The Eternal Word Which Was Made Flesh

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-eight verses of the first chapter. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-5).

 

            “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And 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 bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:6-18).

 

            “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing” (John 1:19-28).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the fourth gospel found in the New Testament beginning and opening up. It is actually quite powerful to read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, for the apostle John begins and opens his gospel narrative in a completely different way than the other gospel writers did. If you take the time to read the gospel narrative written by this apostle you will find that He chooses not to begin in the realm of time and space but rather in the realm of eternity. When the apostle John sought to write an account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ he did not begin with angelic visitations, nor did he choose to begin with dreams from God as was found in the gospels written by the apostle Matthew and the beloved physician Luke. If you turn and direct your attention to the opening chapters of the gospel written by the apostle Matthew you will find that he deliberately and intentionally chose to open his gospel account with a declaration that Jesus was both the Son of Abraham, as well as the Son of David. What’s more, is that the apostle Matthew chose to trace the lineage of Jesus the Christ all the way back in time and history unto the time of Abraham, thus demonstrating that Christ descended both from Abraham as the fulfillment of the promise spoken unto Abraham, as well as descending from David and fulfilling the promise spoken unto him. What’s more, is that as you read the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find a heavy emphasis—not only on the use of dreams to speak and accomplish that which the living God had ordained and orchestrated, but you will also find a heavy use of the prophetic. You cannot read the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and not find the marriage and union of the fulfillment of the prophetic within the life of Christ, as well as the use of dreams to speak directly unto men that the purposes of the living God might be accomplished.

 

            It is quite remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew, for there is within this gospel a heavy emphasis that was placed on God speaking unto men through dreams, as well as fulfilling that which was spoken by the prophets. The apostle Matthew sought to demonstrate how Jesus Christ both descended from Abraham, as well as David, and sought to present Him as the ultimate Son of Abraham which was promised unto this patriarch of the faith, as well as the ultimate Son of David. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it helps us to understand the lens through which we are to read this gospel narrative. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that the gospel narrative written by John Mark began in an entirely different way than both the gospel written by the apostle Matthew and the physician Luke, for John Mark chose to begin his account of the life and ministry of Jesus by declaring right from the start that Jesus was both the Christ and the Son of the living God. Perhaps drawing from the declaration Simon Peter would make at Caesarea Philippi, as well as in Capernaum John Mark sought to instill within the hearts and minds of his readers from the start that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. We must needs pay attention to this, for John Mark chose not to include in his gospel account anything concerning the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you begin reading the second gospel found within the New Testament you will find that he chose to begin with Jesus having already become an adult and preparing to be publicly manifested in the earth as the Word made flesh which dwelt among us. Oh this is truly something worth thinking about and considering, for I have long believed that the four gospels are essentially four different and unique lenses with which we can view and behold the person of Jesus the Christ.

 

            With this being said it’s worth noting that when you come to the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will find him beginning even further than the apostle Matthew did. Upon reading the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke you will find that he chose to begin with an angelic visitation in the city of Jerusalem unto Zacharias as he was fulfilling his priestly assignment in the midst of the Holy Place. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke is quite remarkable when you take the time to think about it, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely incredible truth that he chose to begin his narrative and his account beyond simply the declaration and proclamation of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the physician Luke he sought to begin even further during the days of Zacharias and Elizabeth and how the angel Gabriel had appeared unto Zacharias while he was ministering before the Lord in the midst of the Temple. The gospel written by Luke describes how the angel Gabriel appeared unto Zacharias beside the altar while he was ministering before the Lord in the Temple—and not only appearing unto him, but also declaring unto him that his prayers were answered and that his wife Elizabeth would conceive and bear a son. The angel Gabriel would then go on to describe and declare who and what manner of man this child was going to be when he grew up and became a full grown man within the earth. In addition to this we also find the same angel Gabriel appearing a second time six months later in the town of Nazareth as he was sent by the living God unto a virgin by the name of Mary with a very specific message and declaration. The angel Gabriel would indeed visit Mary in the town of Nazareth and would reveal unto her that the Holy Ghost would come upon her and the power of the most High would overshadow her and allow her to conceive the life of the very Son of God within her womb.

