Introdutcion: The Apostle John portrays Christ in His deity as the Son of God. John wastes no time in making his purpose crystal clear; to set forth Christ in His deity in order to spark believing faith in his listeners. Two of the most convincing and inspiring passages in the entire 21 chapters are in John 1-5 and John 20:30-31.
In just a few days we will celebrate a very special birthday. While I was in Africa, Deanna, my oldest daughter celebrated a birthday and December 20, Hollie, my youngest daughter will celebrate hers. But, is it accurate to say that Jesus has a birthday in the same sense as theirs? This month, we Christians believe that history’s most significant person has a birthday celebration. On the 25th of December, stores will shut their doors, families gather together, and people all over the world remember the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
Think of the many songs written to commemorate and proclaim Jesus’ birth: “Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Away In A Manger,” and hundreds of others written throughout the centuries. Each one offers praise for the baby born in a humble manger long ago.
For example, here is the refrain from “The Birthday of a King”
“Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light,
‘Twas the birthday of a King.”
Many assume that Jesus’ existence began like ours, in the womb of His mother. Unlike us, Jesus existed before His birth, long before there was air to breathe, long before the world was born.
All this leads to a great question: How much do we really know about the songs we sing and the verses we read at Christmas time? It is so easy to go through the motions of trimming the tree, hanging the lights, and wrapping the presents without really understanding what Christmas is all about.
It seems to me we could add substance to our traditions and knowledge to our faith by stepping back and looking deeper into all that surrounded Jesus’ birth. For instance, do you know what Jesus was doing before He entered the world as a baby? Why did He come in the first place? What was it like for Him to become human? And what has He been doing since He came?
I. CHRIST’S PAST IN ETERNITY. 1-2
“In the beginning” — the book of John opens with the same momentous words of Moses’ account of Creation
However, the gospel writer transports us back beyond the earth’s beginning, beyond when the galaxies were spun into space and mountains and rivers and valleys and vast oceans first etched the face of the earth. He guides us to a time before time, where Christ existed with the Father and the Spirit.
John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
A.W. Tozer said, “From the vanishing point to the vanishing point…the mind looks backward in time till the dim past vanishes, then turns and looks into the future till thought and imagination collapse from exhaustion; and God is at both points, unaffected by either.”
Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
According to John 1:2, in eternity past, the Word was with God, communing in perfect harmony with the Father and the Spirit; the eternal pre-existence of the Word.
John 1:2, “He was in the beginning with God.”
The Word — How do we know this “Word” is Christ?
John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
William Barclay: Word — Logos
Logos in Greek, is the name for
“the instrument through which God had made the world…the thought of God stamped upon the universe…what gave a man reason, the power to think and the power to know…the creating and guiding and directing power of God, the power which made the universe and kept it going…
…so John went out to Jews and Greeks to tell them that in Jesus Christ this creating, illuminating, controlling, sustaining mind of God had come to earth. He came to tell them that men need no longer guess or grope; all they had to do was to look at Jesus and see the mind of God.”
I John 1:1-4, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us — that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
This is a contrast in that it is “from the beginning” referring to the starting point of Jesus’ ministry.
I John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
John the Baptist gave the same witness as John the Apostle.
John 1:15, “John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'”
He existed before me.
John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.'”
“I Am” — same rendering as Yahweh; Lord of Old Testament
John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
II. CHRIST’S PART IN ETERNITY PAST. 3-5
C. IN CREATION. 3
John 1:3, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
He not only is Creation’s master craftsman, He is also revealed as the sustaining power behind Creation.
Col. 1:16-17, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
“consist” — to hold together
Here is an amazing thought; the baby that Mary held in her arms is holding the world in His. That infant flesh so fair housed the Almighty God.
D. IN ILLUMINATION. 4-5, 9
In the New Testament “life” and “light” serve as characteristics of God and is shared with believers.
“Life” is that which God gives when we respond in repentance to the “Light of the world.”
v.9 “that was the true Light which coming into the world, gives light to every man.”
When Christ came into this world He was the fulfillment and embodiment of the light that God had placed inside the heart of man.
Romans 1:18-20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
.19 God’s moral law has been sovereignly planted in every person’s life.
.20 Creation witnesses; no wonder some desire to teach evolution.
Romans 2:15-16, “Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
“conscience” — instinctive sense of right and wrong; man’s inner warning system; repeated ignoring will desensitize our conscience; seared-conscience.
E. IN INCARNATION. 10-11, 14
v.11 “His own” — His own things or domain; His own creation
“and His own” — His own people; the Jews
The world is still shutting Him out
v.14 God put on flesh
“dwelt” — tabernacled; reminds us of the tabernacle of Israel in the wilderness; a temporary place where man could meet with God.
John 1:16, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”
Col. 1:19, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.”
Col. 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
John reveals the final result of the Son’s coming.
John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
By explaining the Father, Jesus did what no ordinary man could do — bridge the gulf between us and God. Suffering heartache and pain Jesus knew what it was like to be human. Jesus intimately knew the Divine. And He “declared” Him; interpreted or literally exegeted the Father through His words and actions so that the world could understand and believe in God.
Imagine Him in the misty, pre-creation past, thinking of you and planning your redemption. Visualize this same Jesus, Who wove your body’s intricate patterns, knitting a human garment for Himself. Picture Him experiencing your pain and bearing your sins on the cross.
“The Maker of the universe
As man for man was made a curse;
The claims of laws which He had made
Unto the uttermost He paid.
His holy fingers made the bough
Where grew the thorns that crowned His brow;
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.
He made the forests whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung;
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood!
The sky which darkened o’er His head
By Him above the earth was spread;
The sun which hid from Him its face
By His decree was poised in space!
The spear which split His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God;
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made!
The throne on which He now appears
Was His from everlasting years!
But a new glory crowns His brow
And every knee to Him shall bow!
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