2017 Spring Bible Conference

JOHN 2:1-11

MARCH 26, 2017

JESUS’ FIRST MIRACLE

INTRODUCTION:

1. Jesus, having been declared by John the Baptist to be the Messiah (Ch. 1:19-37), manifested Himself as such to His first disciples. (Ch. 1:38-51)
a) He manifested Himself to Andrew and John through personal interview, the effect of which also extended to Peter and James through personal witness. (Ch. 1:34-42)
b) He manifested Himself to Philip by a personal and effectual call. (Verse 43) Though Andrew and Peter, being of the same city, had, no doubt, talked to him about Jesus, it was Christ’s irresistible call that persuaded him, just as would later be the case with Matthew. (Matt. 9:9)
c) He would manifest Himself to Nathanael and indeed to the whole group by revelations which revealed miraculous knowledge. (Ch. 1:47-51) In this as well as the aforementioned manifestations, He established His intimate relationship to God, i.e. His own personal deity.

2. Jesus will now display the glory of His person before their eyes in a first act of omnipotence. He will perform His first miracle.
a) This miracle, embracing the fact of an entirely new order, was a validation of the faith of these first disciples, and caused it to rise to new heights. (Verse 11)
b) This miracle would mark the end of Jesus’ private life. It would be a royal farewell to His merely natural relation as the Son of Mary and Joseph.

3. Jesus’ first miracle took place in the family circle, and makes the connection between His private life and His public ministry, which is here initiated.

1. JOHN GIVES A CAREFUL AND DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF JESUS’ FIRST MIRACLE. (VERSES 1-9)

A. HE CAREFULLY DOCUMENTS THE TIME, PLACE, AND OCCASION OF THIS MIRACLE. (VSE. 1)

1. It was “the third day.” This would mean the third day since Jesus determined to leave Judea, and go forth into Galilee. (Ch. 1:43) It was a three day’s journey from where John was baptizing to Nazareth, which was very near to Cana.
a) This would be the second three day period, the first being the three days of John the Baptist’s witness recorded in the previous chapter.
b) Together they comprise a full week and answer to the last week of Jesus’ passion. What great and amazing things had happened in that first week.

2. The place was “Cana of Galilee,” which was just a short distance from Nazareth, where Jesus lived. We are not told if Jesus went first to Nazareth, or if he went directly to Cana.
3. The occasion was a wedding.
a) This was apparently a family wedding. Someone related to Jesus was getting married.
b) This would appear to be so from the fact that Jesus’ mother was there in a serving capacity, and Jesus was invited to come.

B. HE MAKES PARTICULAR MENTION OF SOME OF THE PERSONS THAT WERE THERE. (VS. 1b, 2)

1. The mother of Jesus was there. The Greek suggests that she was already there. “…the mother of Jesus was (being) there.” The fact that she was already there probably means that she was, as a family member, helping with the wedding in some way. It would appear that she was overseeing the serving of the meal and the wine.
2. Jesus and his disciples, having arrived later, were “called,” that is, they were extended a special courteous invitation.
a) Jesus, we would assume, was thereby invited. Whether He came by way of Nazareth first, to went directly to Cana, it would seem that when he left Judea intending to go back to Galilee, being in attendance at this wedding was part of His plan.
b) His disciples, however, were not on the list of invited guests, thus, they were included, courtesy of the family. At this time the number of disciples would have been six.
c) All of these considerations aside, Jesus’ attendance was for reasons of much greater import than simply honoring the marriage of a relative. As for His disciples, they may have been unexpected guests at this special event, but their being there was by his design and for a purpose that, at the time, was not known to any except Himself.
d) If His disciples’ taking part created a wine shortage, that too was by design, as we shall see.

C. HE CALLS ATTENTION TO A PROBLEM THAT WAS CREATED BY A SHORTAGE OF WINE. (VERSES 3-5)

1. It may be that the six additional guests occasioned the shortage of wine. (Verse 3a)
2. Mary, sensing responsibility moved to solve the problem. (Verse 3b)
a) Her closeness to the bride and groom perhaps was the reason she took responsibility.
b) Perhaps she, as before suggested, was helping by seeing to the matter of serving refreshments.

3. Mary’s expectation of Jesus was most natural, but out of place.
a) Think of what she knew about her Son; think of the things she had pondered in heart these many years.
b) She was doubtless aware of the reports of John the Baptist, plus the six disciples that accompanied Jesus knew who He was.