 

            As you take the time to read the four gospel narratives you will find that they were each written with and from a unique and powerful perspective. You cannot read these gospel narratives and not encounter the tremendous differences, as well as the similarities that exists within and among them. In fact, the gospels written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark and Luke are considered the “Synoptic Gospels” because of how similar in nature and language they are. The first three gospel narratives which are found in the New Testament bear incredible and tremendous similarities which are not found in the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John. The gospel account which the apostle John wrote was entirely and altogether different, for he chose to begin in an entirely different place than the other gospel authors. While the apostle Matthew demonstrated Jesus as the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, and while John Mark demonstrated Jesus as the Christ the Son of the living God, and while Luke demonstrated Jesus as the Son of God, we find the apostle John choosing to take his approach even further than Adam. It’s actually quite interesting to think about the fact that the apostle Matthew traced the person of Jesus the Christ back to Abraham, while Luke chose to trace the person of Jesus the Christ back to Adam. Oh it is important that we recognize and understand this, for the apostle John did not do such a thing. For the apostle John he did not seek to trace the identity and person of Jesus back to Abraham or Adam, but actually back into the realm of eternity. The other gospel authors—while they did reveal Christ as the Christ and the Son of the living God—chose to emphasize the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, while the apostle John sought to emphasize the divine side and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            If you begin reading the words which are found in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find that he chose to demonstrate and reveal the eternal and divine nature of Jesus the Christ. Oh it is important for us to recognize and understand this, for while it is indeed true that Jesus was one hundred percent man in the flesh it is also true that Jesus was one hundred percent God in the flesh. It was this particular truth that was reflected in the declaration and name “Emmanuel,” which translated literally means “God with us.” That which the apostle John sought to do within the gospel narrative he wrote was wonderfully and powerfully reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as both divine and eternal. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for within and throughout this gospel you will find powerful accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus that point to His divine nature and His descending from the living and eternal God. IN fact, I am absolutely convinced that if you wish to understand this gospel narrative you must needs read it through the lens of the divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was indeed true that Jesus’ lineage can indeed be traced back through history unto David, and even further unto Abraham, and still even further unto Adam, however, for the apostle John he sought to trace the identity of Jesus back to the living God Himself. For the apostle John he sought to begin in the realm of eternity rather than the realm of time and space as he set out to reveal the divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, scattered within and throughout this gospel narrative are powerful declarations which Jesus Christ Himself would make concerning His identity—declarations and statements that would enrage and infuriate both the Jews in Judaea as well as the religious leaders.

 

