Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first eighteen verses of the first chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the New Testament gospel of John beginning—the final of the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ found within the New Testament. What is so incredibly unique about this final gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is that it doesn’t begin the way the previous three gospels began. If you read and study the previous three gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ—those which were written by the apostle Matthew, the beloved physician Luke, as well as Mark—you will find that they are known as “the Synoptic Gospels,” and are known as such because of the common language and words which they use. The New Testament gospel of John, however, is a gospel that is entirely different from the previous three gospels—not only because of the language that is used within it, but also because of its emphasis on the person and identity of Jesus the Christ. If you study the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find that there is a great emphasis placed on women, as well as the medical aspects of the healings and miracles which Jesus the Christ performed. If you read the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle Matthew you will find that this gospel emphasizes Jesus as the Son of David and Som of Abraham, as well as a great deal about the crowds and multitudes. The New Testament gospel of John is similar to the New Testament gospel of Matthew in that both gospels were written by men who actually walked with the physical person of Jesus the Christ. If you read and study the four New Testament gospels you will find that both Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus the Christ, and walked with and followed Him for three and a half years. The gospels which were written by Luke and Mark were gospels which were written by men who did not walk with Christ as the other two did, and who weren’t even Jewish by nature and heritage, but were in fact gentiles. It’s incredibly unique to study the various different characteristics of each of the gospels individually, as well as how the compliment each other in order to present a wonderful and powerful picture of Jesus the Christ—the man who divided history and turned the world upside down.
If you study the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John you will quickly discover from the very outset of the book that it begins in a manner that is completely different than the other three gospels. As you pick up and read this gospel which was written by another of Jesus’ apostles you will find that it opens and begins with language that is entirely different from the previous three gospels. Both the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke began with and included genealogy concerning Jesus the Christ in order to demonstrate that He was indeed and was in fact descended from David, as well as descended from Abraham. Each of these gospels seeks to bring us face to face with the heritage and lineage of Jesus the Christ by demonstrating the generations which He descended from—generations which the beloved physician Luke traces all the way back to Adam who was the son of God. It’s interesting to note that Luke brings it back as far as Adam who was the first of all men created by God outside the garden of Eden, yet stood with Adam as he declares that he was the son of God. The apostle John, however, takes this further than Adam in the garden and brings it back even further—before the garden of Eden, and even before the foundations of the earth and the world were laid and established. In fact, as you read this New Testament gospel you will the apostle John emphasizing the divine nature of Jesus the Christ, and even the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of the living God as manifested in the person of Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that as you read this particular gospel you will find that later on the apostle writes and records how Jesus declares that before Abraham was “I Am.” It is white close when reading this gospel that the apostle John sought you demonstrate the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ, and how the one who walked among us in the person and form of human flesh was indeed and was in fact God in the flesh, and was truly and indeed the Son of God. The apostle John takes his gospel even further than simply emphasizing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but also that Jesus Christ is in fact God in the flesh, and is one hundred percent God. As you will see when reading the words which are found within this passage of scripture, the apostle John focuses on the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ before ever transitioning to His earthly nature.
If there is one thing I absolutely love about the New Testament gospel of John it’s the fact that he begins the gospel by emphasizing the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ. Instead of beginning with His human nature and lineage and heritage among the Jewish people, the apostle John chooses to being by emphasizing the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss this awesome and important fact, for to do so would be to miss the awesome and wonderful reality of how this gospel opens up and begins. In all reality, I am convinced that in order for us to truly understand this gospel we must recognize and understand it in terms of the divinity and eternal nature of Jesus the Christ. This entire gospel must be read through the lens of Jesus the Christ’s divine nature, and the reality that even though He chose to put on human flesh, He ultimately came from the living God and from the Father. This fact and reality was emphasized later on in the gospel when John writes concerning Jesus that He knew that He had come from God and that He was returning and going back to God. The entire gospel which was written by the apostle of John seeks to bring us face to face with the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ as evidenced and proven from the fact that He was not only with God in the beginning, but He was also God. This New Testament gospel cannot and must not be understood outside of and apart from the fact that it was written through and from the lens that Jesus the Christ descended and originated from the living God and is eternal and divine in nature. The New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote was written in order that it might begin by emphasizing the divine and eternal nature of Jesus the Christ, as it chooses to begin in a completely different manner than that of the apostle Matthew, or the beloved physician Luke, or even John Mark. If you take the time to read the New Testament gospel of John you will find that in order to demonstrate and reveal who Jesus the Christ truly was, he deliberately and intentionally chose to begin at the beginning—perhaps even before the beginning—in order that He might reveal Jesus the Christ as being more than simply one who had flesh and bones, and one who walked among us as a man. The apostle John sought to open and begin his gospel with the awesome and incredible reality of Jesus the Christ as being fully God and having the same nature and characteristics of the living God. The apostle John intentionally sought to demonstrate and reveal Jesus the Christ as being eternal and divine in nature rather than simply demonstrating Him to be descended from David, and even being descended from Abraham. As the apostle Matthew and the beloved physician did in demonstrating and proving and demonstrating Jesus the Christ as having descended from Abraham, and as being the Son of David, and even as being the Son of God, the apostle John sought to take this a step further and demonstrate Jesus the Christ as the eternal and divine being which existed before time and space began.