4. Jesus’ rebuke of her, though it may seem harsh, actually was not. Due to the divine purpose behind all of this, Jesus’ words to Mary were necessary and most informative.
a) The underlying purpose to be worked on this occasion was Jesus manifestation of Himself as He transitioned from private life to public ministry.
b) Mary, as Jesus’ mother, tried, perhaps unwittingly, to control the manner and means of His manifestation. Though well intentioned, she was nevertheless overstepping her bounds.
c) Jesus duly loved and respected His human mother, and would never have dishonored the one who had borne and loved and nurtured Him. But, His Messianic office was a matter between Him and His Father, not Joseph, (whom it was supposed was His father (Luke 3:23)) but His eternal Father. His entrance upon His Messianic work was determined from eternity. Only He would determine when His hour had come. (Vs. 4b)
d) In this matter, Jesus had nothing to do with Mary as her Son. “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (Verse 4a)

(1) Notice He says, “Woman,” not “Mother.”
(2) This was no disparagement, yet it was, no doubt, as a sharp sword in her heart when her Son cut the apron strings. Of course, she would afterward feel a yet more painful piercing of that sword. (Luke 2:35)

e) Jesus resisted Mary’s plea, just as He had resisted Satan’s repeated challenges in the wilderness. Though this appeal came through His dear mother, the temptation was essentially the same, and the same malignant spirit was behind it.
f) Jesus would just moments later do the very thing that, when suggested by His mother, drew from Him a stern rebuke and refusal.

(1) Jesus’ miracles (of which this would be the first) always had a higher purpose than the temporal benefit, which in this case, was solving the problem of a shortage of wine.
(2) Jesus’ miracles were never self-serving. He could not be tempted by fleshly appeals, as Satan found out. (Matt. 4:5-7)

5. Mary received the correction and learned from it. She went on to act in faith. (Verse 5)
a) She acknowledged His Lordship. Even though she was His mother, He was her Lord. (See Matt. 22:41-45)
b) She acted not as His mother who was in charge of refreshments at a family wedding, but as His servant, who, in obedience to His Spirit, charged all to obey His voice.
c) She somehow realized that He was about to do something extraordinary, not according to her will, but according to the will of His Father.

D. HE CAREFULLY DOCUMENTS THE MIRACLE ITSELF. (VERSES 6-9)

1. Like other miracles in the Bible it worked with the natural order. (Verse 6)
a) He used natural water, natural water pots, and ordinary servants.
b) We find that this rule applies to miracles throughout Scripture. (See Exod. 15:24, 25; II Kings 4:40, 41)

2. It was supernatural, but involved natural means. (Verses 7-9)
a) The water pots of stone were there.
b) Water was used to fill the pots.
c) Servants were called upon to do the work.
d) The ruler of the feast was used to bear witness.

II. JOHN RECORDS THE EFFECT OF THE MIRACLE BOTH NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL. (VSES. 10, 11)

A. IT HAD A NATURAL EFFECT. (VERSE 10)

1. The ruler of the feast was profoundly impressed.
a) This man was the governor of the feast. He was the head of the servants.
b) He knew nothing of what Jesus had done. (Verse 9)
c) He attests the surpassing goodness of this wine.
d) So impressed was he that he desired to know why it was served last, which was not customary. “Thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
e) We may safely assume that all of the guests were affected the same.

B. IT HAD A PROFOUND SPIRITUAL EFFECT. (VERSE 11)

1. It was the “beginning” of Jesus’ miracles.
2. It occurred at “Cana of Galilee,” marking the end of Jesus’ private life, and the beginning of His Messianic ministry.
3. It “manifested forth Jesus’ glory.”
4. It established the faith of Jesus’ disciples.
a) They did not here begin to believe.
b) Their faith as newly called disciples was here confirmed.

JOHN 1:35-51

MARCH 12 / MARCH 19, 2017

CHRIST’S FIRST DISCIPLES

INTRODUCTION:

1. We have been considering the three testimonies of John the Baptist. These testimonies occurred on three consecutive days.
a) John, having first denied that he was himself the Messiah, testified that Christ was presently among them. “There standeth one among you…” (Verse 26) In saying, “I am the voice,” i.e. he who prepares the way for Messiah, (Vs 23; Isa. 40:3) he was, in fact, confirming, He is here.
b) “The next day” John testified, “There He is” (Verse 29) He pointed to the actual physical Person of the Messiah, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
c) “Again the next day,” John would testify in the most practical sense, essentially saying, “Follow Him” To two of his own disciples, John said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Those two disciples clearly understood their master to be saying, “Follow Him!”
2. John’s third testimony assumed a still more precise nature. (Verses 35-37)
a) It seems that this third and most practical testimony was missed by the official delegation. They had apparently returned to Jerusalem the day before without even asking John who the Messiah was of whom he spoke.
b) John remained with two of his disciples at his side, who, when they heard his exhortation, took heed, and “followed Jesus.”
3. Here we have an account of the calling of Christ’s first disciples. These are called in two groups, and picture all who become His followers.

