I was invited to preach at Lakeway Church in Lenoir City, TN today. Here is my meager efforts at an exposition of selected texts in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, which I preached this morning at Lakeway.
Introducing Jesus Christ
Introduction to Johnâ€™s Gospel
Author: The Apostle John (not John the Baptist), author of this gospel, 1,2,3 John, and Revelation. Known within the gospel as â€œthe disciple whom Jesus lovedâ€
Date: A.D. 60 â€“ 70. Most likely the last Gospel written. This Gospel was long thought to be composed at a time placing it well beyond the reach of anyone who could have possibly known Jesus. However, archaeology has served the Biblical testimony well and forced scholars of all orientations to look for an earlier dating of John.
1. The light/darkness dualism. The contrast of light/darkness and life/death that is so prominent in John is almost absent from the other Gospels. This led skeptical scholars to conclude that John must have been written 100s of years after the other Gospels, time enough for Greek thought to penetrate the Christian community and explain the prominence of the light/darkness, life/death. However, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, housed in what is known as the Qumran community, revealed an early 1st century Jewish community who, alongside collecting Biblical texts, were writing commentaries on the sacred texts. Those writings include the same light/darkness and death/life motifs as John, revealing that there is no need to look for a later date (and Greek influence) to explain the distinctive contrasts of John.
2. Mummy testimony â€“ An ancient scrap of papyrus was found in Egypt as part of the wrappings of a Mummy that contained verses from John 18. The mummy was dated to A.D. 125, less than 100 years after Christ. While that might not sound impressive to us, we must consider that it shows Johnâ€™s Gospel had been written early enough to have had copies pass to Egypt and be used there then discarded by A.D. 125.
Theme: John 20:30-31
- Unique arrangement: The synoptic gospels (Matt., Mark, Luke) give the impression that Jesus ministered for 1 year.
- John reveals to us (by dating events around Jewish festivals) that Jesus actually ministered for 3 years.
- Sometimes ignores 10 months of activity then zooms in on a couple hours of one day. Devotes 2/3 of the book to the 3 years of Christâ€™s ministry, the other 1/3 to the last week of Christâ€™s life.
- Very Jewish â€“ gives great attention to Jewish societal and religious custom.
- Very theological. Explains not just the what, when, and where of Jesus but also the why and the how.
1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1. The Origin of Jesus Christ
- Not origin in the sense of Jesus Christ having a beginning but rather in the sense of knowing where Jesus came from.
- Harkens back to Genesis 1:1
2. The Position of Jesus Christ
- Shows the unique relationship of Jesus Christ to God the Father, setting Him apart in many ways, particularly in authority.
- Reiterated in John 3:16: â€œonly begottenâ€
3. The Nature of Jesus Christ
- Not just from God but actually God Himself
- Right from the outset removes the possibility of Jesus being merely a great Rabbi.
- Reiterated by the 7 great â€œI Amâ€ statements of John, tied to the Yahweh name of Exodus 3:14
(A) â€¦the bread of life (6:35)
(B) â€¦the light of the world (8:12 = 9:5)
(C) â€¦the gate for the sheep
(D) â€¦the good shepherd (10:7-14)
(E) â€¦the resurrection and the life (11:25)
(F) â€¦the way, the truth, and the life (14:6)
(G) â€¦the true vine (15:1,5)
4. The Creative Works of Jesus Christ
- Strong emphasis: â€œAll things came into being/nothing came into beingâ€
- Causes Jewish readers to associate Jesusâ€™ claims with God in the OT.
- Jews got the point: 5:17,18 and 10:33
5. The Redemptive Work of Jesus Christ (vs. 10-13)
- Rejected by the Jewish people
- Offered right relationship to God the Father through His death
- Shows the nature of salvation as originating with Godâ€™s activity (i.e. not manâ€™s initiative)
- Note that Jesus explained God to mankind â€“ alienated from the Father, man is dependant upon Godâ€™s revelation if we are to know Him.