Gospel of John
Gospel of John

Gospel of John Study – Part 1

RS: We are starting the book of John today. The first chapter. I hope you have had an opportunity to read it. Before we start it, we also have a new person. What was your name again?

Terry: Terry Brazile.

RS: Jerry?

Terry: Terry.

RS: Terry, I’m old and I can’t hear well, so, I apologize about that, anyway. Welcome. Glad to have you.

Terry: Ben Short told me to drop by.

RS: Ben was here yesterday.

[unintelligible comment :33-:35]

RS: This is the real slow group. All right, everybody let’s turn to John 1. Hopefully, you’re already there, and hopefully you’ve had a chance to read it, maybe even more than once. John 1. Many people believe that this first chapter is just very, very significant and I’m in agreement. Let me just make a couple of comments about the book of John just for you guys. As you’ve probably noticed, you don’t have the Christmas story narrative in John like you do in Matthew and like you do in Luke. And, what else makes it unusual, and yet, almost half the book, the last ten chapters, really describe the last week, maybe 10 days, maybe two weeks, of Jesus’ life. And, the last eight chapters, focus on His time with His disciples right before he’s going to be taken. You know, you have The Last Supper. And then, you see where He is taken into custody. You see His words, the conversation He has, if you want to call it a conversation, with Pilate, which is very interesting, and then you have the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, and then you have, in the last chapter, you have this really, I guess you would call it this great conversation that the Risen Christ has with His disciples, particularly with Peter. And, what you will find is that John is not really a history of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew, Mark, and Luke; it kind of goes in a chronological order, the history or the time where Jesus spent in ministry. You don’t see that in John. John is more of a powerful argument for the Incarnation. In fact, it’s more of a conclusive demonstration that Jesus was, and is, not only the Son of God, but the very source of eternal life. And so, if you ever have a skeptic just searching and saying where should I read the Bible, point them to John.

I know a guy, kind of does something, you know how we do The Investigative study; he does something similar, but he basically has them read, and they study and talk about the first seven chapters of the book of John. You will remember Francis Collins, who I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the famous scientist, who recognized – basically he was an atheist – he was asked by this little old lady about his faith and what he really believed, and he said, I realized that here is a scientist, everything that I believed in science came from research and studying the evidence, and coming to conclusions. He said, but when it came to issues of faith and God, he said, I had not looked at any evidence and yet I had drawn these conclusions. He said, therefore, if I was going to have any intellectual integrity as an atheist, I had to do some research. So, he talked to this man who was a minister, and the man pointed him to C.S. Lewis’ work, and he said, I also suggest that you read the book of John. And he said basically, I was stunned at what I read. And he said, basically, that was the path that he went down to ultimately becoming a Christian. You see, what you see in every chapter of John is this emphasis placed on Jesus’ deity. For example, only in John do you see all of, what I just call them this, these great “I am” statements. You know, He says, “I am the Bread of Life”. Now, I want to ask you something. What would you guys do if I stood up here and said, “Guys, I got something to tell you. I am the bread of life.” It would just be a matter of time before you guys start running out the door, saying, you know, this guy has lost it. But He says, “I am the Bread of Life. I am the Light of the World.” I mean, what an audacious statement. I’m not just one of the many lights around things, I am THE LIGHT. Then He says, I am the door. I am the door that you go through for life everlasting. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Resurrection and the Life. John 14 says, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life”. And in John 15, He says, “I am the true vine.”

You know, guys, anybody making these kind of statements would be considered either a lunatic or, if it was true, He’d have to be God Himself. Only Jesus could make those kind of statements. Now, the first 14 verses are really significant, and I’m going to make a couple of comments. And then, at the very end of the study, I’m going to come back, and share with you something that I think is just incredibly powerful about what Jesus is saying, or what John is saying in these first 14 verses. But, what you do see, again, is that John clearly doesn’t concern himself with what happened on that first Christmas, the details of it. Instead, he is focused on the significance of it. And what was the significance of it? That The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. Jesus, John is telling us, is the ultimate revelation of God and who God is. It’s like, I may have told you, when my oldest son was about nine, he asked me, and this was just out of the blue, “Dad, why do you believe in God?” And I gave him all kinds of reasons. I said there are a lot of very good, rational, logical reasons to believe in God. I said, but, for me, ultimately, I believe in God because of Jesus. The Word becoming Flesh and dwelling among us. As one commentator said, Jesus is the supreme revelation of God. If we are to know God, neither rationalism or irrational mysticism will suffice. God chose to make Himself known finally and ultimately in a real historical person. Now, as you read John 1, he’s talking about how God came into the world. Look at verse 12. Somebody read verse 12 for us. Donny Patton, you want to read it?

