Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – John
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5
I try my best to talk about just one verse, so today I was going to focus just on verse three: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”. But to explain verse three you need to read and understand verse one and two, as well as four and five. This is why expository preaching (verse-by-verse) is so important – you take God’s Word in context, and in doing so you can grasp the entire point that the author and the Holy Spirit have intended. Having preached through the Gospel of John in the past (I think it was 116 sermons…), I probably spent a number of weeks on just these five verses, but I’ll make it brief.
The apostle John – the beloved one, was probably the youngest of the disciples and also considered by many to be the best friend of Jesus. John was with Jesus all the time and he witnessed things that many of the other disciples didn’t see or experience. John’s Gospel was also written later than the other three, and this is why John’s story is so different – not contradictory – just different, and that’s because John wanted to tell things about Jesus that the other three writers didn’t write about. John’s main focus was on the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was indeed fully man and fully God, and these opening verses make that very clear. Jesus is called the Word – which is another couple of sermons – but what we want to observe here is that not only is Jesus called the Word, but we see that the Word was there at the beginning; the Word was with God; the Word WAS/IS God; and was with God the Father from the beginning. The Triune God has no beginning, but beginning here is in reference to the beginning or start of time as we know it, which was the result of the creation of all things.
Speaking of the creation of all things, here’s where we get to this fascinating verse three: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made”.
The Jehovah Witnesses BUTCHER these verses in an attempt – a very poor attempt – to justify their false doctrine that says that Jesus was a created being (He apparently was Michael the archangel, who became Jesus at his birth, and then became ‘extra special’ – not divine – at his baptism). They say that Jesus was ‘a god’, and there is no reputable expert in Greek that agrees with their translation. They also say that God created Jesus, and THEN Jesus created everything else, but that’s not what this verse says, nor do the coup de grace verses about Jesus the Creator in Colossians 1:15-20.
We read here in John 1:3 that it was through the creative omnipotent power of Jesus Christ – the Word – that the Word was spoken and all things came into being. Verse three continues to restate this truth by saying that without Christ – meaning, He was the Prime Mover and Creator – nothing that we see or don’t see for that matter – has been made. I just don’t see how anyone can miss this obvious truth that John is stating here. Ahh, but that’s the rub. The next verses tell us why people don’t believe that Jesus was, is, and always will be, not only the Creator of all, but the Savior of our souls. Let’s read on – verses four and five:
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Obviously mankind will all say that they are alive or that they have ‘life’, and on one level – the earthly/carnal level – they would be right. Our heart beats and our brain thinks, so we are ‘alive’ or have ‘life’. But according to the scripture (Ephesians 2:1-5; Revelation 3:1; Colossians 2:13; Romans 8:6-10; Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:60; John 5:25; 1 John 3:14) all mankind is born spiritually dead. They are alive to the world and to the devil, but as far as the Lord is concerned (since it tells us here in verse four that Jesus is Life, and we are born separated or without Jesus) we are spiritually dead. Alive, but dead – fallen mankind are zombies – alive but without real life. Jesus Christ IS real life because He IS LIFE. If you have Christ (or better put, Christ has you!) then you are spiritually alive – alive really for the first time! If you don’t have Christ, then you are dead – spiritually dead.
So, these introductory verses of John’s Gospel are telling us (so far) that the Word always existed; the Word was with God and was with God from the beginning; the Word IS God; the Word has created all things; and that the Word IS LIFE. And verse four concludes by reminding us of the incarnation of Christ (God becoming man) when it tells us that ‘life was the light of all mankind’. He came into a dark world (of spiritual death, sin, and rebellion) and He was indeed the Light of the world.
And to reiterate the spiritually dead condition of fallen man with a different metaphor, John then concludes this section by telling us that this Word – Jesus (by the way, verse fourteen finally reveals that the Word is Jesus, who came in the flesh!) – was shining His light – His true Life – in the darkness, but the darkness – those living in the darkness (spiritually dead) could not comprehend it.
This is what I meant at the beginning of this essay about the world not believing or accepting that Jesus Christ is, was, and always will be God – as His Word clearly teaches. The world doesn’t see it because they are in darkness – spiritually dead. Not only can’t they see it – they don’t want to see it. It’s not like people are groping in the darkness wishing to find the Light, but rather, according to Romans 8:7 tells us,
The mind governed by the sinful nature (dead innermost being, spiritually dead spirit) is hostile to God;
it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
We read here that those who are spiritually dead do not (willfully) submit to God’s law (which would include: loving Him, serving Him, worshiping Him; obeying Him), nor do they have the ability to do so. This is why salvation is of the Lord (as we saw in the Jonah essay). We can’t – and don’t want to come to faith. It has to be a divine work of God’s grace, at which time the Lord speaks His life into us, and we go from spiritual death to spiritual life. This is all a work of God – by His grace and His grace alone. This is why it says later in John’s Gospel:
Jesus went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can
come to Me unless the Father has enabled them’.
The Lord, in His mercy and grace, has to enable us – speak life – His life – into us so that we can then come to Jesus and repent. We don’t come to Jesus on our own and then repent – He has to first speak life into us. He has to – as John 1:5 is alluding to – take us from the darkness and place us in the Light – His Light – His Life – real Life – abundant Life – eternal Life. And this same John said this very thing later in his First Letter:
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have
the Son of God does not have life.
Have Jesus – Have the Word – then you have Life.
So, these opening verses of John are just jammed pack with the truth of the deity of Christ; the eternal existence of Christ; the creator Christ; the Light and Life of Christ; and in Christ we find our forgiveness, redemption; justification; our righteousness; our holiness; and eternal life. Thank you Father for the Son who died for my sins, and then through your grace You sent us your transforming and repurposing Life through the Holy Spirit!