            With this concept and reality of identity at the forefront of our minds it is important that we understand how it is a common and central theme presented within this gospel. Within the first and opening chapter we find those from Jerusalem sending Levites and priests unto John the Baptist essentially asking him to reveal his identity. Undoubtedly there was a report that was reaching unto the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and others concerning this man who was baptizing in water, and there were those who sought to know and understand who he was. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for throughout this gospel is the absolutely powerful sense of identity—not only as man sought to know and understand who John the Baptist and Jesus were, but also what they declared concerning themselves. There is within and throughout this gospel narrative an incredibly powerful sense of identity—both as men and women sought to truly know and understand who these men were, as well as the words and declarations these men would make concerning themselves. This is something which we must needs pay close attention to, for when this gospel opens it does so with the apostle John making powerful statements concerning the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the apostle John he sought to demonstrate and reveal the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ as being eternal and divine—even beyond that which the other synoptic authors sought to do within their gospel narratives. The apostle John sought to demonstrate and reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as being eternal and divine in nature, and it was from that position of divinity and eternity He moved among us.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John it’s that we must settle within our hearts what we believe concerning Jesus. I am absolutely convinced that the same struggles which the Jews in Judaea had concerning Jesus and the declarations He made concerning His identity are the same struggles that we ourselves can face. I firmly believe that when we begin reading the opening chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John we are brought face to face with whether or not we believe that Jesus was more than a man and a prophet who walked upon the earth. Oh it is important for us to recognize and understand this, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth we must settle in our hearts concerning the Lord Jesus Christ—namely, that He is both divine and eternal. We know that He was born of a virgin and that at the Jordan River He was confirmed to be the Son of the living God when the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, however, that which the apostle John seeks to do is demonstrate that the divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ can indeed be traced all the way back to eternity itself and to the living and eternal God. Oh there are those who would like to declare that Jesus was a natural man born of a virgin and grew up in the town of Nazareth, and how it was at the Jordan River when the heavens were opened, the Spirit descended upon Him, and the Father spoke unto Him concerning His being His beloved Son He took on the divine and eternal nature.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths found within this New Testament gospel is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed and is in fact one hundred percent God in the flesh. In fact, if we are to truly worship, walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ as His disciples we must settle it within our hearts that He is indeed both divine and eternal in nature and that He came directly from God. It is this narrative and this truth that is found written throughout this New Testament gospel as scattered throughout it are powerful declarations the Lord Jesus Christ would make concerning Himself and His divine and eternal nature. Oh it is necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for if we wish to understand this gospel we must needs understand it through and from the lens of the Lord Jesus Christ being fully God and divine and eternal in nature. What’s more, is that there are specific passages found within the New Testament which help us to even further recognize and understand this divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ—passages which I feel are absolutely necessary to present to you as we read this passage of Scripture. There is not a doubt in my mind that we must needs read and consider the first two chapters of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews, for this epistle wonderfully and powerfully demonstrates the divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ and His unique relationship with the Father who is in heaven. With this being said we must also consider the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Philippian saints, for here within this epistle the apostle Paul also wonderfully and powerfully demonstrates Jesus as being one hundred percent God in the flesh as He dwelt among us. What’s more, is I would also strongly suggest that we consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Colossian saints, as here within this epistle the apostle also seeks to demonstrate the divine and eternal nature of Jesus the Christ. All of this will be capped off and culminated with a wonderful declaration the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote in the eleventh chapter concerning the living God:

 

            “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changes: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:1-14).

 

            “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 vistetest 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 that 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 succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).

 

            “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a. name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:1-18).

 

            “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of truth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 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 earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by 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 fulness 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 things in heaven” (Colossians 1:1-20).

 

            “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through 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…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 REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM” (Hebrews 11:1-6).

 

            As you spend time reading each of these passages you will find that the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews, as well as the apostle Paul firmly believed in and supported the divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason I chose to include the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews is because by and through these words we are brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth that just as those who come to God must believe that He is, so also those who come to Jesus must believe that He is. Permit me to pause for a moment right here and ask what you believe concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you believe that Jesus simply is? Do you believe that Jesus is who He said He was? I can’t help but consider within my heart and mind that there are countless men and women whom the Spirit wants to bring into the same place which Jesus brought His disciples to in Caesarea Philippi when He asked them who men said that He the Son of man was. The disciples would respond by declaring how some said that He was John the Baptist, while others said that He was Jeremias, while others said that He was Elias, and still others said that He was that prophet. After Jesus heard the disciples present unto Him the opinions of others He would then make it personal and ask them who they said and who they believed Him to be. This question would transition them beyond the place of the opinions of others and would invite them to search their own hearts and spirits concerning who they believed Jesus to be and what they believed concerning Jesus. Of course we know and understand that Simon Peter would speak up and emphatically declare that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God.

 

            It is this particular question of who we believe Jesus is and what we believe concerning Jesus that serves as the foundation for what is presented in the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. As we read the words found in this New Testament gospel we are presented with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus was more than simply a prophet, but He was indeed the divine and eternal Word. Not only this, but the apostle John makes three emphatic and powerful declarations concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and His being the Word. The apostle John not only declared that the Word was in the beginning, and he not only declared that the Word was in the beginning with God, but the apostle John also declared that the Word was God. With these three declarations the apostle John not only speaks to the eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also directly confirms His identity as being a member of the triune Godhead. What’s more, is that when we read the words which are found in the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel written by John we recognize and understand that Jesus was present in the realm of eternity before the foundations of the world were even laid. When we think about and consider the person of the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize that when the Old Testament book of Genesis speaks of “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Jesus the Christ was present at that same time as the divine and eternal Word. When we think and speak about Jesus we must needs recognize that He was indeed present in the beginning with God, and was present with God before the foundation of the world. The more we think about Jesus the Christ the more we must needs recognize and acknowledge that He was indeed present in the realm of eternity and that if we seek to truly understand Him we must recognize and acknowledge that He was present in the beginning with God, and was in the beginning God Himself.

