Bible Lesson: John 1 : 1-18 Doctrine: Faith
What is important to you in life?
DO YOU know where you’re going? DO YOU like the things that life is showing you?
The first two lines of Mariah Carey’s popular song.
At home, many daily things have not improved, I don’t know about your personal struggles, well I know petrol prices went up 20 cents even though the crude oil prices remain much the same, perhaps just a little higher than January figures. Prices of things have also gone up since Chinese New Year.
Yes, what are the things that are important to you, things that concern and worry you and usually have short term or long-term impact on your lives?
In the light of these issues, I would like to present to you, that Christ is enough for all our needs. Christ is enough no matter what happens around us. “Christ is enough” is all encompassing, meaning everything you need, all the blessings that you need, even things that you may not know you need, is in Christ alone.
You see, this is something we already know and know very well, sometimes it just stays at the intellectual level, so it is good to take stock, to remind ourselves and move it from the head to our heart and live by it, this requires faith in Jesus. With Christ squarely anchored in the center of your life, You have enough, there is nothing in and out of this world that will shake you.
The gospel of John from chapter 1:1-18 gives us some thoughts on facing these issues.
o The Gospel of John is unique and different from the other synoptic gospels because John intentionally chooses to emphasise the deity of Jesus by explaining the deeper, spiritual meaning behind the miracles of Jesus and he called the selected miracles in his gospel, signs, and the manner He wrote the Gospel as compared to Matthew, Mark and Luke is very different.
The Apostle John, he wrote the gospel 20 to 30 years after the 3 synoptic gospels were written. Possibly, 50 years after Christ was crucified.
o So when John wanted to introduce Jesus, to present Jesus to his audience the Jews and the whole world, he chose to call Jesus “the Word”.
“The Word” in Greek is “logos” which is the logic, reason behind the subject. So Biology is the study to understand the logic of life and living organisms, and so on.
Then in the book of Genesis – The word created in the 1st verse in Hebrew is “Bara” meaning God created the universe out of nothing. God spoke and things come into being. Nothing existed then, the earth was formless and empty. By His word the world was created, He shows His power, His majesty.
The bible is the word of God.
So verses 1 to 4, (John 1 : 1 - 4)
✓ He says, the Word is the eternal God. (in the beginning, He has no beginning and no ending, He is the Alpha & Omega, they say the same thing that He is eternal)
✓ He was with God. This gives us another picture of who Christ is, He is different from God the Father, He was with God and also He is God, He has a different personality, is another individual.
✓ The Word is Creator of all. Verse 3, Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made
✓ The Word has life in Himself. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Then going further down, John says,
✓ The Word took on a human body and came to dwell with us.
• The Word became flesh and revealed the glory of the One and only who came from the Father full of grace and truth (1:14)
The author of Hebrews said this about Jesus, Jesus, is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. He is God.
Why did John write this Gospel?
John wrote it when he was an old man. He had the opportu- nity to read the other synoptic gospels. Those materials were already available at that time, so there was no need for him to cover the same ground. He might have come to discern that the gospel story, the good news from God to man needed some tightening up, as some strengthening, in that Jesus as God, God who came to man had not been emphasize enough in those narratives.
Then, there is also another evidence that suggested that he wrote it to encourage Jesus’ disciples to hold on to their faith in the midst of trials and confusion.
At that time, in the summer of 64, Paul was executed by the Roman authorities, Peter wanted to write to the Churches that Paul started to encourage them, but Peter couldn’t do it, he himself was arrested and killed not long after. So, with the two stalwarts in the ancient Christians community taken away, that pastoral role fell to John.
And the best encouragement one can give for such a situation was to present Christ in His majesty and glory to strengthen the faith of Christ’s disciples.
This has not changed since. All Disciples of Christ need to be reminded about our faith, who we belong to and that the world we live in is countercultural, unkind to Christ, and you can expect some sort of troubles.
The world churns out all kinds of temptations, to sidetrack Jesus’ followers. Then, our personal sinful nature constantly wages war within us. Sometimes Christ in us wins, sometimes our old self takes over and we are knocked down but we can start again by going to Jesus to seek forgiveness and strength.
As I understand it, the one that knows how to stand, walk in victory is the one who looks to Jesus and holds firm to his faith. He is the one who stands behind the cross all the time, who trusts Jesus in all things and walks by faith with Him, enjoying this vibrant relationship with Jesus.
We need Jesus my brothers and sisters because Christ is enough. The world needs Jesus, and the world needs the gospel.
Then coming back to further down in Chapter 1 of John’s gospel, verse 29, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
The unique son of God
Jesus came, to fulfill His mission, to take away the sins of the world. Jesus the perfect lamb of God is to be our gift of salvation, that is God’s plan that is the good news, that is the gospel of God to man.
God’s plan was spoken long ago in the Old Testament time, about this Jesus who would come to make all things right, to reconcile all men to God.
Isaiah 53: 7 he was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth, he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearer is silent.
That is the purpose of John’s gospel, and here his is the only gospel that spells out the purpose so clearly in John 20: 30- 31, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
So when one believes in Jesus he will have new life, that eternal life and one that is characterize by abundant life, meaning it is noticeable, it is joyful, it is meaningful. These attributes are internal, in you and you can have it because the Holy Spirit living in you guides and controls your life, and that can only happen when you know Him and cooperate with Him.
When you place your faith in Jesus, He anchors you so that you can withstand the storms of life and gives you the assurance that His destination is certain and good, which is, to be with Him for eternity.
So what does practical faith look like; I read of a mother in New Zealand. She has a daughter 20 years old, and the daughter told her mother she wanted to go to New York for a short mission. Her mother was most unwilling, as New York was so far away. As she committed the issue to prayer, the Lord reminded her of an incident when the daughter was young and was nearly drowned. Both mother and daughter couldn’t swim. A huge wave had swept her daughter away. The mother panicked and cried out, Lord, I “can’t” swim, please help. The next instant another wave came and brought her daughter into her arms. As the mother reflected on this the Lord spoke to her “Would you have died for her? Because of her fear of water, she had to say “no”. Then the Lord answered, “I did”.
When you know the Lord, you will know what He tells you and you just follow!
But, when you do not place your faith in Jesus you face the storms of life with your own devices.
o Jesus deepens our faith as He reveals His attributes through the Word. So knowing the bible is crucial in building your faith.
o Our confidence in life is not in how we hope things will turn out but in Jesus who controls time and events.
Jesus propels faith to action as He demonstrates His power in the Word. He gives us faith and the Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish all He calls us to do. Those who follow Him, trust in Him are after all His ordinary people called to the extraordinary privilege to magnify His name and fame.
Mr Guoh Siang Lim
Council of Education