I. THE FIRST GROUP WAS MADE UP OF FOUR OF JOHN’S DISCIPLES, WHO, WITH HIS FULL BLESSING, BECAME FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST. (VERSES 35-42) NOTE: We assert that there were four men in this first group, although only three are mentioned, Andrew, his unnamed companion, and Peter, Andrew’s brother. Collective gospel history would suggest that when Andrew went to find his brother, his companion, whom we know was John (the author of this Gospel), also went and found his brother James, who was also part of this first group.

A. THE FIRST TWO DISCIPLES RESPONDED TO JOHN’S PUBLIC DECLARATION. (VERSES 35-37)

1. Both were disciples of John. (Verse 37)
a) These unnamed men were two disciples out of a much greater number who were follower of John. They understood John’s declaration, “Behold the Lamb of God” (Verse 36) to mean “Follow Him” and were moved to do so.
(1) Here we see evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work, inclining them to leave their present master to follow Him whom they had never seen before. When one in faith obeys the Gospel command, it is always the Holy Spirit’s work.
(2) We also have an example of true loyalty. John’s one purpose was to bear witness of Christ and see His increase. Without the least degree of jealousy, he pointed his disciples to Christ.
b) One of the two first responders is soon to be named. (Verse 40) His name is Andrew. The other remains unnamed, but there can be no doubt that it is John, the writer of this Gospel.
(1) In modesty, he does not name himself, though the precise, intimate details here given demand an eyewitness.
(2) Neither does he name his brother, James, who as before noted doubtlessly was also among these mentioned.
2. Notice, as they began to follow Jesus, perhaps timidly, they were acknowledged by Him, and extended a welcoming invitation. (Verses 38, 39)
a) Jesus inquired of them, knowing full well what they were seeking. (Verse 36)
b) Their answer expressed in a modest way that they desired to speak with Him in private. “Rabbi, (Master, Teacher) where dwellest Thou? (Verse 38)
c) Jesus said to them, “Come and see.” The meaning is come at once.
d) They spent the rest of the day enjoying a glorious personal visit with the Lord Jesus. From about the tenth hour (4 o’clock in the afternoon) onward they were with Him.
e) We do not know where He dwelt, but needless to say, their interests went far beyond the seeing where Jesus lived. (Verse 41)
3. So, the first two disciples were a result of John’s public declaration, which was essentially a Gospel command, Follow Him!

B. THE THIRD DISCIPLES CAME TO JESUS BY PERSONAL TESTIMONY AND WITNESS. (VRS. 40-42)

1. At this point in the narrative, we officially learn from the author who his companion was, who along with himself, first followed Jesus. (Verse 40)
2. It was necessary to name Andrew in order to point out his relationship to this third disciple, who was Simon Peter, Andrew’s brother. (Verse 41)
a) Notice, John refers to him by his surname, “Peter,” which obviously at this point in the history, had not yet been given.
b) This shows that at the time of John’s writing, his readers were already familiar with the Gospel history.
3. Evidently both John and Andrew set out to find their own brothers, so anxious were they to introduce them to Jesus.
a) Even though we are not specifically told that John went to find his brother, we do know that James was also among the young Galilean disciples of John the Baptist. Since James was among the earliest of Christ’s disciples, it is only reasonable to assume that John who shared the enthusiasm of his companion, and had immediately gone to find him.
b) No doubt John and Andrew were in complete agreement about the fact that they had found the Messiah.
4. What a wonderful and blessed encounter Peter had with Jesus! It was a most remarkable interview. (Verse 42)
a) Andrew brought Peter to Jesus later that same day.
b) Jesus, at first sight of Peter, saw him through and through. “Jesus beheld him.”
c) Though Jesus had never met Simon in the flesh, no introduction was necessary, for He had perfect knowledge of him, even from birth. Jesus said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona.” (John 1:42) (See Jer. 1:5; Gal. 1:15)
d) Jesus then gave him a surname which revealed that, in addition to perfect acquaintance with Simon in the past, He also had perfect knowledge of his future. “Thou shall be called Cephas.”
(1) Jesus gave Simon a new name which revealed elements of the future person he would become.
(2) Jesus gave him the name “Cephas,” or “Peter,” which means “a stone.”
(3) A change of names in Scripture signifies a change of character.
(a) “Abram” (exalted father) became “Abraham” (father of many nations). (Gen. 17:5)
(b) “Jacob” (supplanter) became “Israel” (a prince with God). (Gen. 32:28)
e) In giving Peter this new name, Jesus took possession of him, and consecrated him for the work that He would appoint to him.
f) All who come to Jesus in faith are made new creatures in Christ. (II Cor. 5:17)