In and upon reading this New Testament gospel it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that when writing concerning Jesus the Christ, the apostle John sought to demonstrate and reveal Jesus the Christ as being God in the flesh, and God as having descended from heaven in order that He might walk among us within and upon the earth. The apostle John sought to combat the false teachings of His day—particularly that of Gnosticism—in order that He might demonstrate and reveal that Jesus the Christ was eternal and divine in His nature, and was in fact one hundred percent God. What’s more, is that this reality would even spill over into the epistles which he wrote and are found later on in the New Testament. If you turn and direct your attention to the first epistle which the apostle John wrote unto the church in Ephesus, you will find and discover the apostle writing concerning antichrist, and the nature and characteristics of antichrist. I would like to bring and call your attention to the words which the apostle John wrote in his epistles which are found later on in the New Testament, for the words which the apostle John wrote in the New Testament epistles sent unto the congregation at Ephesus help shine a tremendous deal of light on to that which we find and that which we read in the New Testament gospel which was written by the same author. In the New Testament epistles which were written by the apostle John we find him writing concerning antichrist, and how he that is antichrist is he that denies that Jesus the Christ came in the flesh, and even that Jesus the Christ did not descend from the living God. Consider if you will the four references which are found within the first two epistles which were written by the apostle John concerning antichrist, and even the spirit of antichrist which was present and manifested in the earth at that time, and is still evident and manifested in the earth during these days and our generation:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ. He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him” (1 John 2:18-27).
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirts whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anthchrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:1-6).
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that abideth him God speed is partakers of his evil deeds” (2 John 7-11).
It is quite clear and quite evident when reading the words which are written in the first two epistles which the apostle.John wrote that there is not only a spirit of antichrist that is at work within the world, but there are also antichrists which walk among us in the flesh. The apostle John emphatically declares and states that such individuals which are antichrist are those individuals which not only deny the Father and the Son, but deny that the Son did in fact come from the Father. There is a spirit of antichrist which is already at work within the world, and has been at work in the world since the days in which the apostle John wrote, and it is a spirit which denies that Jesus the Christ did in fact come in the flesh, and that Jesus the Christ is in fact eternal and divine in His nature, and was one hundred percent God in the flesh. The apostle John made no mistake and held no punches when writing his first two epistles, for he emphatically declared that they are antichrist which not only deny the Father, but also which deny the Son. What’s more, is that the apostle John would go on to write and declare that every spirit that confesseth that Jesus the Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God, and that spirit is the spirit of antichrist, which his audience already heard was present in the world. Oh beloved, please don’t miss the words and language which is found within the first two epistles which were written by the apostle John, for the words which are contained within these two epistles bring us face to face with what we believe and what we confess concerning Jesus the Christ. In all reality, we must firmly settle and establish within our hearts that we believe that Jesus is the Christ and is the Son of God, and that Jesus was indeed God come down among us in the form of human flesh. The apostle John declared that they are antichrist which deny that Jesus the Christ came in the flesh, and we must firmly establish and understand this awesome and incredible reality within our hearts, our souls, our minds and our spirits. What’s more, is that I am convinced if we are to truly understand that which the apostle John wrote in the first chapter of his gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ concerning His being God and coming in the flesh, we must turn and direct our attention to the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote in the second chapter of the epistle. Even more than this we must also consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in his epistle which was sent and delivered unto the congregation which was present in Colossae. Permit me if you will to consider the words which are found within each of these epistles concerning Jesus the Christ and His having come in the flesh, as well as being the eternal and divine God:
“For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham> Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath. Made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created but Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by 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. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or in heaven” (Colossians 1:12-20).
