Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cross and Crown

Did Jesus come to offer the Jews a Kingdom or to die on the Cross at Calvary?

In Luke 1.32 and 33, the angel Gabriel tells Mary about the Lord Jesus Christ who was to be born through her, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

So although it does seem that the Lord Jesus came into this world to be the King of Israel in the line of David, this does not preclude the idea that He would suffer and die on the Cross.

In this same Gospel, Luke informs us in the very next chapter, in chapter 2.34 and35, “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary, his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Very obviously, Mary’s soul would be pierced with sorrow, not because the Lord Jesus would reign as King, but would be rejected, mocked and finally crucified.

The Lord Jesus Himself made it clear to the two unbelieving disciples on their way to Emmaus declaring, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” – Luke 24.26.

So how can we understand these verses? What the angel Gabriel declared concerning the Lord Jesus Christ is true, that He would reign over the house of Jacob forever. This surely means that Christ would be King someday. But in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 1.21, Joseph is informed in a dream that the Lord Jesus Christ “shall save his people from their sins.” Surely the Lord Jesus Christ would have to go to the cross to ‘save’ his people from their sins.

Therefore, it seems reasonable, also in the light of Christ’s own statement in Luke 24, that the Lord Jesus was indeed born into this world to suffer and die on the Cross; He had come as the “Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1.29). The Baptist did not announce the Lord Jesus saying, “Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah…” But “Behold, the Lamb of God…”

Nevertheless, it is true that the Lord Jesus is King, by His own admission (Luke 23.3-4; Mark 15.2; Matthew 27.11; John 18.33-43), but that His Kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18.36). The Lord Jesus declared that now since He has been delivered to be killed, His “kingdom [is] not from here” (John 18.36) Furthermore, the Lord confesses when asked if He were a King that, “I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18.36)

Since the Word of God cannot be broken, all must be fulfilled. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ will come a second time to reign as King over the house of Jacob; and His Kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom.


Luke 17

Verse 21 says, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Here Jesus tells the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is ‘in the midst of you’, not ‘within you’ as in the KJV. The Kingdom of God was present in their midst or among them right then in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Later in Chapter 19.9 says, “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”

Zacchaeus had just confessed his way of life to the Lord in the previous verse. ‘I give’, ‘I restore’ – show his way of life. Indeed his very name means pure.

However, the Lord Jesus said that ‘salvation’ – in the Person of the Lord Himself, was ‘come’ to Zacchaeus’ household since he was a son of Abraham. Nevertheless the sons of Abraham were ‘lost’ too. See verse10.

Connecting these references, we could say that the Kingdom of God and Salvation is in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Further, in chapter 19 verse 11 we read that some expected the Kingdom of God to appear immediately and in order to correct this view, the Lord speaks a parable. In other words, the Lord intends to teach that the Kingdom of God will not appear immediately, this also means that the Lord Jesus Himself will not appear immediately. Indeed He is as a ‘certain nobleman’ now gone away into a far country…and to return. This will take its own time and the Lord will appear in His own time. When, it is not indicated. But return He most surely will. It becomes us to be waiting and expecting Him ‘any moment’.

Accepting the Kingdom of God is equal to accepting Salvation which is equal to accepting the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Salvation is a present reality, but the manifestation of the kingdom is yet in the future. The inward reality and power of the Kingdom of God is present even now, not yet its outward display of Glory and power. This will only be when the King Himself return and that for the Jews, bringing them salvation.

Chapter 21 verse 28 says, “…for your redemption draweth near.” Verse 31 says, “know that the kingdom of God is near at hand.”

Connecting these two verses, we could once again say when the ‘kingdom of God’ draws near, ‘redemption’ draws near. The Kingdom of God is equivalent to Redemption and both these in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Lord our God

The Scriptures clearly claim and reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

The Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word become flesh is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. The OT appearances or manifestations of God is none other than the appearances or manifestations of the second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Therefore all Theophanies are actually Christophanies.

We prove this in the following ways.