II. THE SECOND GROUP OF DISCIPLES WAS GATHERED AS JESUS WAS GOING FROM JUDEA TO GALILEE. (VERSES 43-51)

A. JESUS LEFT JUDEA TO GO BACK HOME TO GALILEE. (VERSES 43a)
1. His present mission in Judea was now complete.
a) He had come to Judea for His baptism.
b) He had received John’s witness.
2. He would now return home for a while before returning for the Jew’s Passover, at which time he would inaugurate His Messianic Ministry at Jerusalem. (Ch. 2:13ff)
3. The journey home was not lost or idle time, but rather quite purposeful, as two more disciples were called.

B. THE CALLING OF THESE DISCIPLES PROVIDES AN EXAMPLE OF THE PRACTICAL PROPAGATION OF FAITH. (VERSES 43b-46)

1. We saw in the calling of the first group how one lighted torch ignites another.
a) John and Andrew, having been lit by John (Verse 37), each sought his brother, Andrew found Peter, and John found James. (Verse 41)
b) Now Philip is called, who was a friend of Andrew and Peter. All these had been disciples of John the Baptist.
2. Philip, who was called directly (Verse 43), was doubtless the result of influence.
a) Andrew and Peter, who were of the same city, had almost certainly already talked to him about Jesus. (Vs. 44)
b) While in their company, Jesus bids him to come. “Follow Me.”
3. Philip seeks out his friend, Nathanael. (Verses 45, 46)
a) His testimony is bright and enthusiastic, and from the heart. (Verse 45)
b) It is doctrinally flawed, but not intentionally. He was simply unformed.
c) To Nathanael’s question, which seemed to indicate doubt, Philip simply answered, “Come and see.” (Vs. 46)
(1) By “anything good” Nathanael means “anything as good, as glorious as Messiah.”
(2) Philip, rather than try and answer, wisely said, come and see for yourself.

C. TO EVERY GENUINE AND HONEST SEEKER JESUS WILL PROVE HIMSELF. (VERSES 47-51)
1. Nathanael was just such a devout soul who had only to see Jesus in order to believe on Him.
2. Jesus, seeing into his very soul, spoke aloud of his good character, which was a reflection of what every Israelite ought to be. (Verse 47)
3. Nathanael was puzzled, and desired to know on what basis Jesus had made this moral judgment of him. (Vs. 48a)
4. Jesus then revealed to him his higher knowledge of him, a vision that was not merely human, but divine. (Verse 48b)
5. Jesus, being God, and all-seeing, had seen Nathanael under the fig tree, where apparently he was engaged in private devotion and prayer. Most likely he was searching, and crying out to God.
6. He then knew that Jesus’ vision had penetrated him there, and this brought forth a marvelous confession. (Vs. 49)
a) He confessed Jesus as “the Son of God.” How else could He have such knowledge?
b) He declared Him to be “the King of Israel.” He saw the relationship between Him and the chosen people, indeed He was their Messiah, as Philip had said.
7. Jesus confirmed Nathanael’s faith, and promised more to come, not only for him, but for all the other disciples. (Verses 50, 51)
a) The question that Jesus here asked has the force of a confirmation. (Verse 50) “You believe, and therefore you shall see.”
b) Jesus said, “Verily, verily.” (“Amen, amen.”) This is the first of twenty-five such expressions in John’s Gospel. As an introduction to a declaration, it belongs exclusively to Jesus.
8. Jesus, in Verse 51, alludes to “Jacob’s ladder,” which Jacob saw in his dream, with angels ascending and descending upon it. (Gen. 28:12)
a) Heaven is now permanently opened in the Person of Jesus Christ and His work.
b) Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between heaven and earth.
c) It is upon Christ that our prayers ascend up to God, and upon whom God’s blessings descend to us.
d) He here refers to Himself as “The Son of Man.” He has opened heaven to all mankind, and is the one Mediator between God and man.