 

            It is with this in mind that you must needs read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, for when you read the narrative of the creation of the world you must understand that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed present there with the eternal God and the eternal Spirit. The apostle John sought to begin his gospel narrative with a powerful statement and declaration concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and how Jesus was not only in the beginning, and not only was in the beginning with God, but was also God in the beginning. This is important for us to pay attention to, for when the apostle John begins and opens his gospel narrative he doesn’t even begin by mentioning the actual name of Jesus. As you read the words which are found in the opening chapter of the gospel narrative you will find that it isn’t until the seventeenth verse where the name of Jesus is first mentioned. What’s more is that when the name of Jesus first appears within this gospel it appears as a statement which John the Baptist made concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. For seventeen verses the apostle John sought to wonderfully and powerfully demonstrate the Lord Jesus Christ as being the Word which was in the beginning with God—and not only the Word which was in the beginning with God and was God in the beginning, but also how Jesus was the Light which entered into the world and shone in the darkness. If you take the time to read the opening verses of the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find him taking the time to speak of Jesus as being the divine and eternal Word which was in the beginning with God and was God in the beginning, as well as the Light which came into the world and shone in the darkness.

 

            Oh the more I read the words which are found in this New Testament gospel the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that the apostle John sought to emphasize the divine and eternal nature of Jesus. What’s more, is that not only did the apostle John seek to emphasize the divine and eternal nature of Jesus, but he also sought to trace His identity all the way back to eternity. We dare not miss this and must recognize the tremendous importance of it, for it can and will help us to understand the rest of the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle. In fact, I am convinced that we cannot understand passages such as what is found in the fifth chapter, or the eighth chapter, or even the thirteenth and seventeenth chapters without first understanding and settling within our hearts that Jesus was in the beginning as the Word, was with God in the beginning as the Word, and was God in the beginning. It is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to this, for if we cannot and do not settle within our hearts that Jesus is the divine and eternal Word we will have a great time with some of the declarations Jesus would make later on in His public life and ministry. I truly love how the apostle John chooses to begin and open this gospel narrative, for he chooses to open it with the powerful declaration that Jesus was in the beginning as the Word, that Jesus was with God in the beginning as the Word, as was God in the beginning. What’s more, is that the apostle John would go on to write how the same was in the beginning with God and how all things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. Let us recognize and understand this, for within the first five verses of the opening chapter we find the apostle John declaring of Christ that He was the Word, that He was with God and is God, that all things were made by Him, that without Him was nothing made that was made. What’s more, is the apostle John would also write and declare concerning Jesus that in Him was life, and that life was the light of men. What’s more is that light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Oh what a truly and powerful declaration is found in the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John, for it calls and draws our attention to what we believe concerning the divine and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            The more I read the gospel narrative written by the apostle John the more I am brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth that if we are to truly walk with and worship Jesus we must recognize Him as being one hundred percent divine and eternal in nature. In fact, it was this particular truth that was incredibly difficult for the Jews in Judaea to understand and accept when Jesus would make certain statements and declarations unto them. If you take the time to read this gospel narrative you will find there were specific times when the Lord Jesus would make statements which would appear to be grandiose and outlandish concerning Himself, for Jesus would speak of Himself as being the Son of God. The Jews of Judaea and Jerusalem had an incredibly difficult time with some of the statements Jesus would make, for Jesus would not only speak of God as His Father, but He would also speak of Himself as even being equal to the living God. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for if you wish to read this gospel narrative and truly understand it you must needs recognize how the apostle John sought to trace the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ all the way back to eternity, thus signifying and suggesting that Jesus was more than just a man who walked upon the earth for thirty-three and a half years. Through the gospel narrative written by the apostle John we must not only come to Christ, but we must also believe and accept that Jesus is both the Christ and Son of the living God, as well as God in the flesh. That which the apostle John seeks to write and present to us in this passage of Scripture is a powerful declaration concerning Jesus and how He was more than simply a man who walked in the flesh, but that He was indeed God who walked in the flesh.

