ALL-CHURCH FOCUS 2018 DEVOTIONAL

August 20th, Day #2 - John 1:1-18

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The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

 

When have you experienced the light of Jesus overcoming your darkness? How did it change things? Do you currently feel surrounded by darkness? Invite the Light of the World to shine His light of hope to overpower the darkness you are up against.  

GAME ON

If you’ve been to a Broadway musical or a symphony, you may recall the prelude. The audience is introduced to the musical themes and melodies that will surface repeatedly through the performance as the intensity of the performance ebbs and flows. If we keep this prelude concept in mind as we work through John’s Gospel, we’ll find ourselves thinking, “This sounds familiar.” In today’s prelude John is telling us where he’s going in this gospel.

 

Jesus is uniquely God (John 1:1-4) and He is making the first move to right a world gone wrong (John 1:5). Even as He is saving humankind, He also works through humankind (John 1:6-7). Finally, this isn’t a strictly transactional process of redemption; it’s deeply personal. Jesus has come to make the Father known and make us His children (John 1:8-18).

 

John will make good on developing all of these themes over the next 21 chapters and the best way to enjoy the “performance” is to engage with the text. The Gospel of John is perhaps the most beloved of the gospels and as you dive in, you’ll see why. 

YOUR MOVE

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through today's passage.


Scripture: As you read, take time to notice the phrases that pop out at you. What is it about them that catches your eye? What might the Lord be trying to tell you?

 

Observation: Which words are repeated in these verses? Why would that be?

 

Application: When did God begin moving toward you in your life? How did you experience God’s love during that time?

 

Prayer: Praise God for the ways He has initiated with you in your life! Let your trust and gratitude grow during this special time of prayer.

BONUS ROUND

In the person of Jesus, God physically entered into our world. An infinite God came to live in a finite world. The one who knew exactly how things were supposed to be came to a place where things obviously weren't. In Jesus God and man became one person, a person unlike anyone else the world has ever seen or will ever see.  Jesus Christ was, and forever will be, fully God and fully man in one person.  And that one person changed the course of history forever.

 

Jesus- Fully Man

 

Jesus was fully and completely human. He was conceived in the womb of his mother by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.  This is made clear in Matthew 1: 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit."  While many things could be said about this, one thing is clear: Jesus was born of a human mother. His ordinary human birth affirms his humanity.  Just as we have a human body, so did Jesus.  As a child, he "grew and became strong" (Luke 2:40), and as he grew older, he "increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man" (Luke2:52).  He became "wearied" from a journey

(John 4:6); after a fast, "he was hungry" (Matt. 4:2); and while on the cross, he said, "I thirst" (John 19:28).  His body was, in every respect, just like ours.  Jesus rose from the dead in a physical, human body that was no longer subject to weakness, disease, or death.  As he told his disciples, who were astonished at the risen Christ, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see.  For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have"

(Luke 24:39).  Jesus continues to reside in this perfect but human body in heaven.

 

Jesus' mind was like ours as well. He went through a learning process as other children do. Luke, for example, tells us he "increased in wisdom" (Luke 2:52).  Like a normal child, he learned how to do things such as talk, read, write, and eat.  In his human nature he did not know the day he would return to earth, "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32).  In addition, Jesus felt the full range of emotions: he "marveled" at the faith of the centurion (Matt. 8:10); he "wept" at the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35); and he prayed to God "with loud cries and tears" (Heb. 5:7). Before his crucifixion, he said, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" (Matt. 26:38) and "Now is my soul troubled" (John 12:27).

 

Jesus was like us in every respect but one: he was without sin. That is why at the end of his life he could say, "I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love" (John 15:10).  That is why Paul refers to Jesus as "him ... who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21 ).  Peter tells us that Jesus "committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).  John tells us that "in him there is no sin" (1 John 3:5).  Clearly, Jesus is "one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).

 

Jesus had to be fully human to serve as our perfectly obedient representative.  His representative obedience as a man is in contrast to Adam's representative disobedience.  Paul says that "as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19).

 

If Jesus wasn't fully human, his obedience in our place would be meaningless.  Just as Jesus had to be human to live in our place, he also had to be human to die in our place. This was necessary because of our humanity.  As Hebrews 2: 17 tells us, "He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." If Jesus weren't fully human, his death in our place would be meaningless.  In addition, Jesus' humanity (as well as his deity) allows him to serve as the "one mediator between God and men" (1 Tim. 2:5).  It also means that as a man, he was "in every respect ... tempted as we are" and so is able to "sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb. 4:1 5).  "Because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted" (Heb. 2: 18).

 

Jesus- Fully God

 

As we stated earlier, Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. Again, this is made clear in Matthew 1:18.  Jesus' virgin birth was a supernatural work of God.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit inside Jesus' mother, Mary, the human and the divine were united in a way they never will be in any other person.

 

As we saw when we discussed the full deity of the Trinity (see chapter 3), the Bible clearly says that Jesus is fully God.  For example, Paul writes of Jesus in Colossians 2:9, "In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."  In addition, when Jesus' contemporaries called him "Lord," they were employing a term that was used over six thousand times in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to refer to God or "the Lord."  Therefore, when the angels announced Jesus' birth by saying, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2: ll ), they were saying that the Lord God himself was born.

 

When asked if he had seen Abraham, Jesus responded by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:57 -58).  Those who heard him say this "picked up stones to throw at him" (John 8:59), which is what any self-respecting religious leader would have done if someone claimed to be God.  They understood that Jesus was claiming the same title God claimed for himself in Exodus 3:14-"I AM WHO I AM."

 

In Revelation 22:13, Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."  This is very similar to what God the Father said at the beginning of the same book: '"I am the Alpha and the Omega; says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty"' (Rev. 1:8).  The prophet Isaiah affirms Jesus as the king who reigns forever - a role only God could fill: "Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end" (Isa. 9:7).  That is why Paul said that Jesus is worthy of worship: "God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11 ).  Jesus' divinity is the reason God the Father says, "Let all God's angels worship him" (Heb. 1:6).

 

Jesus was fully God.  "In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (Col. 1:19).  If Jesus wasn't fully God, he could not have borne the full penalty for sin for the whole world.  And if he didn't bear the full penalty of sin for the world as a sinless man, there would be no valid payment for anyone's sins, and nobody could be saved.

 

Jesus - Fully God and Fully Man in One Person

 

Jesus was fully God. Jesus was also fully man. He was fully both at the same time.  The eternal Son of God took to himself a truly human nature.  His divine and human natures are forever distinct and retain their own properties even though they are eternally and inseparably united together in one person.

 

This is probably the most amazing miracle of the entire Bible-the eternal Son of God, himself fully God, became fully man and in doing so joined himself to a human nature forever.  Jesus, a man unlike anyone else the world will ever see again, by eternally bringing together both the infinite and the finite, changed the course of history forever.

 

What about you?  

Take a moment to pray and talk directly to Jesus thanking him for coming to earth and becoming fully man for your sake. 

 

*This resource an excerpt from Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem (Zondervan, 2005), page 67-71.