JOHN 1:19-34

FEBRUARY 26 / MARCH 5, 2017

THE THREEFOLD WITNESS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

INTRODUCTION:

1. The great theme of the Gospel of John is “The Person of The Word made flesh.” This grand truth is the very foundation of John’s concept of regeneration or the new birth, through which faith comes, enabling a man born of flesh to become a child of God. This is possible because faith has as its object the Word who became flesh.
2. This coming of Christ in flesh was declared early on by John in the prologue to his Gospel. The Light which shineth in darkness speaks of the incarnation. (Verse 5) the incarnation was surely presented in relationship to the nation of Israel (Vs. 11); but he also plainly declared Christ coming in the flesh in relationship to the entire world of believers. (Vs. 14)
3. In our present study we will be considering the first manifestations of the Word made flesh. In this, we will see the opening of faith in the lives of the first apostles through the three testimonies of John the Baptist. John’s three testimonies were essentially these: He is here; there He is; follow Him. (Verses 26, 29, 36)

I. JOHN FIRST WITNESSED CHRIST AS PRESENT. (VERSES 19-28)

A. THIS WAS AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. (VERSE 19; CH. 5:33)

1. John was the heaven-sent official messenger who was to go before and announce the Messiah to the nation of Israel. His coming was predicted by the holy prophets. (Isa. 40:33ff; Mal. 3:1; 4:5) John was the harbinger for whom the nation was to be watching, one who would be easily identifiable. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet,” which is to say, a prophet like unto Elijah, for he came “in the spirit and power of Elias.” (Luke 1:17)
2. This announcement was spoken in the presence of an official deputation sent to represent the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was composed of seventy-one members, comprised of chief priests, elders of the people, and scribes. It made up the ruling body. Jesus was speaking of them when He said, “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” Moses hid himself established a tribunal of seventy-two elders, and it seems that such a body remained in the days of Joshua, and through the period of the kings. (Josh. 1:10; 23:2; 24:1, 31; II Chron. 19:8)
3. Here in the nineteenth verse we meet with the term “Jews” for the first time. While it is a designation of the people of Israel (Ch. 2:13; 3:1), but it oftentimes designates the nation as an unbelieving community, contrasted with the true people of God. (Rev. 3:9; Mark 7:3)

B. THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CAME IN RESPONSE TO AN INTERROGATION BY THE JEWISH DELEGATION. (VERSES 19c, 20)

1. The direct question reveals that there was an expectation of Messiah. “Who art thou?” Clearly, John’s ministry had aroused great curiosity and concern. (See Matt. 3:1-6)
2. John’s answers convey simplicity and humility. (Verse 20)

a) He confessed, and denied not. He being asked openly and plainly, professed, and did not try to conceal it. In Scripture negatives are sometimes added to affirmatives to exclude all exceptions. (See Job 5:17; Psa. 40:10-12) He confessed, and did not even begin to deny what was true.
b) He confessed, not once, but again and again, because many were musing about it. (Luke 3:15) This was his honest and official declaration.
c) “I am not the Christ.” He very firmly denied that he was that great Messiah which God had promised, and in the expectation of whom they lived. (Luke 2:25, 25; John 4:25)

C. JOHN’S ANSWER PROMPTED SOME FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS BY THE DELEGATION. (VSES. 21-23)

1. They enquired, “Are thou Elias?” Are you Elijah, whom the prophet Malachi said would precede Christ? (Verse 21; Mal. 4:5)
2. They then asked, “Art thou that prophet?” Are you the prophet of whom Moses spoke? (Verse 21; Deut. 18:18)
3. John’s answer to both enquiries was that he was not. Since they meant the very persons, and not their spiritual personifications, John answered honestly.

a) John was a prophet like unto Elijah, not Elijah himself.
b) John was not “that prophet” of whom Moses spoke; that would be Christ Himself.

4. John, when pressed, responded by saying, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” (Verses 22, 23)

a) He was only a preparatory “voice.” (Isa. 40:3) See here the humility and self-abasement of this man. This was an essential part of his true greatness. (See Ch. 3:30; Matt. 11:11; Luke 7:28)
b) John owned that his role, as foretold by Isaiah, was to “make straight the way of the Lord.” As it was customary in the East to straighten and repair the roads for an approaching monarch, so John was preparing the way for Christ. This represented the spiritual condition of Israel at the time of His coming.

5. They particularly wanted to know about John’s baptism. (Verses 24, 25)

a) The majority of this delegation was of the sect of the Pharisees (Vse 24), the group most concerned about rites.
b) Since they understood him to deny being Messiah’s forerunner, why then did he baptize, since he seemed to lack authority to institute a new rite?