Genesis 1.1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Ref. Ps.96.5, Isa.42.5, 45.8,12,18 with Col.1.16, Jn.1.3, Eph.3.9, Heb.1.2,10 (Psa.45.6-7, 102,24-27)

Isaiah 6.1-5 The prophet Isaiah saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. The seraphim cried out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” And Isaiah cries out, “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Ref. Jn.12.41.

Isaiah 7.14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Ref. Mat.1.23

Isaiah 8.13 says, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

Ref. 1Pet.3.15 “Sanctify the Lord the Christ in your hearts…”

Isaiah 9.6-7 says, ”For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God (Gen.49.24, Isa.10.20-21 Jer.32.18), The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Eccl.12.14 ref. 1Cor.4.5

Isaiah 12.2 says, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the LORD, even the LORD, is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”

Ref. 2Tim.2.10, 3.16

Isaiah 26.12 says, “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us; for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.”

Ref. Ps.29.11 & Jn.14.27

Isaiah 26.21 says, “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

Ref. Jude verses 14-15 “…Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeps which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Ref. Rev.19.11-16 says, “And I saw heaven opened and, behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, (1.5, 3.7,14) and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. [12] His eyes were like a flame of fire,(1.14, 2.18) and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. [13] And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood;(Isa.63.1-8) and his name is called The Word of God.(Jn.1.1,14) [14] And the armies that were in heaven followed him upon while horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. [15] And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,(1.16,2.12) that with it he should smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. [16] And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.(Rev.17.14; Deu.10.17; Ps.136.1-4; 1Tim.6.15)

Isaiah 33.22 says, “For the LORD is our judge, (Jn.5.27) the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king (Lk.1.33); he will save us.(Mat.1.21)”

Ref. Mat.27.11 The Lord Jesus claims to be the King of the Jews.(Jn.18.37) & Ac.17.7

Isaiah 40.3 says, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Ref. Mat.3.3; Mk.1.3; Lk.3.4 The expression “way of the LORD” is translated “the way of the Lord”.

In this connection also see Malachi 3.1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me…”

Ref. Mk.1.2 “The words ‘before me’ in Malachi referring to Jehovah, now become ‘before thy face’ and ‘before thee’ – referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 40.10 says, “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Ref. (Isa.62.11) Rev.22.12

Isaiah 40.11 says, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Ref.Ps.23.1, Zec.13.7, Jn.10.11, He.13.20

Isaiah 40.28 says, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.(Rom.11.33; Eph.3.8)

Isaiah 41.4 says, “…I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.”

44.6 “Thus saith the LORD, the King of Israel, and his redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.’

Ref. Rev.1.17, 2.8, 22.13 The Lord Jesus Christ is the First and the Last, the Jehovah of the OT.

Isaiah 42.8 says, “I am the LORD: that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to carved images.

Ref. Isa.48.11, Jn.5.23. Heb.1.6

In Isaiah 43.11 Jehovah declares “I, even I, am the LORD, and beside me there is no savior.”

Isaiah 43.14 says, “Thus saith the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel…”

Isaiah 43.15 says, “I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

Ref. Acts 3.14

Isaiah 43.21 says, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

Ref. 1Pet. 2.9

Isaiah 45.15 says, “Verily, thou are a God who hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior.

Ref. Hos.1.7; Acts 4.12; Titus 2.13, 3.4, 2 Pet.1.1

Isaiah 45.21 says, “…And there is no God else beside me, a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.


Isaiah 45.22 says, “Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.

Ref. Acts 4.12

Isaiah 45.23 says, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Ref. Rom.14.10-11, Phi.2.11

Isaiah 45.25 says, “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Ref. 1 Cor.6.11; Gal.2.16

Isaiah 49.26 says, “…and all flesh shall know that I, the LORD, am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”(60.16) cp. Ps.132.2,5; Hab.1.12

Revelation 22.6 “…and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angle to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.”

(Rev.1.1, 22.16 It is Jesus who sent his angel)

Dual Aspects in the NT

In all of scripture we notice a dual aspect. The Bible begins with the statement, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Interestingly, the verse does not say God created everything, or the universe. But very specifically tells us that God created ‘the heavens and the earth’. Here two things are mentioned – the heavens and the earth. God’s purpose for the heavens is different from His purpose for the earth. And ever since, God’s purpose for the heavens and His purpose for the earth has been unfolding, and that alongside each other. This of course does not mean that every time each of God’s progressive plans and purposes were revealed simultaneously. Indeed very often the earthly plans were revealed and only later have the heavenly plans been manifested or made clear. But that they did exist simultaneously, there can be little doubt.