I am convinced that it is absolutely necessary to read and consider the words which are written and recorded in the epistle written unto the Hebrews, as well as the epistle which was written unto the saints which were in Colossae, for both of these when put together brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that not only did Jesus the Christ descend from heaven, but He also deliberately and intentionally chose to take on the form of human flesh. The author of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews emphatically declared that Jesus the Christ took not on Himself the nature of angels, but took on the nature of flesh, and even the seed of Abraham for the suffering of death. In all reality, we must recognize and understand that it was necessary for Jesus the Christ to take on Himself the nature of human flesh, and even to take upon Himself the seed of Abraham for the suffering of death, for in order for Him to taste death and be the ultimate sacrifice which was divinely ordained by the living God and Father, it was necessary that He take on the form of human flesh. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the incredible significance of that which was written concerning Jesus the Christ, and to misunderstand His nature, His person and His being. The apostle John when opening his gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ sought to begin and open it up with an emphatic declaration concerning Jesus the Christ, and how Jesus the Christ descended from God—and not only descended from God, but was also fully God in the flesh. Dear reader, please mark and note this well within your heart and mind, for when you attempt to read the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote, you must not begin with Jesus in the flesh, but you must begin with Jesus as God. In all reality, if you cannot believe that Jesus descended from God and that Jesus came in the flesh, you dare not and should not move beyond the first few verses of this gospel. If and unless you are ready, willing and able to declare that Jesus the Christ is God in the flesh, and that Jesus descended from the Father, you not make any attempt to read the gospel which the apostle John wrote, and even the other three gospels, for to do so would be to miss out on the awesome truths which are found and contained within these gospels. The apostle John chose to begin with Jesus—not necessarily as man, but rather as Jesus Christ as divine, and as being on equal footing and equal ground as the living God. If you are going to proceed and move forward with the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote concerning Jesus the Christ, you must firmly settle and establish within your heart and mind that Jesus is indeed who He says He is, and that Jesus did in fact descend and come from God. Consider if you will the words which were written in the thirteenth chapter of this same New Testament gospel beginning with the first verse of the chapter:
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper now being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded” (John 13:1-5).
Please note the added emphasis that was placed on the words which were found and written in this particular passage of Scripture, for the apostle John wrote concerning Jesus the Christ that He knew the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and that He went from God. These words are absolutely necessary and critical for our understanding, for with these words the apostle John further confirms the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ, and directly associates Him with the living God. These words which the apostle John wrote bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible fact that while Jesus did in fact come in the flesh, He came in the flesh—not as different from God, but rather as God in the flesh. The physical body which Jesus took on was a shell which surrounded and encompassed the divine nature of the eternal Godhead, and even the very Spirit of the living God which descended upon Him at baptism. In all reality, I would dare say and am convinced that one of the greatest doctrinal realities we must firmly settle and establish within our hearts and minds is that of Christology—that which is in fact the study of Jesus the Christ. While attending four years of Bible college. I learned that there were three distinct realities which we must firmly settle and establish within our hearts and our minds—Christology which is the study of Christ, Theology which is the study of God, and Pnuematology which is the study of the Spirit. Christology is by one of these realities which are absolutely critical and central to our faith, and serve as the foundation and bedrock for our faith. Lest you think for one minute that this is not the case and is not true, I would draw and bring your attention to an encounter which Jesus the Christ had with His disciples when they came into the region of Caeseara Philippi. In the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find the apostle writing concerning this particular event when Jesus first asked His disciples whom men said that He the Son of man was, but after hearing them recount the opinions of men, He then proceeded to ask them whom they said that He the Son of man was. Simon Peter was the first and only disciple to speak up on this particular occasion, and the words which He spoke, as well as Christ’s declaration are absolutely critical for the foundation of our faith, for it was on this occasion where we encounter the bedrock of our faith and a wonderful and powerful demonstration and manifestation of Christology, which is the study of Christ. Consider if you will the words which are written in this particular chapter beginning with the thirteenth verse:
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caeseara Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto Him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).