6. John gave them a most significant answer. (Verses 26, 27)

a) John defended his right to baptize by the fact that Messiah was present among them. (Verse 26)
b) The great shame was that they did not know Him.
c) John testified of Jesus’ absolute preeminence. (Verse 27)

7. John documents that this significant exchange took place “in Bethabara beyond Jordan where John was baptizing.”
8. This concludes the first of John’s three testimonies, which were given on three consecutive days. He first testified that “Christ was present.” He is here.

II. IN JOHN’S SECOND WITNESS HE POINTS OUT CHRIST ESSENTIALLY SAYING, THERE HE IS. (VERSES 19-28)

A. JOHN POINTED OUT CHRIST, AND, AT THE SAME TIME, INTRODUCED HIM AS GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LAMB. (VERSE 29)

1. This testimony was occasioned by Jesus coming to where John was. “John seeth Jesus coming unto him.”

a) Clearly this was not happenstance; the time had come for the “porter” to open to the true Messiah. (Ch. 10:3)
b) This was not the first time Jesus had come to where John was baptizing. He had come before to be baptized of him. (Matt. 3:13ff)
c) It was because of that previous meeting, when Jesus was baptized of him, that John could point to Him with absolute certainty and say “this is indeed the Christ.” (Compare Verses 31-34; Matt. 3:16, 17)

2. John pointed out Jesus by a certain designation, which declared his divine purpose in coming. “Behold the Lamb of God.”

a) He did not call Him The Christ, or the Son of God, or The King of Israel; but he called Him The Lamb.
b) He pointed to Him as God’s sacrificial Lamb, the Passover Lamb (our Passover – I Cor. 5:7); as the sin bearer of His people (Isa. 53:4-12). For this reason He took human flesh. (Heb. 10:5, 7)
c) Notice, He is God’s Lamb, of His provision, of His designation. (See Gen. 22:8, 13, 14)

3. John introduced Christ as He would expiate sin. “…which taketh away the sin of the world.”

a) This is to lift up and to carry off. This sets forth the complete expiation of sin.
b) The work is vast and extensive. “…the sin of the world.”

(1) It includes all men without distinction; Jew and Gentile.
(2) It includes every believer without exception.

B. JOHN POINTED TO CHRIST, THIS IDENTIFYING HIM AS THE ONE OF WHOM HE HAD BEFORE SPOKEN. (VERSE 30)

1. Here John explains the mystery which he spoke of on the day before. (Verse 15)
2. John refers to Jesus as “a man,” but one who was preferred before him, and indeed, before all men.
3. He was “a man,” and yet, before He was born, He already was. Though He was born after John, he was before him. Not only was He before John, but He would later declare, “Before Abraham was I am.” (John 8:58)
4. Clearly, Jesus was “a man,” but He was also eternal God. He was the God-Man and the Messiah.

C. JOHN NEXT RELATED HOW HE HAD ATTAINED THIS KNOWLEDGE OF HIM. (VERSES 31-33)

1. He disclaims any prior knowledge of Jesus, so how could he have such boldness to testify that this One was from eternity, and had now appeared in order to be the Redeemer, and to put away sin? (Verse 31)

a) John was in the wilderness until the time of his public ministry.
b) He states that his mission to baptize was expressly in order for him to know who Jesus was.
c) So it may not simply be that John didn’t’ know Him as Messiah before this, but possibly he didn’t know Him at all.

2. He was made aware of who Jesus was at His baptism. (Verses 32, 33)

a) This was manifested by the descent of the Spirit upon Him, and His abiding on Him.
b) John knew that this One could baptize, not merely with water, as himself, but with the Holy Ghost. (Verse 33)
c) Water baptism is very important, in that it is a symbol of Spirit baptism which is the reality.
d) When Jesus was baptized He was filled with the Holy Ghost without measure.
e) By the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by His innate deity, the Son of God would do all that He did.

D. JOHN THEN POINTED OUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ACT THAT HE HAD PERFORMED. (VS. 34)

1. John was satisfied that he had witnessed the truth. The facts recorded were established and would abide forever.
2. He bare record that this is the Son of God!
3. This concludes John’s second testimony. “There He is!”

III. JOHN’S THIRD WITNESS, WHICH OCCURRED THE NEXT DAY, WAS ESSENTIALLY, FOLLOW HIM. (VERSES 35-37) This witness resulted in the first disciples following Christ. We will consider these verses with our next study in which we will have The Calling of Christ’s First Disciples.