 

            As you continue reading the words which are found in this opening chapter you will find the apostle John writing concerning John the Baptist and how this man came for a witness to bear witness of the Light that all men through him might believe. Almost right from the start the apostle John writes and presents unto his readers how John the Baptist came as a witness ordained and appointed by the living and eternal God to bear witness concerning Jesus the Christ. John the Baptist came into the earth as a witness sent by God to testify concerning the Light that all men might believe his testimony and might in turn believe on the person of Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that the apostle John would go on to write how this man John the Baptist was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of the Light. This Light which would come into the world would light every man which comes into the world and would shine and manifest itself in the darkness. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we understand what is presented in the first and opening chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John, for within this first and opening chapter we find the presence of the Word as well as the witness. We cannot read the opening chapter of this gospel narrative and not encounter the divine and eternal Word which is Jesus, as well as the witness which came to bear witness and testify concerning Him in the earth. What a truly awesome thing it is to read the words found in this opening chapter and encounter both the Word which came from God, and the witness which also came from God. What’s more, is that while the Word was eternal in nature, and the witness was human in nature, they both came from the living God. That which is found in this first and opening chapter is quite astonishing when you take the time to read and consider it, for what we find within it is a powerful statement and declaration concerning two divine realities which were sent from God—both with unique and individuals assignments and missions.

 

            Within the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John we first encounter the Word which was sent by the living God into the earth, but we also encounter the witness. It is necessary that we pay close and careful attention to this, for after four-hundred years of silence we find the living and eternal God breaking the silence—first and foremost by sending the angel Gabriel unto Jerusalem to speak and appear unto Zacharias in the Temple of the Lord, and also unto Nazareth to speak and appear unto Mary. What’s more, is we also find the living and eternal God speaking by and through dreams as He would speak unto Joseph on more than one occasion by dreams, and would speak unto the wise men from the east warning them not to return unto Herod. After angelic visitations and dreams were completed we find the living and eternal God speaking unto men first and foremost through the witness. That witness was indeed the person of John the Baptist as he was sent by God to be a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way and make ready a people for the coming and appearing of the Lord. There is found in this first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John a wonderful and powerful declaration concerning the divine and eternal Word which was sent by God, but there is also a powerful declaration concerning the witness that came into the earth and unto men that he might bear witness of the Word. THE WITNESS BEARS WITNESS OF THE WORD! THE WITNESS PREPARES THE WAY FOR THE WORD! THE WITNESS AND THE WORD! WHEN THE LIVING GOD SENDS FORTH A WITNESS INTO THE EARTH! WHENTHE LIVING GOD SENDS FORTH THE WORD INTO THE EARTH! It is absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that during those days the living and eternal God would not only send forth a witness into the earth to bear witness of the Light and the Word, but the living God would also send the actual Word into the earth as the voice and message of God Himself.

 

            I am convinced that if we are to understand this contrast between the Word and the witness we must needs turn and direct our attention to the fifth chapter of this New Testament book. It is in the fifth chapter of this book we find Jesus confronting the Jews of Judaea in Jerusalem after He had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda on the sabbath day. The Jews took great offense to Jesus because He had healed on the sabbath—and not only because He had healed on the sabbath, but also because He would speak of Himself as being the divine Son of the living God, thus making Himself equal to the living God. The words which we find here in the fifth chapter are incredibly unique and powerful, for within this chapter we find the presence of the Word and the witness, and how both were sent into the earth by the living and eternal God for a very specific purpose. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely necessary it truly is, for it can and will help us understand the words which are found in this first and opening chapter. It is in this first and opening chapter we first encounter the presence of the Word and the witness—at least in terms of the gospel written by the apostle John—and it is this presence of the Word and the witness which will be present within the next two chapters as well before it would finally come to a head in the fifth chapter. In fact, I am convinced that we must needs consider the words which are found in the final verses of the third chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative, as well as the words which are found in the fifth chapter, for both of these passages bring us face to face with the tremendous manifestation of both the Word and the witness in the midst of the earth. In fact, this reality of the witness sent from God is indeed and is in fact also found in this first and opening chapter as the apostle John writes concerning the proclamation of the witness which was indeed sent from God:

 

            “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:15-18).

