Before the Beginning – John 1
This message is a part of our series on the Gospel of John.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
If you were to introduce me to some of your family or to a friend, how would you introduce me? You would probably introduce me as Pastor Daniel. It’s not likely that you would introduce me as this is Daniel, he’s a Red Sox fan. Even if you were introducing me to a friend who is also a Red Sox fan, you’d probably lead with the fact that I’m Pastor Daniel and then mention that I’m also a Red Sox fan… If you were to introduce your wife, you should probably lead with the fact that this is you wife, not this is Nicole and she likes to bake… When John begins his record of Jesus’ life he wants to start by introducing what he feels is a very important aspect of Jesus character… He’s divine. He’s God. He’s not merely a man, He is God. The way John does this is very interesting. Look with me at John 1:1.
John 1:1 – In the beginning
A reference to Genesis. John wants his readers to connect the beginning of the Bible to the beginning of this account of Jesus life. They are starting in the same place, before the beginning.
In the beginning Jesus already was…
1In the beginning was the Word,
John uses the term “The Word” to refer to Jesus. He does this because Jesus is the embodiment of God in a form that we can appreciate and understand. We’ll talk more about what that means next week when we tackle John 1:14 which talks about the Word taking on flesh- but for today know that John wants us to see that Jesus is the expression of God.
Have you ever been in an argument and said something along the lines of, well don’t just sit there, say something!
Or maybe that’s been said to you…
A person says that because they can’t read minds and they want to know what the other person thinks, they want to know the other person’s perspective.
Jesus is the expression of God.
However, John is clear to make sure we understand that Jesus is more than just an expression.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
I like the way that Tim Mackie put it,
John wants us to see Jesus as DIVINE yet DISTINCT.
– Tim Mackie3
Jesus isn’t merely the words of God, He is God.
He is from God, yet distinct from God.
John would refer to Him as the Son of God.
Begotten of God, not made of God.
Jesus is not a created being, He is creator.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
This isn’t a book about the creation of the world, that’s what Gensis is all about, but John wants us to see that the God who made everything is the God who came in the form of Jesus.
Now a lot has been written in Theology books based upon these few words that we’ve read so far…
This is a series of sermons, not a series of Theology lectures, but there’s some powerful and compelling Theology that all of this rests upon.
One minister said “I love to look at flowers but I hate to study Botany (the science of flowers). Similarly I love religion but I hate theology.”
I understand that sentiment, and God help me if I reduce the splendor of God’s greatness that is portrayed in this book to a dry and dusty lecture, but I hope that you’ll see that just as a Gardner that has a good appreciation for the science of what makes his flowers bloom and flourish, your life will flourish best when you understand the very nature of Jesus.
For this reason, John says in verse 4-5
4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
In him was life.
Last week we saw that John’s purpose for the gospel was that we might believe and believing we might have life.
The Word that was in the beginning, that created all things, that without whom was not anything made that made, when He came, He had LIFE in Him and of course He did since He created all life in the first place!
5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Here’s the tragedy in John’s perspective, the light shined in the darkness and the darkness understood it not.
10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
John has written his book to undo this, John wants us to have life and believe, but he recognizes that we can not believe in what we don’t know. We can’t follow who we haven’t seen or known…
John says he was in the world made by Him and the world knew him not. He came unto His own and they received him not.
They didn’t know them! John believes that if you get to know Jesus…
Here at Faith we want everyone to
Grow in a Group
Serve on a Team
That’s what we cover in Growth Track.
(These 4 slides will start from the bottom up)
You won’t follow Jesus if you don’t trust him.
I think the best way for you to come to trust him is to come to love him. I think the best way for you to love him is to get to know him.
John seems to think so too…
He wants us to know Jesus so we will love Jesus and then we’ll trust Jesus and then we will follow Jesus.
Here’s a reason you should trust Him. He made you.
He’s the reason you exist.
You should trust Jesus because no one knows better than the one who made you.
John says was not anything made that was made!
Some of you are going through some stuff right now, you’re struggling, your heartbroken, you’re sick, you’re lonely, no one knows better what you need than the God who designed and made you.
You’ll go to doctors, therapists, counsellors, and professionals of all kinds who have given their lives to getting into the matters of heart and soul, but you can know the one who made heart and soul, who built them from the ground up.
Jesus is a not a man who claims to have some great insight into the world based up on observation and study, He is God who knows all because by Him does everything exist.
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
That’s a reason to Trust Him. Let me give you a reason to love Him.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John contrasts here that Jesus was not a man, but John the Baptist was. He was sent to bear witness of the light.
John the Baptist was a man sent by God.
Jesus was God as a man.
John was sent to give witness and testimony to the Light which is Jesus, that all might believe.
That ALL might believe.
9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Now this is radical, because for most the idea of religion was the best among us could be accepted, the most noble, the most decent, the best among us might be accepted, but John writes in his gospel again and again about Jesus making belief and grace possible for all, for the whole world even…
Some of you think that this is for other people but not you because you’re too bad, too broken, too angry, too mean, too dirty…
I want you to pay close attention to verse 12
12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
The word that John uses that is translated “power” in the King James English, means authority or right.
NASB says to them gave he the right become the children of God.
He made it possible.
We had no right. Jesus gave us the right.
When I was a boy I used to listen to this little radio program on the way home from school called uncle Charlies story time.
One day he told the story about a boy who made and built a wooden sailboat. The boy’s father was quite the craftsman, so together the built this fantastic, intricate, sail boat that would float…
The boy would take it to a pond and play with it, put it in the water. When the wind was right he’d put it in on one side and let the wind blow it across the small pond…
One day he was doing this and the wind changed. It blew the little boat into a place in the pond where there were some shrubs and bushes growing out over the water. He crawled back in there and didn’t find it but came across the school bully who was fishing. He asked the boy if had seen it and the boy said no. He kept looking but he couldn’t find it. He searched and searched, but it was lost.
He was heartbroken. He had put so much into that boat.
Weeks passed and as he was walking past the store he saw his boat in the store window. It was looking rough. Someone had played with it harshly and then swapped it or sold it to the shop when they didn’t want it anymore. He ran inside and asked how much they were asking.
It was more money than he had, so he went to work mowing the neighbors lawn, doing chores around the house, and after a whole lot of sweat and toil, he went into the store and bought the boat back. It needed some work, it probably wouldn’t even float in the condition it was in, but he was glad to have his boat back and went to work on it right away.
Jesus didn’t just make you, He bought you back.
That’s what John’s Gospel is all about,
the life Jesus lived and the death that He died to buy us back.
Half of John’s gospel focuses on the last week of Jesus life, because his death paid the price for our sin and brokenness. His death bought us back.
You know, when I was a kid I thought, why didn’t that kid just build a new boat?
He loved that one.
God as creator is worthy of trust.
God as Savior compels us to love.
Some of you don’t feel worthy to be bought back. You’re busted up, You’ve been used up, you’ve been road hard and put away wet, you’ve made bad choices and gotten yourself a whole heap of shame and guilt…
You feel like you have no right…
I want you to look at verse 12 again..…
12But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:
13Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
Not the family you were born into…
Not because of your strength or will…
Not because of the will of man,
not because the church decided,
not because some official decided…
But of God.
Knowing comes before receiving.
Now you know. Receive!