his purity until his time came. His clothes were just made by camel’s hair. His food was locusts and wild honey. His life was simple and clear in wildness to prepare for God’s mission through entire life.
When he preached his message, what happened? National Revival was occurred. Matthew 3:5-6 describe about it.
5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
The power of his message came from God. But we cannot deny that his pious life enabled him to do. What was his role? Verse 7,8 clearly tells us about it.
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.He came as a witness to testify the light. He came to prepare people’s heart to believe true light.
Secondly, he delivered the message of repentance to shine light into people’s heart. When he started his mission into this world, what was his first message?
“Repent kingdom of heaven is near.”(Mat 3:1-2).
His repent message was direct and clear. Matthew 3:7-9 describes his message.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
He shapely rebuked the sin of religious leaders, solders and tax correctors to prepare their heart. Without repent, does nothing happen to our life; no change our life, no regeneration, no sanctification and no growth of our faith. The one of step to have faith in Christ is to repent our sin because all human beings are under power of sin and death. Without repentance, there is no other way to escape from that power.
When 911-tragedy event was happened 2001, many people became humble and came back to churches. However there were repentance message in churches. After times was passed, people returned to normal life. Regret is not enough to be changed our life. Without repentance, is there no kingdom of God.
However it is hard for us to proclaim this repentant message. It is easy for us to deliver comfortable and peaceful message because people want to hear the message of pleasing their ears. However without repentance, there is no true comfort and peace because the power of darkness still grasps us. Repentant message is disappeared in modern churches. The heart of all human beings are like mixed soil with path, rocky, thorns soil. Without cultivation of our heart by the plow of repentance, is it impossible for us to be planted the seed of gospel.
Thirdly, he was so faithful as his role. He came as the witness of light so that all men might believe. He himself was not the light. When he delivered message, multitude came to him. Many of them misunderstood that he might be the promised Messiah. He might be true light. Our human beings are so thirsty to receive their own recognition, fame and glory. There is One of maxim. Even elephant can dance from cheering their recognition. All are hungry of recognition. It is not easy for him to deny him and to confess him as just witness at the full of recognition. He clearly confessed “ I am not the Christ, I am not prophet. I am just voice of one calling the desert to make straight to the way of the Lord.” (John 1:23) I am not worthy to untie the thongs of sandals of coming light (27)
Part two- true light came into the world. (9)
Let’s read verse 9. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
The author, John describes the promised Messiah as true light. We should think why he introduce him as true light. “true” “alethinos” as the Greek means ‘real’ or ‘genuine’. This word simply is opposed to “untrue” “fake”. Why are so many fake diamonds in this world? Because it is precious and expensive.
As I talked with Sun Yung Shin, who started Bible study with M. Deborah , she shared her opinion about Christianity. She told “she realized that Jesus is true religion because there are many fake and similar religions.” Jesus is true and genuine light. There are many fake lights. Many other cults look like Christianity. They even use their name of religion as Christian and uses name of Christ Jesus for the sake of their own purpose But the end of their teaching is different what the Scripture says, and make us astray from the true light, Jesus and lead us into their own evil ways.
True light leads us into the way of the truth. Jesus introduces himself as the truth who lead into God in John 14:6.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
True light teaches us where we are now and deliver us from darkness. True light teaches us how to live as the blessed life in this world. True light shows us the modal of right way of life. True light illuminates us to acknowledge fake light. The mostly true light drive darkness away from us to live in light as we studied last Sunday. There is no darkness at all in Him. This true light so powerful. Whenever this light shines, darkness is disappeared. Jesus came into this world to shine into darkness.
The Scripture clearly say that those who don’t know Jesus live in darkness because all of human beings are under slave of sin after Adam sinned. All desperately need this true light. All of you were under darkness. We were delivered from darkness by God’s grace. We were called to illuminate this true light through us as 1Peter 2:9-10 tell us.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
True light is everlasting light.
There are many small lights like illuminated light. When we read the book of biology of great men in our history such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Carnegie Mellon, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs and so on, we receive great impressions through lives. They were small and weak light to shine at their brief time in this world but small lights fade away however this true light is eternal light. If it is turned on in your heart, it shines in your heart and lead us into eternality.
However how was the response when true light came in this world?
Let’s read verse verse10. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.”
This verse teaches us spiritual state of this world.
This world is under total depravity after Adam sinned. The Scripture describes it at several times. Genesis 6: 5 describes
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Romans 3: 10-12 also describes it.
