Read: John 1

The Gospel according to John, is different than the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Synoptic means “to see together,” which is why much of what is contained in those Gospel accounts is similar. John, however, is unusual. The account is framed around the various signs Jesus performed (E.g., 2:11, 23). John uses those signs to establish and prove his purpose in writing the Gospel. He writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31). Therefore, as you read through this Gospel, it is essential to always keep that purpose before you.

John 1 does not begin with the birth of Christ but with a clear statement of his pre-incarnate existence as the second person of the Trinity. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. That Word is the divine “Logos” (Gk. “word). It is that Word in which all things were made, visible and invisible. John goes to great lengths to prove the deity of the Son in the first fourteen verses. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Literally, the word translated “dwelt” in the ESV is the Greek word for “tabernacled.” The imagery harkens back to the Old Testament tabernacle in which the very presence of God dwelled amid the camp of his people.

Further, John explains how the Son “exegetes” or explains the Father. Therefore, if you want to know what God is like, look to the Son, who explains God. As God, he alone can express himself, and he does so through the incarnate Son (Cop. Heb. 1).

John also sets forth a testimony of others about the veracity of Jesus being the eternal Son. He does so through the witness of John the Baptist (1:19-34), the calling of the first disciples (1:35-42), and especially in the calling of Phili[p and Nathanael (1:43-51).

The importance of the deity of Christ cannot be overstated. It is a hallmark position within historic Christendom. If Jesus is not God come in the flesh, then we do not have a Savior, for he would need one. Only the perfect Lamb can save his people from their sins. Only God can atone for the sins that have stained us. No mere man can save. Only Christ. That is why one of the rallying cries of the Protestant Reformation was “Solus Christus” (Christ alone). It is not through indulgences, good works, our best efforts, or any other thing or person. Only Christ saves. Through his active and passive obedience, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, rescues sinners. Therefore, we look to him alone and trust his finished work as the God-man.

Questions to consider:

  1. Why is it so important that Jesus is both God and man?

  2. Although John does not give an account of the birth of Christ, the virgin birth is essential to our salvation. Why?

  3. How do John the Baptist’s words and the first disciples’ calling prove John’s assertion that Jesus is God?

  4.   Is it Christ alone that you depend? Evaluate your life, eliminate those things that distract you from Christ, and ask our heavenly Father for greater affection for the Savior.

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