Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Christ of God

In the Beginning, the Word (John 1:1-14)

John, his brother James, and Simon Peter formed an inner circle around Jesus. They were among Jesus’ first followers and witnessed some of the most significant events in Jesus' life, including the transfiguration (Mark.9:2) and the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark.14:32-41). Of the four gospel writers, John shows us the heavenly Jesus, the eternal Son of God. He does not begin his gospel with the birth of Christ on earth but with a picture of His eternal nature from before creation and time.

The phrase, ‘In the beginning,’ is the same as the Greek phrase used in Genesis 1:1 in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) - See my last post In Genesis it literally means, “when the beginning began God was already there.” John develops this to show Jesus' eternal nature saying, “when the beginning began the Word, Christ, was already there.”

John leaves us in no doubt from the outset of his gospel that Jesus is God. Neither God the Father, nor God the Son is created, both were in existence before creation. The writer to the Hebrews confirms this, stating that the Son of God had no ‘beginning of days or end of life.’ (Hebrews 7:3)

This is further affirmed as John writes, 'all things were created by Him.' (John 1:3) The Word of God offers no exceptions as the emphasis in this verse shows, ‘apart from Him nothing came into being.’ He is the originator and the sustainer of all created things.

It is significant that John uses an Old Testament term to describe Jesus’ coming to dwell among us. He employs the term “tabernacled” to describe Jesus’ coming in the flesh (John1:14) an Old Testament term for the dwelling of God among His people. In the desert the tabernacle was the dwelling place of God (Psalm 90:1; Exodus 40:34-35) Now God dwells (tabernacles) among men in the person of Jesus.

Jesus is also described in John 1:14 as 'the only-begotten.' (KJV) The Greek word here, monogenes, is contrasted with the word for born, gennao in verse 13 where all who believe in Jesus are described as ' born of God.' Christ is the unique (monogenes) one, not born (gennao) as we are but begotten.

We can only rightly understand this phrase ‘only begotten’ when used of the Son in the sense of an un-originated relationship. This “begetting” does not mark the place in time when Jesus was born into this world. This is to do with the eternal nature of the Son, there was never a time when He was not, never a time when He was not the Son, never a time when He was not God.

Yet this Jesus was revealed for us all to see and come to know. The beginning of this gospel, the good news about Jesus, takes us back into eternity, gives us an eternal perspective, and demonstrates his eternal nature. How should we think about this Jesus?

John tells us:

For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:21-27)

We should honour the Son “just as you honour the Father”? Consider the power of the Son, as Judge, Saviour and Life-giver – God.

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