When God created Adam He introduced him as His representative in this world to rule and exercise dominion over all His works as mentioned in Genesis 1.26 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. This is further confirmed for us in Psalm 8.6-8 – Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

Very obviously, God intended man to rule over His creation on His behalf. But Adam (man) fell into transgression and lost the position God had given him. God revealed His purpose for Adam who was the first man of the earth, earthy (1Cor.15.47), nevertheless He also had His own purpose regarding the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, the second man the Lord from heaven (1Cor.15.47). We cannot now get into all the details of how our Blessed Lord Jesus is the antitype of Adam the first man. But no serious student of scripture can miss the obvious connection here. Just as Adam was the head of the old creation, of the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, the last Adam, is the Head of the new creation. And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1Cor.15.49) Once again we notice a contrast between the earthly and the heavenly – one is from the earth, the other from heaven.

And so all through we notice such a dual aspect to almost every subject in the Bible. Take now for instance God’s promise to Abram as recorded for us in Genesis 12.1-3 – Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee; And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. There can be no doubt that when God spoke these words to Abram, they were meant for Abram. At least that is how Abram would have understood them. And whether or not Abram perceived anything beyond the immediate events, and if anything indeed was perceived, nothing of this is even hinted at in this scripture portion. Later in Genesis 17.6-8 changing his name to Abraham, the Lord introduces his seed into the picture – And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a sojourner, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. Here God now promises to bless, not only Abraham but also his seed. Then in Genesis 22.16-18, in response to Abraham’s obedience to God’s command to offer Isaac, the Lord says, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. Previously the Lord has promised Abraham that in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed, but now the Lord promises that in thy seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Now when God told Abraham that He would bless all the nations of the earth through his seed, scripture does not indicate that Abraham understood these words to refer to Christ. That God’s promises to Abraham do refer to Christ, the apostle Paul make clear in Galatians 3.8 – And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. And further with reference to Abraham’s seed, Paul says, Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. So not only did God mean to refer to Isaac, who was the promised seed of Abraham; God had in mind His own beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ when He promised to bless Abraham. So we see that Isaac was intended and also Christ was intended. God’s purpose was revealed to Abraham from an earthly point of view, and later God’s hidden purpose in Christ was revealed through the words of the apostle Paul. But not only did God refer to Isaac and Christ as being Abraham’s seed, the apostle Paul further tells us that we ourselves who have believed on Christ are accounted as Abraham’s seed. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Gal.3.29).

So we see that when the scriptures speak to or about one individual or event, the Spirit of God may also have something beyond that individual or event. Take the example of David as yet another instance of this principle. In 2 Samuel 7.12-16 the Lord tells David – And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thine own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee; thy throne shall be established forever. Although in this passage in the book of Samuel the possibility of David’s seed committing any sin is contemplated with the ensuing chastisement, God’s same covenant with David as recorded in 1 Chronicles makes no mention of any failure on the part of David’s seed. In 1 Chronicles 17.11-14 the Lord tells David – And it shall come to pass, when thy days are ended, that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son; and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee, But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established for evermore.

Although there are many similarities between these two passages of scripture, there are also differences. In the Samuel passage the Lord says, “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established” whereas in the Chronicles passage the Lord says, “I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever”. The ‘thine house’ becomes ‘mine house’ and the ‘thy kingdom’ becomes ‘my kingdom’!

