The Challenge of Jesus Christ to every person ever born into this world
The Prologue in John’s Gospel [1:1-14 especially] describes firstly just who Jesus is, and later what He became. In this first section of the Prologue, we find that the word “was’ is often used in regard to Jesus. Then comes a change in verse 14 where the word “became” is introduced to describe Jesus. The One who eternally “was,” now “became ” something else at a certain point in history. Jesus at his birth “became” a human or took on human flesh. [NOTE 1]
What John does in this Prologue is to give the reader a wonderful overview of the majesty of Jesus as the eternal, pre-existent Son of God responsible for everything in creation. This is outlined as follows for your convenience. Bible verses in Bold print.
A}. WHAT JESUS “WAS” FROM ETERNITY
- JESUS PRE-EXISTED BEFORE HIS BIRTH ON EARTH, Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
- JESUS WAS PART OF THE ETERNAL GODHEAD [TRINITY] Jn 1:1 and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
- JESUS WAS GOD’S AGENT IN CREATION, THE CREATOR OF ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. Jn 1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE AND LIGHT, Joh 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
- JOHN [THE BAPTIST] CAME TO PREPARE PEOPLE FOR JESUS’ COMING, Joh 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
- JESUS THE TRUE LIGHT WAS COMING INTO THE WORLD. Joh 1:9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
- JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD AS ITS CREATOR, BUT WAS NOT RECOGNISED AS SUCH BY THE WORLD. Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
- JESUS CAME TO HIS OWN CREATION AND TO HIS OWN PEOPLE, Joh 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. [NOTE 2]. It was not a total rejection, as the next verse indicates.
- JESUS WAS RECEIVED BY SOME AND REJECTED BY OTHERS, Joh 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name.” “Believing in” is a decision of the mind when confronted with the truth. “Receiving” is an act of the will. Both are needed to be born again. One can believe that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and is its Lord but every individual has to receive Him as such, personally, in receiving Him as their own Saviour and in submitting to Him as Lord and Master of their lives.
- JESUS GAVE THOSE WHO BELIEVED AND RECEIVED HIM, THE RIGHT TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD,Joh 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [NOTE 3]
B}. THE NEW EVENT THAT DIVIDED HISTORY! WHAT JESUS BECAME AT HIS BIRTH
Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus became a human, lived as human and died as a human! For us! During His ministry, in John 14, he told His followers that He would leave them. But He would send them another [allos = another of the same kind] Comforter who would remain with them for ever. His “tabernacling” [“dwelt” in Jn 1:14] among them as a human was for a limited time but His presence by His Spirit would be with them forever. John 14:16-17. [NOTE 4].
C}. WHY HIS BECOMING HUMAN IS SIGNIFICANT FOR US
Why would the eternal Son of God, the Creator of all things, want to come down from glory to visit the universe He created and sustained? The angelic message to Joseph who was betrothed to Mary, gives the answer, Mat 1:21 “ She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” In brief, He came to be the Saviour of the world by dying for the sins of the whole world.
So you and I are involved! We cannot escape the fact that Jesus died for all the sins of all the people who ever lived and that includes you and me. As the wonderful old hymn “There is a Green Hill far away” put it, “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate of heav’n and let us in.”
D}. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR RESPONSE TO WHAT HE DID FOR HUMANS (including me)?
A previous verse from the hymn “There Is A Green Hill Far Away” succinctly put it, “He died that we might be forgiv’n, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heav’n, saved by his precious blood.” Unless He had come and died as a human for humans there would be no forgiveness, and no new quality of life to be lived! It was achieved through His death for us on the cross. It was the process known as “salvation” accomplished for us by our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Or in the words of St Paul in 2 Cor 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” He died for us back then! We are meant to live for Him now!
There may be those who say, ”Well it doesn’t affect me in any way. I am an atheist and all this is nonsense to me.” Unfortunately you can’t reverse or deny reality. Jesus DID come and die for the sins of the whole world, including the sins of every atheist, agnostic and any other xxx-ist or xxx-tic that ever lived!
There may be others who say, “I want my freewill! I don’t want anything forced on me. I didn’t ask Jesus to die for me, nor do I want to go to heaven.” Well, the “good news” for you is that you have a choice. You can’t change the fact that Jesus died in Your place to pay the penalty for your sins, but you can refuse to reject the offer of forgiveness and eternal life He offers to you in Himself. The bad news is that if you refuse to receive Him and to believe in Him, you do miss out on all He offers you in Himself. So you miss out on being forgiven of anything! You miss out on receiving eternal llfe which is life in abundance [God’s life in you] from the moment you receive Christ into your life! You miss out on sharing in His love and His joy and ultimately on entering into heaven when you die.
So there is the choice every human must make in every generation. John put it like this, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. “John 3:36. I know what choice I would make, and DID make, way back on New Year’s Eve in 1958. I began to really live that night and to enjoy the Lord’s blessing as a child of God! If you are interested I have told my story in articles Numbers 248, 307and 338 on this blogsite. [You can just click on the numbers to be taken to them or you can find them in the Index on the right.]
I encourage you to read the articles and to see if they are a challenge to you. I would love you, the reader, to become a brand new creation in this New Year of 2020! It is your choice! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17.
NOTE 1. Jesus ‘was’ many things before he came to earth at His birth in Bethlehem. The word used several times in this passage is [ēn; ἦν]. It is the Imperfect tense form of the verb ‘to be’, [eimi; εἰμί] and is usually translated as “was.” However it could also be translated as “was always being” to denote its continuous aspect.
For example, Jesus as The One who was always being with God, always being the creator, always being the light and the life etc, but at a certain point in time Jesus “became” something He had never been before.
The word ‘became’ is from a different Greek root and is [ginomai; γίνομαι] to ‘cause to be’ or ‘to become.’ It is called in theology, the “Incarnation”, when Jesus was born as a baby. He ‘became’ a human and took on human flesh to live as a human.
NOTE 2. In this verse John shows that Jesus came to His creation, His own things, [the neuter, ta idia; τὰ ἴδια is used]. He then adds that His own people did not receive Him [the masculine oi idioi; οἱ ἴδιοι is used here]. Joh 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
NOTE 3. In earlier translations of this verse, there was cause for some misunderstanding. For example the Authorised Version [AV] put it as, “to them gave the power to become the sons of God.” That could cause some folk to believe that God gave power to people to live in such a way that they could eventually, through a process of improvement, become the children of God.
However the word here for ‘right’ is exousia; ἐξουσία] ‘he gave the right to become children of God.” It means “authority” or “delegated power.” Receiving and believing in Jesus brought the status and experience of being a child of God as a privilege conferred, rather than being an honour earned! It is God’s grace at work, for and in the believer! As St Paul wrote, Eph 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
NOTE 4. John affirmed that Jesus became human and also lived as a human. Joh 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” However there is an interesting aspect to the word “dwelt”. It is the Greek word [skēnoō; σκηνόω]. meaning to “tent” or “to tabernacle” or to “reside” (as God did in the Tabernacle). It is used only by John in the New Testament writings. Jesus indicated that he would be with them for a short time but when He left, He would send them another Comforter [allon paraklaton: ἄλλον παράκλητον] who would be with them forever. Many will recognise here a version of the word “Paraclete” a name for the Holy Spirit often translated as Comforter, Advocate, Helper, Counsellor, Strengthener. It comes from para = beside and kaleo = to call, literally “one called to the side of.”
Blog No.339 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Thursday 2nd January 2020.