 

            “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye knew not; he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (John 1:23-27).

 

            “After these things came Jesus and his disciples in the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareteh him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifeth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:22-35).

 

            “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed form death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have great witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour form men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:16-47).

 

            THE WORD! THE WITNESS! THE WORKS! It is absolutely necessary that we pay attention to these words, for in the fifth chapter we find the Jews seeking to persecute and even kill Jesus. The sole reason the Jews in Judaea sought to persecute and kill Jesus all the more was because He had not only healed on the sabbath and thus according to them had violated it, but also because He had declared and proclaimed God as His Father, thus making Himself equal with God. We must needs pay close and careful attention to this particular truth, for it is this hurdle—this stumbling block if you will—that we have great need to get over. If we are truly willing to be honest with ourselves we must determine whether we believe Jesus to be the Son of God or not. There is not middle ground with this particular truth, and in all reality it is either black or white. Just as those who come unto God must believe that He is, so also must those who come to Christ believe that He is. We cannot come unto JESUS without believing that he is both the Christ, as well as the Son of the living God. It is absolutely impossible to come unto JESUS and not believe that He is who He said He is, and that He is indeed both the Christ and the Son of the living God. The Jews in Judaea sought to persecute and kill Jesus because He made the claim that God was his Father, thus making Himself equal with God—the very reality which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Philippian saints when he wrote of Jesus being in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

 

            I am absolutely astounded and captivated with the words which are found in the opening chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John, for within this passage of Scripture we find a clear presentation of both the Word and the witness. Concerning the Word the apostle John wrote that the Word was in the beginning, that the Word was with God, and that the Word was God. Not only this, but the apostle John would also go on to write how this same Word which was in the beginning with God and in the beginning was God was made flesh and dwelt among us. This reality is in direct alignment with the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke concerning this child which would be born unto the virgin, and how His name would be called “Emmanuel,” which translated literally means “God with us.” What’s more, is that when you read the opening chapter of this gospel you will find that the Word was not only made flesh, but also that the Word dwelt among us. It was in this process of being made flesh and dwelling among us that we were able to behold His glory which was the glory of the only begotten of the Father. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that this same Word which was in the beginning, and this same Word which was in the beginning with God, and this same Word which in the beginning was God actually became flesh and dwelt among us. It is truly astonishing to think about and consider this particular truth, for when the eternal God sought to accomplish His greatest work in the earth He would do so by sending the eternal Word in the form of human flesh. It would be the eternal Word which would actually take on a physical form of flesh and blood that He might dwell among and dwell with us—and not only dwell among us, but also abide with us. It is quite incredible to think about this particular truth of the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us, as He would dwell among us for thirty years in obscurity before He would actually begin dwelling among us in visibility.

 

            When we think about and consider the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us we must needs understand that when the time was approaching for the Word to become manifested among us the living and eternal God would raise up the witness in the land. Before the Word which was made flesh and would dwell among us could be publicly manifested among us in the earth there would need to be the awesome and wonderful witness which the living God would indeed raise up in the midst of the earth. It is truly something to think about and consider the fact that the Word which was made flesh would be present among us living and experiencing life with us as we do before the appointed time would come when that word which was made flesh and dwelt among us would actually begin to be manifested among us. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that there is are essentially two sides to the understanding of the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us. On the one hand there is the side of the word being made flesh and dwelling among us for thirty years living in obscurity as He would simply experience life with us as we do every day, while on the other hand there is the side of the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us in visibility and manifestation. It’s worth noting and pointing out that for thirty years the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we did not even know, nor were we even aware of His presence among us. It would not be until the witness emerged on to the scene that a proclamation would begin being made that there was someone present among us who was ordained and appointed by the living God.

