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Messenger # 4 - John
by Alex M. Lindsay
Reference: John 1:1-17

John's Gospel is The Gospel of the Son of God.
As stated in our discussion of Luke's Gospel, "Son of Man" denotes the compassion, mercy, and grace of the God-man as the representative of man to God (I Timothy 2:5-6). "Son of God," as emphasized by John, denotes the God-man's authority and majesty as the representative of God to man (John 1:14; 12:45; 14:6-9).

John's Gospel does not give us details about the birth of Jesus. As a matter of fact, details of Jesus' life are limited. John mainly writes those things which emphasize Christ's essence - who He is. John is full of iconic images - word-pictures that provide portraits of Christ for our minds and hearts to ponder. John chooses seven miracles / signs to show the complete power and authority of Christ. There are also seven important dialogs with the religious authorities and religious people in general. These discussions further emphasize the unique character and divine authority of Christ. They also show the short-comings of religious pride, formalism, and legalism, stressing a personal relationship and devotion to God from the heart (John 4:23-24).

Jesus Christ: The Word (John 1:1-17)
"The Word" means Jesus Christ is the authoritative communication of God to man. "The Word" denotes the power and authority of God. He has power to create (Genesis 1:1-3; Psalm 33:6-9 cp. John 1:1-3). He has power to destroy - to judge men and angels (John 5:22; Acts 17:31; Revelation 1:4-18; 19:11 - 20:15 [note: "The Word of God" in Revelation 19:13]). The Word became a man, revealing grace and truth - bringing salvation (John 1:4,9,12-14,16-17; 12:45; 14:1-9; I Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:11-14; I John 1:1-3; 5:4-5, 10-13, 20).

Jesus Christ: The Lamb (John 1:29-36)
Lambs were used as sacrifices by the Jews on a regular basis (Exodus 12:1-27; Leviticus 14:12-21). Now, a man has been identified as the ultimate Lamb, sent from God, to be the once-and- for-all sacrifice for our sin - not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles as well. See Isaiah 53:1-12; I Peter 1:18-20; 2:21-24; Hebrews 10:1-14; I John 2:1-2; Revelation 5:1-14; 7:17; 17:14.

Jesus Christ: The I AM (John 8:58 - "Before Abraham was, I Am")
See John 8:19, 48-59. The dialogue in John chapters seven and eight is very exciting and full of contrast. John 7:43 says that "there was division among the people because of him." Some believed Jesus. Others would accuse him. Those who were sent to capture Jesus couldn't bring themselves to do it, because they were captivated by his words (John 7:32, 45-46). One moment, the scribes and Pharisees were asking Jesus about stoning an adulterous woman. The next moment, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus Himself (John 8:1-5, 59).

One thing is certain, Jesus clarified his position on who he was. If he was trying to become popular with the crowd, he sabotaged everything by pressing the truth about his identity and about the faulty foundation on which the Pharisees stood.

"…You are from beneath; I am from above: You are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8:23)

"…If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins." (John 8:24)

"…When you have lifted up (crucified) the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things." (John 8:28)

In John 8:51-59, the argument comes to a climax with the statement, "Before Abraham was, I Am." This is the last straw for many of the Jews. "I Am" is a reference to Jehovah God, The LORD (John 8:58 cp. Exodus 3:14-16; 6:1-3; Isaiah 42:8; 43:10-15; 45:21-25 cp. Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus is openly identifying himself as equal with God. If Jesus is just a man, He is a blasphemer, but if Jesus is telling the truth, the Jews are making war with their LORD (Psalm 2).

In John 18:3-6, Jesus answered the soldiers by literally saying, "I Am." Notice what happened to them! You must answer the question, "who is Jesus?" Your answer to this question will determine your eternal destiny (Matthew 16:13-17; John 5:17-24; 10:27-42; 11:25-26).

Seven Statements - Christ's "I Am" statements

  • I Am the bread of Life - John 6:35 (vs. 26-35)
  • I Am the Light of the world - John 8:12 (vs. 1-12)
  • I Am the door of the sheep - John 10:7-9 (vs. 1-10)
  • I Am the good shepherd - John 10:11, 14 (vs. 11-18)
  • I Am the resurrection and the life - John 11:25-26 (vs.1-46)
  • I Am the way, the truth, and the life - John 14:6 (vs. 1-6)
  • I Am the true vine - John 15:1, 5 (vs.1-8)

Seven Signs - Miracles that demonstrate the power and authority of Christ
The Greek word that John uses can be translated "miracles" or "signs." Nicodemus had noted the significance of Jesus' miracles and thought of them as signs that Jesus was a teacher, sent from God (John 3:2). It is not enough to believe that Jesus was just a good teacher. John admits that Jesus did many miracles / signs, but he chose seven to illustrate that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God (John 20:30-31 cp. 21:25). This is what we must believe if we are to have eternal life. This is John's purpose. He is not writing a mere historical account of events. He is demonstrating the deity of Christ and persuading people to trust Him with all their heart and soul. The seven miracles / signs show the complete power and authority of the Son of God over the physical elements and physical illness, even death.

  • Turning water into wine at the wedding feast (John 2:1-11)
  • Healing a dying son, from six miles away, by only speaking (John 4:46-54)
  • Restoring the limbs of a man who had been crippled for 38 years (John 5:1-16)
  • Feeding over five thousand people with five loaves and two small fish (John 6:1-14)
  • Walking on the stormy sea (John 6:15-21)
  • Giving sight to a man that had been blind all his life (John 9:1-7)
  • Bringing a man back to life, who had been dead for four days (John 11:1-44)

Seven Solemn Discussions - Confronting shallow and proud religion

  • New Birth / Loving the Light of God's Word (John 3:1-21) - Nicodemus has a private discussion with Christ about who He is and what is God's plan for man.
  • Living Water & Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:1-30) - The Woman at the well learns the truth about Messiah and real faith.
  • The Work of God / the Word of God / the Love of God (John 5:16-47) - The Jews condemn Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. The Father has given authority to the Son of God. The testimony of Scripture bears witness to Jesus Christ.
  • The Bread of Life & The Work of God's Spirit (John 6:26-66) - Jews, who were miraculously fed, argue about miracles and manna. Many turn away from Jesus.
  • Rivers of living water: the only way to satisfy man's thirst (John 7:14-44) - Jews at the Feast of Tabernacles argue about Jesus' authority and doctrine.
  • The Light of the World / The Great I AM (John 8:1-59) - The Jews argue from the Law that Jesus does not have authority to teach or heal in God's name. Christ calls believers to walk in the light of His Word. Is God your Father, or is the devil your father?
  • The True Shepherd / The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-42) - The Jews argue with Christ and among each other. They struggle with His claim, "I and my Father are one."
    Who are the true sheep?

Originally delivered December 24, 2017
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