My friends, there is so much to learn about Jesus as the Word of God, so much to say. I honestly feel even more inadequate than usual to proclaim this amazing Truth. But that feeling of inadequacy is a good thing—it probably means that you will actually grow closer to the LORD through this post because I won’t be relying on me—putting myself on display!—but relying on the LORD, offering up my meager “five loaves and two fish” so that Jesus can feed you Himself—so that HE is put on display!
What does John 1 mean, that Jesus is the eternal Word of God? Oh how key this is.
Jesus as the Word of God is concerned with Jesus as God, not just as “really nice carpenter dude.” Many today are happy to believe in Jesus as a wise person, a teacher of love and ethics, an inspiration for us to sacrifice ourselves for a cause (any cause!) that is bigger than ourselves.
But John 1—and the rest of the New AND Old Testaments in the Bible—challenges us with Jesus Christ, the Word of God, eternally existent with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons, through Whom everything was made that has been made. This Jesus—the Ruler of the universe who will judge the nations and separate the sheep and goats and send people to one of two eternal destinies; this Jesus–Who claims ALL authority in heaven & earth (Matthew 28:18); this Jesus is not happily believed in by many, and in fact is rejected by many & surrendered to by few, this Jesus Who alone claims Lordship over us and every detail of our lives.
- At the last supper before the Lord Jesus was crucified, Judas called Jesus “rabbi” (teacher); the rest of the disciples called Him “Master/Lord.” (Matthew 26:20-25) What a powerful distinction. Many are happy to call Jesus “teacher.” Few are willing to submit to Him as their only “Master.” Who do YOU say that Jesus is? (Matthew 16:13-17)
Jesus as the Word of God is concerned with Absolute Truth, and we live in an age when many believe that nothing is unquestionably true. If God has words for us, indeed if God the Son is described as THE Word, may we all agree that those words, when properly interpreted, are always true, are always right? May we agree then that Jesus as the Word of God does NOT mean Jesus is just an opinion of God, God’s perspective that is valid & true only as long as all other opinions and perspectives are equally valid & true? Can we all agree that if God says something it will immediately mean that it will show as false and untrue other things that people say that don’t line up with what God has said? God as the Word means that He is the ruler—the standard—against which everything else is measured, against which all other opinions are determined to be either true or false.
People were amazed that Jesus spoke with AUTHORITY, not like their teachers (Matthew 7:28-29; Matthew 9:8). They only speculated/guessed/gave opinions; Jesus declared and proclaimed Truth. Albert Einstein may have discovered certain laws of nature; Jesus invented/created the laws of nature. The one who discovers is different from the one who creates/invents. Thus, as the author of life, the Lord Jesus taught as One with authority (Matthew 28:18), and many people recognized this 2,000 years ago, and by the grace of God, many today recognize this as well.
John 14:6 NIV: Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Just one of the many authoritative black & white statements from the Lord Jesus that our culture of gray doesn’t like.
- This verse has amazing news—THERE IS A WAY TO GOD THE FATHER, to have the relationship that Adam & Eve had with Him in the Garden of Eden, to have that relationship restored/reconciled!
- This verse also has difficult news—it is exclusive. There IS a way to the Father, but only one way, only through one Person—God the Son, the Word of God. Which means that any other attempts to get to heaven, to have peace, to have eternal life, to reach nirvana, etc. apart from faith in Jesus Christ are all wrong (John 10:1-11). As one writer said, “Christianity is the most exclusive inclusive group in the world: ANYONE is welcome to enter, ALL are invited, but there is only ONE WAY to enter.” Have you entered through faith in Jesus Christ as God, as King, as Savior, as the only way?
Knowing Jesus as the Word of God funnels us to knowing, reading, believing, agreeing with, and obeying the Bible, the Word of God. There is no way around this. The people who physically spent time with the Lord Jesus, how did they get to know Him? Not through mystical experiences—they got to know Him through both lectures and labs: He constantly taught people with His Word (lecture) and His works (labs). And yet today, many of us spend VERY little time reading the Bible regularly, and very little time truly following Jesus (obeying Him) in our daily lives. And yet we say that we know Him, that we are Christian, that we are in class! But we don’t attend many of His lectures (Bible reading), and we don’t participate in many of His labs (learning to obey Him with our actions)—but we wear His school colors & talk about being enrolled in His University and hang out on His campus!
John 15:1-11 NIV: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
[LOGOS—same word used in John 1—in the beginning was the LOGOS! The Word of God made flesh cleans our souls through the Word of God made text.]
