Do You know my Jesuspic

What do you think about Jesus? I’m afraid Jesus may not be the priority and center of your life because you don’t realize just how great Jesus is. In order to understand how great Jesus is, John began by telling us where Jesus came from. We gauge a person by where they are from. If someone is from Hollywood, you might think they are an actor. If someone is from Nashville, you might think he is a country singer. If someone is from Washington, you might think they are a politician. Where is Jesus from? What does that tell us about him?

If we say that Jesus is from Nazareth, we would be right. If we say he was born in Bethlehem, we would be right again. If we say that he worked in Galilee and Jerusalem, we would be right again. But these are only a few brief stops on the way. These important stops are a brief part of Jesus’ journey. He never was “from” these places. They were only stops along the way. Jesus was and is from Heaven.

John didn’t ease us into understanding Jesus’ deity. He wants his divinity to immediately confront us and overwhelm us before we go on to see the incarnation and death of God the Son. John’s Gospel begins with the simple words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). These words tell us where Jesus really was from, and where he is now. This opening statement tells us He is eternal; He is with God[1], and He is divine. He is the Word.

He is the Word

When John described Jesus as “the Word,” the “Logos,” what did he want us to know? The “Word” or “Logos” has to do with the reason behind everything. “In short, God’s ‘Word’ in the Old Testament is his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation, and salvation, and the personification of that ‘Word’ makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son.”[2] In Colossians 1:15-18, Paul described “the Word” in this way:

the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead: that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Jesus is the Word—the reason behind everything and the reason for everything.

He is Eternal

Jesus, the reason for everything, has always been existing. He is eternal. The Greek word translated “was” is a very powerful and informative word. The Greek word is “ἦν” and fully means “was being” because it is in the imperfect tense. It was an ongoing action. Jesus was existing before creation. In other words, Jesus is eternal.

John 1:1 sounds like Genesis 1:1. While Genesis 1:1 is about the beginning of creation, John 1:1 is about what was going on before creation began. The Gospel opens with the declaration, “in the beginning was the Word.” This calls us back to the unseen magnificent glory enjoyed by the Father, Son, and Spirit before angel, universe, or man were created. The Word enjoys the same eternal (no beginning and no end nature) that the Father and Spirit experience.

John taught the same principle in 1 John 1:2, “the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.” John taught us that Jesus, the life became made known (was manifest) but that life was already existing before he came to the world to be seen of John. Jesus is “the eternal life.” John taught that the Word was with the Father before being seen in the world.

He is with God

The phrase “the Word was with God” is incredibly difficult to translate. The word translated “with” actually means “to.” So, the text says something like “the Word was to God.”,[3] The text isn’t just telling us that the Word was in the Father’s presence. The text is also telling us that there is cooperation among equals which existed between Jesus and the Father.[4] The Father and Word were together. They were together and working together as equals.

The fact that “the Word was with God” is incredibly important to understand because it guards us against heresies about Christ. The ancient doctrine of Ebionism taught that Jesus was just a man and not divine. This can’t be true because Jesus was eternally with the Father. Adoptionism taught that Jesus was human, but that God adopted him at some point as his divine Son. This can’t be true because Jesus was always divine. He was with the Father eternally. Arianism teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, but he is not fully divine. This can’t be true because Jesus was with the Father in eternity as an equal.[5]

He is Divine

John finished his great opening verse with the words, “and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). Or as the New English Translation rightly says, “the Word was fully God.” Philippians 2:6 makes this clear saying that Jesus was “existing in the form of God” (ASV). He “took the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:6) although he was fully divine. The full human nature and the full divine nature existed unmixed in the person of Jesus.

“The premise underlying the name Logos is the consistent teaching of Scripture that in creation and re-creation alike God reveals himself by the Word. Thus, Logos points to the one who is able to fully reveal God because from all eternity God communicated himself in all his fullness to him.”[6] Jesus is “the Son of God.”  Psalm 2:7 described Jesus in a special way as “begotten of the Father.” Hebrews 1:2-3, 5 and Hebrews 5:5 use Psalm 2 to describe the eternal divine nature of the Son. The deity of Christ was proven to us by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead by God working through the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:33, Rom. 1:4).

How Big is Your Jesus?

Homer, in The Odyssey, said: “All humans have need of the gods.”[7] All people everywhere have sought for a god. If there was no god pleasing to them, they made a god for themselves. Our culture has fallen into the latter category. Our hearts are god factories. Still, we search for meaning and satisfaction. We will continue to search until we find Jesus. Only Jesus, the Son of God, is perfect for all our needs.

“Christ, the incarnate Word, is thus the central fact of the entire history of the world.”[8] Jesus is the eternal Son of God. We cannot conceive of anything greater than the Father, the Son, or the Spirit. Yet, Jesus stands out as distinct from the Father and Spirit because only Jesus “took the form of a servant.” Only Jesus died for our sins.

 

[1] The Triune God has been denied by some, but this doctrine is most definitely presented in Scripture. The Bible teaches that the Father, Son, and Spirit are three distinct persons who are Divine (Gen. 1:3; Ps. 33:6, 9; 147:18; 148:8; Joel 2:11; Is. 40:7, 13; 59:19). The existence of the Triune God is seen in Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 4. Jesus is in the water. The Holy Spirit descends as a dove. The Father speaks from Heaven. In John 17 Jesus prayed to the Father. “Father” and “Son” and “Jesus” clearly they are not titles referring to the same person. In John 15:26 Jesus told his disciples the Holy Spirit would come after he had ascended. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are clearly two different persons. All three persons are divine. We have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. This mysterious Triunity is impossible for us to understand, but do you want a God you can fully understand?

[2] D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 116.

[3] “I is difficult to translate the Greek phrase pros ton theon (in both vv. 1 and 2) into English. Literally it means “toward God.” Such a translation has the advantage of emphasizing a differential in the Godhead between the parties, but it must not be understood to highlight either ontological change in the Godhead or an oversubjectionism that makes the Logos less than God.” Gerald L. Borchert, John 1–11, vol. 25A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 103.

[4] B. M. Newman and E. A. Nida, A Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of John (New York: UBS, 1980), 8.[4]

[5] These concepts will be discussed further, but it is important to see that Jesus was eternally with God the Father and God the Spirit. Jesus eternally is the second member of the Godhead. This eternal divine being “took on flesh” or became human (Jn. 1:14). Until we appreciate the deity of Christ, we cannot appreciate the sacrifice of Christ for our sins.

[6] Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Abridged in One Volume, 221.

[7] Homer Odyssey III, 48.

[8] Herman Bavinck Reformed Dogmatics: Abridged in One Volume. John Bolt Ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011): 412.

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