 

            What I so absolutely love about the witness is that when the appointed time came for the Word to no longer dwell among us in obscurity the LORD would raise that witness up to prepare the hearts, the minds and the souls of men and women. For thirty years the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and dwelt among us His own, and His own did not even recognize or understand who it was that was among them. In fact, for thirty years the only two individuals who knew the true identity of this man called Jesus was Mary and Joseph. For thirty years there were only two individuals who truly knew the identity of this man from Nazareth, and even after He returned to Nazareth after His baptism and temptation in the wilderness those within the town of Nazareth could not see Him apart from what they had known for thirty years. Those in Nazareth could not see, nor could they recognize Jesus as anyone other than the son of Joseph and Mary and that all His brethren was there among them. This is what is so remarkable about the public ministry of John the Baptist, for He would not only serve as a voice crying in the wilderness, but he would indeed serve as a witness unto the Word which was both the Life and the Light. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and discover that the Word was manifested among us as both Light and Life, and how that Light shone in the darkness—not only the darkness all around us, but also the darkness within us. It is necessary that we recognize and understand that when Scripture speaks of Jesus being that Light which shines in the darkness—not only does it speak to the darkness which is all around us, but it also speaks to the darkness that is within us. We would be incredibly naïve to think that the darkness represented and mentioned here is solely the darkness in the world and does not touch the darkness that is present within our own hearts and lives.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it worth noting that when Jesus entered into the world as the Word made flesh He did so—not only as A light which shines in the darkness, but as THE light which shines in the darkness. What’s more, is that when the apostle John wrote of the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us he would also go on to declare that we beheld His glory, and how that glory was as the only begotten of the Father. We must needs recognize and understand that, for when the Word dwelt among us—not only did we behold glory and the glory of the Father, but we also beheld the Light which shines in the darkness. This is truly necessary for us to think about, for it draws and calls our attention to the fact that when we speak of the Word as being the Light—not only does that Light shine in the darkness, but it also shines in the darkness within our own hearts and lives. I can’t help but be reminded of Moses as he came down from the mountain after spending forty days and forty nights in the presence of God and how his face shone brightly with the radiance and the glory of the living God. We know that this radiance and brightness was so great and terrifying for the people of Israel that when he was in their presence and company he had to wear a veil over his face to conceal the imprint of glory. When, however, Moses would enter into the presence of the LORD the veil would be removed and he would not only freely behold the glory of the living God, but would also be freely beheld in the presence of the living God. It is this imagery I feel is absolutely necessary for us to recognize when the apostle John writes and speaks about our beholding the glory of the Word made flesh, which was the glory of the only begotten of the Father.

 

            I absolutely love what is found within this portion of Scripture, for before us here in this passage is a powerful picture of the Word which was in the beginning, the Word which was in the beginning with God, and the Word which in the beginning was God was made flesh and dwelt among us. This Word which was made flesh dwelt among us as the image of the invisible God and we were able to behold His glory—the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. What’s more, is that it was Jesus who emphatically declared unto His disciples that if we saw Him we in fact saw the Father. I absolutely love that what we find here in this passage of Scripture is not only the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us, but that God Himself chose to dwell with us. What we find in this passage is a powerful demonstration of what the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah proclaimed concerning the name of the Son who would be born unto as being Emmanuel, which is literally God with us. What’s more, is that it is through the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us that we experience the very Light and life of the triune Godhead as the Word which was made flesh not only dwelt among us and did life with us, but also gave unto us eternal and everlasting life. We must needs recognize and understand that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us that we might behold the glory of the eternal and invisible God who is seated upon the circle of the earth. It is absolutely wonderful to read this language concerning the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us, for through the Word we are able to behold God Himself. Oh that we would truly allow ourselves to behold this Word which was made flesh and that we would fully immerse ourselves in beholding Him, for when we behold the Word we behold the Father. When we hear the witness we learn about the Word and when we behold the Word we behold the Father. The witness points to the Word, and the Word points to the Father, and everything we do must needs be in the same alignment. Everything we say, everything we do, and everything we are must needs point to the Father and to and for His glory. We as the disciples and followers of Jesus have indeed been called to be bearers of the image and bearers of the glory just as Moses himself bore the reflection and the image of the glory and presence of the living and eternal God.

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