These words which are written and recorded within this passage are absolutely critical for our faith, for they stand as part of the core foundation of our faith. The words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture are absolutely key for our understand of Jesus the Christ, for Simon Peter emphatically and boldly declared of Jesus that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the foundation of your faith, for who you believe Jesus Christ is, and who you believe Jesus Christ to be within your life will radically and dramatically alter, shape and transform your life. It is absolutely necessary that we firmly settle and establish within our hearts who we believe Jesus Christ to be, and who Jesus is within our hearts, our minds and our souls, for we either believe that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh, or we do not believe it, and therefore deny that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh, and are therefore antichrist as the apostle John wrote in his first two epistles. Perhaps one of the greatest matters we must settle and establish within our hearts is whether or not Jesus is in fact the Christ, and whether or not Jesus is in fact the Son of God, and did come from God and is God incarnate and God in the flesh. Permit me to ask you right now at this very moment whether or not you believe that Jesus the Christ came in the flesh, and whether or not Jesus descended and came from God. Do you believe within your heart, your soul and your mind that Jesus did in fact descend from God and has come in the flesh, or do you deny the Son? Jesus the Christ made it perfectly and abundantly clear that if we denied that He is the Son, and if we deny that He came from the Father, we deny the Father who sent Him. Jesus Himself made the bold assertion and declaration that to deny the Son was to deny the Father, and to deny the One who sent Him. With this being said—when we come to the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John we must firmly settle within our hearts that Jesus not only came in the flesh, but also came from God. I am reminded of the words which the author of of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews wrote in the famous chapter on faith concerning our belief of God. If you turn and direct your attention to the sixth verse of this chapter you will find the following words written by the author of this epistle concerning our faith in God: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Furthermore, I am reminded of the opening words of this chapter beginning with the first verse and continuing to the third verse: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Though faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
If we are going to believe that which is written and that which is recorded within the Bible as a whole we must come to the opening chapter of the book of Genesis and establish and settle within our hearts that God is, and that created all things which are. Perhaps some of the most critical and foundational words in all of Scripture are found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the book of Genesis concerning God, and concerning the creation of everything that is, and everything that we know. Consider if you will that which is written in the Old Testament book of Genesis beginning with the first verse of the chapter: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-3). If we are going to move forward with the Bible we must not only settle within our hearts the reality that ‘IN THE BEGINNING GOD,” but also that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. With that being said—much like we cannot move forward with the Bible as a whole without first acknowledging that God is, and that God created the heavens and the earth, we cannot and dare not begin with the New Testament without understand that “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.’ The Old Testament begins and opens with our understanding and acknowledgement that God is, and that God created the heavens and the earth, and the New Testament begins and opens up with the understanding and acknowledgement that Jesus. Christ is, that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, that Jesus descended from God, and that Jesus is one hundred percent God in the flesh. The apostle John chose to begin with the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ, for to miss on this point is to miss on virtually every point concerning Christ—if not miss everything altogether. The apostle John not only declared that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” but the apostle also declared that “the same was in the beginning with God,” and that “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:2). What’s more, is that the apostle John goes on to write that “the Word was made 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” (John 1:14). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we come to terms with these realities and words which the apostle John wrote, for if we are going to understand Jesus—we must as Simon Peter did acknowledge and understand Him as the Christ and the Son of the living God, and we must acknowledge that Jesus was in the beginning with God, that Jesus was in the beginning God, that there is nothing made that was not made by Him, and that Jesus as the divine and living Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The question we must ask ourselves is what we believe concerning Jesus the Christ, and whether or not we believe that Jesus the Christ is in fact God in the flesh, and that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. I leave you with and end this writing with the question concerning who Jesus is to you, and who you believe Jesus to be within your life. I leave you with the emphatic declaration that you either believe that Jesus is who He said He was and who the Bible presented Him to be, or you do not. The choice and decision is yours, and there is absolutely no one who can and will make it for you.