JOHN 1:1-18

FEBRUARY 12 / FEBRUARY 19, 2017

CHRIST THE ETERNAL WORD

INTRODUCTION:

1. We fully believe that the author of the fourth Gospel is the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, who was an eyewitness of many of the things which he recorded. (See John 19:35; 21:24) Even though John does not mention himself by name, there is little doubt that he is the writer of the Gospel which bears his name. (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20)
2. To the reader it soon becomes clear that John is different from the other three (Synoptic) Gospels. The aim of the Synoptic Gospels is to recount the events of Jesus’ ministry, and give something of a consecutive history. John, on the other hand, though he too writes of the life of Jesus, has an aim that is more theological than historical.
3. Two of the Synoptics (Matthew and Luke) begin with the birth and genealogy of Jesus. Matthew, in presenting Him to Israel as the King Messiah, wishes to connect Him to the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants as the hereditary heir to the throne of David. Luke, by tracing His genealogy back even to Adam, wishes to present Jesus as the Son of Man, and Savior of all mankind.
4. The great theme of John’s Gospel is The Person of the Word made flesh, Who not only dwelt on earth (Ch. 1:14), but as He ever since has dwelt on earth in the hearts of all believers.
5. In Verses 1-18 we have a prologue to the narrative in which John sets forth the grandeur and importance of the subject.

I. JOHN PRESENTS THE WORD AS ETERNALLY ONE WITH GOD AND THE ACTIVE AND EFFICIENT CAUSE IN THE DIVINE WORK. (VERSES 1-4)

A. THE WORD POSSESSES FULL DEITY. (VERSES 1, 2)

1. Three assertions are made in this marvelous first verse with respect to Christ, who is the Word.
a) The Word is eternal. (Verse 1a) “In the beginning was the Word,…” At the beginning of creation, i.e. the temporal beginning of all things (See Gen. 1:1), the Word already was. He is eternal, as God is eternal.
b) The Word is co-equal with God. (Verse 1b) “…and the Word was with God,…” (See Gen. 1:26: “Let us make man…”) The phrase, “with God” tells us that He was a distinct Person from the Father; that the Word was in intimate communion with the Father, and that there was complete equality of the Word with God.
c) The word was Himself God. (Verse 1c) “…and the Word was God.” This indicates much more than that the Word was divine. It means that the Word possessed in Himself true deity. The Word, though a distinct Person, was of the same essence as God the Father.
2. A powerful confirmation that the Word was eternal with the Father. (Verse 2) “The same was in the beginning with God.”
a) Of whatever beginning one might conceive, the Word was there.
b) Here, however, John is speaking of the beginning of the creation.
c) This confirms that “the Word was God,” for God alone is eternal.

B. THE WORD WAS ACTIVE IN THE CREATION OF ALL THINGS. (VERSE 3)

1. The Word was the agent of the divine creation. “All things were made by Him.” Literally, “all things became by Him.”
a) He Who was did not come into existence, for He was before all things. (Col. 1:17)
b) All else came to exist by Him.
c) Those who claim that He was a created being, deny His eternality, and therefore, His deity. The gross error of all who do so is a fatal one, for it rejects that which John sets forth as being of vital importance in man’s redemption.
2. This gives the foundation for the Word being the agent of divine redemption.

C. THE WORD WAS LIFE AND LIGHT. (VERSE 4) “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

1. All created things receive their existence from Him, but life is more than existence, it is a quality of being. Every living thing receives its life from Him.
2. Every manifestation of life in the world whether spiritual of physical is owing to the Person of the Word.
3. By means of this life, men, that is, all moral beings, obtain light.
a) This is all Gospel light progressively given before Christ came.
b) This is all the moral and rational light given to mankind.

II. JOHN PRESENTS THE WORD AS REJECTED BY AN UNBELIEVING WORLD. (VERSES 5-11)

A. THE WORD, BY WHOM ALL THINGS WERE MADE, CAME INTO HIS OWN CREATION. (VERSE 5) “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

1. The marvelous creation which shone with the light of its Creator became “darkness” by the fall.
2. The beginning in John 1:1 is the same as the beginning in Gen. 1:1. John is writing to those familiar with the book of Genesis.
3. The state of darkness here is that which was brought about by man’s betrayal of His Creator, falling prey to Satan’s lie, and through disobedience, becoming subject to sin and falsehood. As soon as man ceased to live in Him Who is life, there was darkness.
4. The light shining is the ministry of the Word down through human history, and culminating in the Incarnation.
a) This light shined through the patriarchs and the prophets, and was realized in the ministry of our Lord. The hostility of the darkness in all of its resistance and persecution is not able to snuff out the light.
b) The active hostility against the light was due to the incapacity and unwillingness of the darkness to recognize and understand the light. “And the darkness comprehended it not.”
c) There is a twofold indictment against fallen mankind. First, men of darkness are unwilling to hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they hear Christ. Second, they are in love with darkness and prefer darkness to light. (Luke 16:29, 31; John 3:19; 5:39, 40, 46, 47)