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
[How do we remain in Jesus Christ? He says “remain in Me” so many times—it must be important!]
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
[Keeping the Lord Jesus’ commands does not cause us to be loved by God; Jesus says above that He already loves His people–He loved us first with the same love that God the Father has for Christ! It is because He loves us that we are able to keep His commands as gratitude for His unearnable grace & love!]
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
[This keeping of the Lord Jesus commands, this isn’t a burden but a JOY! This is true freedom!
- The culture’s freedom means to want to do whatever we desire.
- Christ’s freedom is the desire to do whatever Jesus wants.
- The best the culture can offer you—temporary happiness—is a nicely decorated prison…living for self.
- Jesus offers you the best, eternal joy—true freedom…living for Him because you have life in Him and from Him and through faith in Him by grace from Him! What a difference!]
One last passage: John 14:23-27 NIV: 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
[There is a deep closeness with the Father and with the Son that only comes through us learning to obey Him. Don’t settle for having God as a buddy that you hang out with every once in a while! Receive Jesus as your Savior & follow Him as your King and He will MAKE HIS HOME WITH YOU DAILY, not just hang out with you!
Now is Jesus teaching us that we earn our salvation through obeying Him? NO WAY! Our obedience to Jesus doesn’t lead to us being forgiven; our receiving Jesus as our Savior and being forgiven by the Lord Jesus leads to our obedience. The order is so important! Romans 1:5 says, “You are called to the obedience that COMES FROM faith,” not the obedience that LEADS TO faith. But once the Holy Spirit has opened your eyes to your deep sinfulness and your absolute need for a Savior, and once you receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior, once you are reborn through grace & faith, your obedience will begin to flow.
- Just like a baby in the womb—the baby doesn’t do a bunch of things in the womb in order to be born, the baby doesn’t obey first in the womb in order to work up a resume in order to deserve to be born!
- But once the baby IS born, now the baby will show he/she is alive, will demonstrate his/her life by learning to sit up, crawl, walk, run, jump etc. The baby’s works, deeds, obedience come AFTER he/she is born, not before! Same with us spiritually! The Holy Spirit regenerates us and makes us new so that we CAN obey the Father, not to earn His love but as a glorious thank You FOR His love that we cannot earn! What a subtle but important difference!]
24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
[As John Piper has pointed out, do you love Jesus? The question for each of us here is not how we can start going out and doing a bunch of good deeds to prove that we love Jesus. The question for us first is this: DO we love the Lord Jesus? Are we in awe of Him, His character and what He has done for us through the cross and the empty tomb? Do we delight in the Lord Jesus, or do we only believe in Him intellectually? Do we rejoice in His grace for us each morning, each day, each moment, that through His death & resurrection & the regeneration (new birth) through the Holy Spirit we are reconciled to God the Father, no longer His enemies but now His children? Do we ever fall down at His feet like Thomas and exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”?
If not, don’t run to do more good deeds; first run to your room, close the door, drop to your knees and cry out to the Savior in repentance that our hearts are captivated by shopping, sports, cars, decorating our houses, movies/t.v., social media, and so many other earthly things but that we are not often captivated by the eternal Savior, the glorious Word of God! Repent of that, acknowledge that before Him, go low and ask Him to lift you up, to transform you, to restore to you the joy of His salvation, to grow in the hard & dry soil of your heart a true and deep and Holy Spirit-Powered love for Jesus SO THAT you will then go out and learn to obey His teaching more and more in your daily life!
Even go so far as to ask Him to reveal to you if you aren’t actually a Christian, if you haven’t actually received Jesus as your Savior & King, if you’ve only been hanging around Christ but aren’t actually IN Christ. We don’t want to end up like those in Matthew 7:21-23…]
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
[One of the main roles of the Holy Spirit is not to give us really nice goosebump feelings; one of His main roles is to help us read, understand, agree with, and obey all of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation!
And what is the result, over time, of being transformed by the Holy Spirit to read, understand, agree with and obey all of the Bible?]
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
[Peace & joy flow from Jesus as we learn to know Him as the Word of God, the Word made flesh, and to know, understand, agree with, and obey the Word of God, the Word made text.]
Luke 6:46-49 NIV:
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
May the Holy Spirit open our eyes to call Jesus Lord, may we have power from God so that Jesus can live in our hearts through faith! And may the Holy Spirit gives us power to grasp how wide and high and long and deep is the love of God so we can do what He says, building our lives day by day and moment by moment on the rock of His Word…