Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jottings on John's Gospel

John 1.5 “…the darkness overcame it not.”

This word is used only once elsewhere in the NT – in Romans 9.30 “…have attained to righteousness,…” The word used here is kate,laben (verb indicative aorist active 3rd person singular from katalamba,nw) This word has the meaning of attaining as in Romans, to win, make one’s own, etc. [Please note: the word translated ‘overcame’ in John 1:5 is used a total of 14 times in the NT in its different forms. However we’re talking about the only other place it occurs in the NT in the very same form in which it occurs in John 1:5 as given above]

John 1.18 says about our Lord Jesus Christ, that He “is in the bosom of the Father”. This verse does not say He was but is in the bosom of the Father. In chapter 3 verse 13, the Lord tells Nicodemus about Himself that “the Son of man…is in heaven” (emphasis added).

This shows that the Lord Jesus Christ, ever was, ever is and ever will be in the bosom of the Father. There never was, is or ever will be a time when He is not in the bosom of the Father. So intimately and completely is the Son one with the Father, that they never can or could nor would be separated.

10.7 “… I am the door of the sheep.” Our Lord Himself is the door. In those days, the sheep pen had no material doors. The Shepherd himself would lie across the opening as the door. No one could get to the sheep without first getting at the shepherd. What comfort this administers to each of His sheep. We are eternally secure and safe because our Good Shepherd is Himself the Door. See 10.9 “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

10.11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

10.14 “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” JND has it “I am the good shepherd; and I know those that are mine, and am known of those that are mine…” Our Lord knows us. But the Word does not say we know Him. But rather that the Lord is known of us. Indeed, no man knoweth the Son but the Father (Mat. 11.27) “…and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

10.15 “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” JND has it “as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Darby says, ‘as the Father knows me and I know the Father’. In other words, the measure of the Son knowing the Father is not the way the Father knows the Son. The point here is not likewise, but the emphasis is on what follows in the next words. Because the Son knows the Father, He lays down His life for the sheep. Previously, in verse 11 the Lord had said, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. The fact is stated. Here the motive or reason is stated. The Lord laid down His life because He knows the Father. Later in verse 17 the Lord says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” In other words, the Lord laid down His life because He wanted to remain in His Father’s love for Him. (comp. 10.18 with 15.10b)

10.18 – Only the Lord could lay down His life and take it up again. If anyone else lays down his or her life, that would be suicide; that would be sin. But for the Lord this was His Glory, a commandment He received from His Father. (comp. Phil.2.6-7 where the Lord gives up His position with Jude 6 where we are told of angles who kept not their first estate. All have their estate or position divinely assigned to them in the universe by God. To leave that position, to move out of that position, is a sin. But for the Lord, when He left His position and condescended, this was His Grace, His Glory. Praise God for such a Saviour.

10.36 “…because I said, I am the Son of God?” If we read the previous verses, we don’t find the Lord specifically using such an expression, claiming to be the ‘Son of God’. Nevertheless, this is what the Jews understood the Lord to be saying. The Lord had said in verse 30 “I and my Father are one.” JND has it “I and the Father are one” a direct claim to equality with God. Indeed, this is just what the accuse Jesus of in verse 33 “…because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” So it is wrong to say that Jesus never claimed to be God or the Son of God. He Himself plainly admits in verse 36, “because I said, I am the Son of God. If He had not said so, He would have said so. But He Himself admits this.

John’s Gospel more than any other gospel was written to prove the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, God Himself. And yet it is in this very gospel, the Lord calls himself a man.

8.41 – “…a man that hath told you the truth,…”

The Samaritan woman calls Jesus a man in 4.29 “Come, see a man…”

The Jews calls Jesus a man in 10.33 “…because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

10.25 – “…the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”

10.37 – “…If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.”

10.38 – “…believe the works, that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”

The works Jesus did plainly point in only one direction – that He is indeed the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ of God, the Saviour of Mankind. See also 5.36 Jesus’ works were a greater witness than that of John the Baptist’s. See also 7.31 the multitude agreed wondering “…when Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?”

In 6.69 Peter says, “and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God. Here the emphasis is on believing and then knowing. Nevertheless it is okay to know and believe. Indeed, the Gospel of John was written, and the signs specifically selected in this gospel were written, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” But how can people believe without first knowing what was written! In other words, we need to read, know and then believe. It is the Word of God alone that can produce faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. See Rom.10.17 “So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

10.41-42 says “John did no miracle”. This proves that miracles were not really a necessity when new revelation was introduced. John was the forerunner of our Lord; the greatest among men born of women (Mat. 11.11). Nevertheless, he performed no miracles. And yet the people admit, “but all things that John spoke of this man were true. And many believed on him there.” Today we don’t require to perform miracles for people to believe our message about Christ. The Word alone is sufficient to lead them into a saving knowledge of the Lord Himself.

14.12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father.” The words ‘greater works’ also occurs in 5.20 “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that he himself doeth; and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel”. The only difference in the original being that the word ‘works’ does not appear in 14.12, although this of course is implied. The link between these two verses is most interesting.

In 5.19 we read “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 whatever things he doeth, these also doeth the Son in the same manner.” The Lord Jesus Christ did all things that he saw his Father do. The next verse (5.20) tells us that the Father “will show him greater works than these...” and the Son would definitely do them in the same manner. Therefore the Son himself will do greater works than what he had done so far. Then in 14.12 the Lord says that his disciples who believe on him would do the very same works that he himself had done and even greater works. Interestingly, the reason given for this is because Jesus said “I go unto my Father.” In other words, here on earth, Jesus did all that the Father had shown him. Now, returning back to his Father, he would continue doing those things which his Father would henceforth show him – the greater works mentioned in 5.20. And these greater works would not only be shown by the Father to the Son, the Son himself would do them through his disciples here on earth, as intimated in the next verse in 14.13-14 “And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” What wonderful words to encourage us in our prayers. So it is entirely wrong to say, as most have said in the past, that Jesus performed many wonderful things, but his disciples would do greater things. No, it is Jesus himself who would do those greater things, only now he does them through his disciples here on earth, himself having gone back to his father and therefore able to do them, seeing his Father do them.

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