That God was obviously not just speaking about Solomon, who did reign in his father’s stead, is clear from the book of the Psalms. In Psalm 89.3-4 we read of the Lord’s covenant – I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant: Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. Speaking about David the Lord says in verse 29 of this same Psalm – His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. And again in verses 34-37 the Lord says – My covenant will I not break, nor will I alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established forever like the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

Clearly, the Lord could not be speaking about Solomon for the very simple reason that David’s son Solomon did not endure forever. Secondly, his kingdom also did not endure forever. Far from enduring forever, Solomon’s kingdom was actually torn away from him. 1 Kings 11.11-13 records God’s final warnings to Solomon – Wherefore, the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done by thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely tear the kingdom away from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding, in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father’s sake: but I will tear it out of the hand of thy son. Howebeit, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but will give one tribe to thy son, for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, which I have chosen.

Whether or not David and Solomon understood the full significance of God’s covenant, scripture is clear that the Seed of David, who was to proceed out of his own body, is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. The angel Gabriel speaks to Mary about Jesus in Luke 1.32 saying – He (Jesus) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (However, the apostle Paul in Acts 13.22-23 says, “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; of whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, who shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus,”. Here scripture clearly tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ was raised unto Israel to be a Saviour, not just to reign over the house of Jacob. The scriptures abundantly affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ could not have but suffered and died before entering into His Glories, which no doubt included His entering upon His kingly reign over Israel.)

Thus we see a dual purpose in God’s promises to Abraham and to David. Ultimately Christ was the fulfilment of those promises. Nevertheless God’s promise to Abraham and to David was for real and therefore legitimate. God did indeed desire to bless all nations through Abraham and through his descendents, the Israelites. The fact that the Israelites failed to be a channel of blessing does in no way negate God’s intention. Indeed this only made way for God’s hidden, heavenly purposes to be revealed and fulfilled in His own time.

Scripture often speaks with this dual aspect in mind. For instance although God spoke through Moses to the children of Israel in the wilderness, His word was not only for them but for all time. In answering the Pharisees who came to Him with the issue of divorce, our Lord Jesus Christ, quoting from the writings of Moses told them, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Of course when God gave those instructions through Moses, they were without doubt meant for those Israelites Moses himself addressed. Nevertheless God’s word through Moses is for all time. But here in Matthew 19.8 our Lord Jesus affirms pointedly that Moses wrote you those words. The Lord Jesus was speaking centuries after Moses to people of His own day and yet He said that Moses wrote them those words. Similarly we too could say that Moses wrote for us things applicable in our own day and generation.

So we notice that not only does God speak to an individual and have in mind another individual, He also speaks to individuals things which could be applied to others at a much later time period. Thus very often prophecy has had an immediate fulfilment and also a faraway and future fulfilment.

When we examine the Gospel accounts and try and answer the question as to why Jesus came into this world, we will be faced with two rather different answers.

1. On the one hand, as already seen, we read that the Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world to reign over the house of Jacob forever. Jesus Himself admitted that He was born for this very purpose. In answering Pilate whether He was a King, our Lord admits, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into this world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”(John 18.37) And just in case a doubt may remain with regard to our Lord’s reply according to the KJV translation, we include Scofield’s note on these words – This is a clear, affirmative answer, according to the Greek idiom. Observe what follows in the text: “To this end was I born,” etc.

2. Whereas the angel Gabriel told Mary that her to-be-born son would “reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” before Jesus was born, an angle of the Lord speaks to Joseph in a dream informing him that Mary’s son would “save his people from their sins”. We also notice that the Lord Jesus also confessed that He came to seek and to save lost sinners. In the context of Zacchaeus receiving the Lord Jesus into his house, Jesus announced to him saying, “This day is salvation come to this house...for the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk.19.9-10).

There are of course many other verses that explain why the Lord Jesus came into this world. For example, the apostle Paul tells us in 1Timothy 1.15 “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...”.

So what do we make of these verses that, on the one hand tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world to be King and to reign over the house of Jacob forever, while on the other hand testifying to the fact that He came into this world to save sinners and bring them salvation. How do we understand these two rather different concepts, that seem to be apparently contradictory. For surely, if the Lord Jesus came into this world to be King, He should not have been crucified on a cross, and if He came to save sinners, the cross is exactly what we would expect and not a throne.

But the Scriptures are always right since God is always right. And if at all there seems to be any contradiction, it must exist in our thinking, in our minds and not in God’s Word for His Word is as infallible as Himself and therefore without any errors.

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.