The gospel of John. It is the most-read single book of the Bible. It is simple and yet complex. We tell new believers to read it first, and yet mature believers can study it for decades. New pastors hesitate to teach it because it is too easy, yet experienced pastors hesitate to teach it because it is too hard. It has been said that a child can wade in it, and an elephant can swim in it. It is the single most important book written in all of man's history.
Who wrote this wonder of literature, history, and spirituality? A Jewish fisherman named John that lived about 2,000 years ago. Why did he write it? John will explain in chapter 20 exactly why he wrote the book:
John 20:30-31 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
The entire purpose of the gospel of John is that you would believe in Jesus Christ and have life in His name. Therefore, if you are not a Christian, there is something here for you - reason to believe in Jesus Christ, and an opportunity to meet him personally. This will result in your eternal life.
If you are a Christian, there is also something here for you: to learn about the incredibly abundant life that Jesus Christ can give you. Oh, you may have eternal life, but remember that He said,
John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.
Dear saint, you may have eternal life in Christ, but is it abundant? The gospel of John will show you how to have that more abundant life.
In the beginning. Sounds familiar, right? The book of Genesis starts with these same words,
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
And that's exactly the point. From our perspective, our limited ability to grasp time, space, and creation, the beginning was when it was all made. When matter as we know it began to exist. When time started. When the cosmos came into being. In the beginning, the Word already was.
Who or what is the Word? We discover in Revelation that it is a title of Jesus Christ.
Rev. 19:11-13 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.
The Word is Jesus Christ. We know that the Bible is God revealed to us in written form - it is the Word of God. Jesus Christ is also the Word of God - God revealed to us in human form.
Is Jesus actually God? What an important question! Every cult has their own twist, their own explanation of why Jesus is NOT God. They claim He is less than God, or simply "a" god. But the Bible is clear about the fact that He is God Himself.
First of all, although the cults and enemies of Christ say that He never claimed to be God, that is a lie. In John 10, we will see that the Jews accuse Him...
John 10:33 "...You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."
Remember also that God told Moses that He was the "I AM." Jesus also claimed that title, which is blasphemy for any but God to claim. In chapter 8 Jesus tells the Jews,
John 8:58-59 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him...
We also see Christ's deity in one of the most famous prophecies of the Scripture:
Isa. 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Then the apostle Paul wrote in 2Corinthians,
2Cor. 4:4 ...Christ, who is the image of God.
He is the human picture of God, a physical manifestation. He is God in an image we can see, perceive, and touch.
Additionally, the psalmist wrote that the Father made "His angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire."
Hebr. 1:8 But of the Son He says, THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.
God the Father calls Jesus Christ God.
And don't forget that good old "doubting" Thomas said that he wouldn't believe in the resurrection unless he touched the wounds of Christ. Eight days later, that happened.
John 20:26-29 And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
Other proofs include the fact that Paul told Titus that we are...
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
And the apostle Peter wrote to those who...
2Pet. 1:1 ...have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ
The Bible also makes no sense if Jesus Christ is not God. For example, in Revelation 2, Jesus tells the church in Thyatira,
Rev. 2:23 "...I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds."
But in Jeremiah, it is God who says,
Jer. 17:10 "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.
So who searches minds and hearts? Who gives to each according to their deeds? If Jesus is not God, there is a glaring contradiction. Also, in Revelation 1, John has a vision of Jesus Christ. Among the many descriptions of Him, John writes that...
Rev. 1:15 ...His voice was like the sound of many waters.
But the prophet Ezekiel wrote,
Ezek. 43:2 and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters...
So, we either have a contradiction, or Jesus Christ is God.
We are really just scratching the surface here. There are many more places to establish this further, but I believe that we've gotten the idea. I guess the main question we need to ask is: "Is it all that important to believe that Jesus Christ is God?" The answer is that your eternal destiny hangs on it. We will see in the coming weeks that Jesus will claim...
John 8:24 "...Unless you believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins."
Unless you believe that Jesus Christ is God, you cannot be saved.
So Jesus is God. But how can He be both God and WITH God? The Bible shows us that God Himself is a Triune being - not three Gods, but one God in three Persons. Deuteronomy 6 proclaims,
Deut. 6:4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
The Jews hold onto this, saying, "Christians are polytheists! They believe in three Gods, but the Pentateuch says there is one God!" But they neglect their own Hebrew language. In Hebrew, Deuteronomy 6 reads, "Sh'ma Yisro-ayl! Yahweh Elohim, Yahweh echod!" "Yahweh" is the proper name of God. "Elohim" means "God," as in:
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.
But the singular word for "god" in Hebrew is "El." If there were two gods being referred to, the word would be "Ella." Three or more would be the word "Elohim." So how can something be three or more, yet be only one? Only in God does the math work out. Only in God can Jesus be both God and with God. The Bible is clear: one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
We see them appear separately at the baptism of Jesus:
Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased."
These three are mentioned as separate Persons yet all as God in tons of other places as well:
Matt. 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Acts 2:32-33 "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
Acts 10:38 "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit...
Rom. 8:11 ...If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
2Cor. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
Hebr. 9:14 ...Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God...
1Pet. 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ...
1John 4:13-14 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
If you want to study this subject further, check out the following references as well: John 15:26; Acts 5:30-32; Rom. 5:5-6; Rom. 8:16-17; Rom. 15:30; 2Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 2:18; Titus 3:5-6; Rev. 1:4-5.
As you can see, there is no shortage of Scripture that points to the Triune nature of God simultaneously. There are literally hundreds of other places to separately prove that the Father is Yahweh, the Son is Yahweh, and the Spirit is Yahweh, yet they are three separate Persons. The cults deny this fact because they have hardened their hearts against the truth and have allowed themselves to be deceived by the evil one.
Jesus created everything. If it was created, it was created by Jesus Christ. In Colossians we read,
Col. 1:16-17 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Jesus Christ created all things, and in Him all things hold together. Remember that this statement was written nearly 2,000 years ago. Today, we know that atoms are made up of a positively charged nucleus and negatively charged electrons. A basic experiment with a magnet will tell you that like charges repel one another. How is it that in the atom's case, the like charges do not repel one another and fly apart, scattering themselves into nothing? "In Him all things hold together."
One day, He will say enough is enough, and He will let go. The third chapter of 2Peter describes this in more detail than we're comfortable with. Jesus Christ is the Creator, Sustainer, and Maintainer of all things.
Life is the opposite of death. Why do people die? Why can't we just live forever? One problem: Sin. You see,
Rom. 6:23 ...the wages of sin is death
All of us have fallen short of God's perfection - we've all sinned. And the penalty for sin is death. But John tells us here that...
John 1:4 In Him was life...
The Bible tells us,
Rom. 6:23 ...The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Jesus Christ is life. He is the only source of eternal life that you can have. That life is the light of men, and it shines into our darkness. Problem: our darkness cannot understand it. The darkness of sin in our hearts is so dark, we just don't get the life and the light of Jesus Christ.
But when you allow Him in, He makes it comprehensible. You understand it. But you have to take that step of faith - to say "I don't want the death that sin brings. I want to receive the life that Jesus Christ offers me."