“There is no one righteous, not even one;11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.”[b]
John 3:19-20 represents it.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
They don’t want to know him. They don’t want to recognize true light because their darkness will be exposed. They belongs to darkness so that darkness hates light and tries to kill this light. Men’s wickedness is beyond our imagination unless God intervenes them. Pauline visited ancient Roman city of Pompeii few year ago and shred disgusting features there. That city was buried by an eruption of Vesuvius in A.D 79. Today, it has been uncovered , anyone can visit there. All so disgusting sexual depravity and full of corruption of morality are exposed there. Romans 1:21-32 describe if God gave human beings over.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another……
29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.
This is our spiritual status if God doesn’t hold us. After Adam and Eve sinned, did they look for God at the first? No, sin already came into their heart and mastered them. God firstly visited them and asked them ‘where are you?” it is same thing today. God comes calling.
Even his own people rejected him when true light came to them. Look at verse 11.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
This is not surprising. If you read Old Testament, same things have been happened. God delivered Israelites from Pharaoh’s oppression by the mighty hand of ten plagues through Moses. Before they crossed over the Red Sea, they began to grumble to Moses in Exodus 14:11-12 . 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
When Jeremiah preached to his people, they rejected his message and killed him. Jeremiah 44:16 describes it 16 “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord!
How about the time of Jesus? He performed many miracles to reveal the promised
Messiah as the true light what the Old Testament testified. They even reached him and asked for him “‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” Jesus clearly answered who he is quoted words of Isaiah 29:18.
“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
However they rejected him. Religious leaders, who had much knowledge about the promised Messiah, became full of jealousy and finally killed him.John 3:19 describe the why they did. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
If we do not acknowledge our spiritual status, we are deceived by ourselves.
So many people think they mortally don’t commit serious sin and are pretty good. I am a pretty good person. However when light shine in their inside of heart, they will realize how dirty I am. One of example is Apostle Paul. He was a man of self righteousness. He introduces himself who he was in Philippians 3:4-6.
4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
He was a great man at human point of view. His zeal toward God, life was tremendous.
However, after he encountered the bright light, risen Christ, He realized he was a horrible sinner. The more he knew Christ, the more he found himself and confessed “I am worst sinner.” Onetime, he tried to be righteous by his own effort and strength, but he found that sin controlled himself and couldn’t escape from the power of sin and of death. He cried out“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” in Romans 7:24 and found the answer and gave thank to God.
25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! in Romans 7:25. You will realize that there is no good within us when true light shine in you.
Only true light can drive the power of sin and of death away and make us new creation of light. He came to destroy the power of darkness through his death and resurrection and to rescue us from there.
Part three- Rebirth comes from solely God.
Look at verse 12-13. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Only those who humbly receive him and believe Him, they can be children of God. it doesn’t come from our natural descent. In the old Testament, their identity was succeeded through the descents or tribes. That is why Jewish people were so proud as Abraham’s descents. God promised that he would make his holy nation through Abraham’s descent. They rejected that God would make his holy nation through the Abraham’s descent, Jesus through faith in Him. Salvation comes through him.
Rebirth doesn’t also come from human decision. Human decision is the result of God’s effect calling. We were under power of darkness who is much powerful thank us. I can describe it as the Israelites who were under king, Pharaoh. Could they run away from the hand of King, Pharaoh by their own strength? It was impossible for them to run away unless God’s intervention through Moses. God rescued them by his mighty power.
It is not also husband’s will. The influence of husband critically important to a wife. Husband and wife seem one body. Even though husband earnestly want to save her, it is in God’s hand. it is individual as well as personal.
Rebirth absolutely involves God’s initiative. The Scripture tells us about God’s pre-ordained even though we don’t understand it in Ephesian 1:4 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to Sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
Rebirth comes from solely God not because we are worthy or we are better than others because it is completely God’s grace. Ephesian 2:3-9 vividly represent it.
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,…... 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” All were spiritually dead. All were worthless. All were powerless. All were under God’s wrath. God’s amazing grace came upon us so we were saved. We became children of God. We received the privilege of walking with Him and of knowing Him.
1. We studied the role of John the Baptist. He was so faithful as the witness of true light.
2. We learned true light. If true light shine upon us, darkness disappear us because true light drive us away. True light drives even power of death away. Only true light can drive the power of sin and of death away.
3. Rebirth comes from solely God. It doesn’t come from natural descent, nor human decision, nor a husband’s will but born of God. That is why we should be humble. If we know it, we can be humble and give thanks to God at any circumstance.