B. GOD SENT ONE BEFORE AS A WITNESS TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE WORD. (VERSES 6-8)

1. God sent a man named John for a witness to bear witness of the true light. (Verse 6)
a) Notice the contrast: He was a man; the Word was God. He came to bear witness of the Light; the Word was the Light.
b) He was the last in a long line of witnesses, yet he broke a long silence. He was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. (Verse 6; Isa. 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1)
c) “His name was John,” which means “God shows grace.” He came not only to announce the Messiah, but to announce the nature of the coming age. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (Verse 17)
2. This man came as a witness to the Eternal Word as the Light, so that all men in darkness might believe. (Verse 7)
a) Only through faith in Christ is the darkness dispelled. (Matt. 4:16; Col. 1:12, 13)
b) John’s witness was necessary because of the form in which the Light was to appear. (Verse 14)
c) The objective was “that all men through him might believe.” John bore “witness,” “testimony” of which the correlative is faith. The reciprocal response to a faithful witness is belief. “…that all men through him might believe.”
3. The witness himself was not the Light. (Verse 8)

C. DESPITE THE OVERWHELMING FACTS IN EVIDENCE, THERE REMAINED INCREDIBLE UNBELIEF WITH MANKIND. (VERSES 9-11)

1. The Word was rejected even though He was the Light of men. (Verse 9; Verse 4)
2. The Word was rejected even though He was the world’s Creator. (Verse 10; Verse 3)
3. The Word was rejected by Israel even though He was their Messiah. (Verse 11; Verse 5)
a) Jesus came “unto His own.” Literally, His own things: His home; His own land; His own temple.
b) Jesus came to His own people, i.e. the Jews, the natural children of Abraham.
c) “His own received Him not.” They did not welcome Him, but rather hated Him, and even slew Him.

III. JOHN PRESENTS THE WORD RECEIVED BY THE ACT OF FAITH. (VERSES 12-18) John holds up the Person of the Word to the eye of faith as the true hope of all mankind.

A. THERE IS A SHARP CONTRAST DRAWN BETWEEN THE SHOCKING UNBELIEF SEEN IN VERSE 11, AND THE RECEPTION OF FAITH IN VERSE 12.

1. Mankind, generally, and Israel, particularly, did not welcome Him. (Verse 11)
a) He was not received by His own, that is, He was not welcomed, literally.
b) Israel officially did not welcome Christ, Whom they should have received with open arms.
c) The leaders who sat in Moses’ seat should have flung the door open wide but instead, they slammed it shut.
2. Believers, individually and particularly did receive Him. (Vse. 12) That word, “receive,” refers to an individual, personal act, in contrast to the official, corporate act seen in Verse 11. Saving faith is always individual and personal.
3. Receivers were given authority to become God’s sons.
a) This faith is the product of regeneration, as the next verse will show. “…which were born…” that is, born before this receiving act of faith occurred.
b) As many as received Him were granted authority to become part of the family as adopted sons. (Gal. 4:6, 7)

B. THEREFORE, FAITH MANIFESTS THE REGENERATING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. (VSE. 13)

1. Here are three things to which the new birth cannot be attributed.
a) It is not by natural, hereditary descent, as the Jews were prone to think. “not of blood…”
b) It is not by virtue of man’s free will as so many groups are want to believe. “…nor of the will of the flesh.”
c) If is not by the force of human determination. “…nor of the will of man.”
2. Here is the one and only effectual source for credit, as to both its means and accomplishment. “…but of God.”

C. THE POWER OF FAITH IS EXPLAINED. (VERSE 14a) “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

1. The power does not lie in faith itself.
2. It lies in the object of faith, which is, “the word made flesh.”

D. FAITH RESTS UPON A THREE-FOLD TESTIMONY. (VERSES 14-18) Notwithstanding the unbelief of the majority of mankind, the mission of the Word made flesh is certain.

1. It is certain because of the testimony of eyewitnesses, of whom John is one. (Verse 14)
2. It is certain because He was pointed out by the one sent by God to bear witness to the Light. (Verse 15)
3. It is certain because of the witness of the whole church. (Verses 16-18)
a) We have all received our fullness from Christ. (Verse 16a)
b) Grace upon grace is the experiences of Christ’s people.
(1) The law could only partially reveal God. (Verse 17a)
(2) The Gospel fully reveals Him (Who is grace and truth) through Jesus Christ.
c) The only begotten Son is the true revealer of the Father. (Verse 18)