Donny: “Yes to all who receive Him, to those who believe in His Name, He gave the right to become Children of God.”

RS: What’s that about? I mean, John is giving us this great announcement, this great proclamation, and then he’s saying what? In order to really integrate this into your life, for it to be real, for it to be legitimate, for you to be a Christian, you have to receive Him. What does that mean? Receive Him?

Unidentified audience member: It’s still optional.

RS: It is. And, if you think about it; It’s kind of like this, to understand it. Four times the apostle said, Christ gave Himself to us when He went to the cross. He gave Himself to us. When somebody gives you something, you receive it. You have to receive it into your life. As we said before, the best way to picture this is in a marriage, in a wedding. Remember Jesus refers to Himself four different times as what? The bridegroom. Which is weird, kind of, isn’t it? Notice He doesn’t say, I’m the husband. He’s referred to as the Bridegroom. And that is the language of marriage. And that is why in the traditional wedding service, I think that is used by all the denominations, the traditional wedding ceremony says this, that marriage is a picture of the mystical union that exists between Christ and His Church, and therefore, the marriage is a picture of two people entering into a holy covenant relationship. And the next time that you go to a wedding, listen to the vows. It’s significant. They start out looking at the minister. Usually, then, when they do their vows, they turn and they face each other. And they usually hold each other’s hands like this, and if you’ll listen to what they’re doing, it’s that they’re giving themselves to each other and they give themselves, and you receive them. Now, Jesus says, I’ve given myself to you. Will you receive me into your life? And then this is the most powerful thing. Because when you do, you then have the right to become children of God. In other words, you’re adopted into His family. And John, obviously thinks this is very important, because in the book of I John, he says how great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called Children of God. And he says, that is what we are, Children of God. Comments or questions on anything I’ve said? Anybody?

RS: All right. We’re going to come back to these first few verses at the very end, but let’s jump to verse 15. Let’s talk a little bit about John the Baptist. What was John’s role? What was his purpose?

Unidentified audience member: He was telling everybody Jesus was coming.

RS: Yes. He was basically coming to prepare the way, as he put it. In fact, John’s life is foretold back in Isaiah which was written 700 years before that. And in Isaiah 40, in verse 3, it says “A voice is calling. Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” Then in verse 5 it says, “Because then the glory of the Lord is going to be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.” John had a clear role to play, and that is to prepare the way for the Lord. Then, he comes along, and I don’t know if you realize it, but he has this huge following. People go out, and some people think it’s going to be so weird, but really, there were several reasons that they came out to hear him. And, you know, one of the things that happens is that he upsets the religious establishment, because he was so popular. There is nothing that upsets the religious establishment more than somebody getting popular. Now, let me give you an example. Here in Birmingham. Church of the Highlands. Now, I don’t know what you know about it. Dan goes there. Bo, do you go there? My son goes to the one down at Auburn, and for his birthday, which was back in December, he said I want the whole family to go with me to Church of the Highlands. We went, and it was great. But, a lot of people don’t like it. One guy was telling me his minister doesn’t like it at all, and I said why, and he said, because so many of our members have left to go to Church of the Highlands. I said it’s kind of like he thinks he owns these people, and I promise, I don’t mean this to be critical, but that’s what happens. When something gets real popular, a lot of people just don’t like it. That’s what happened with John. The religious establishment hated him. Yes, Bob?

Bob: What do the scholars say that the timeframe, the space between when Isaiah supposedly prophesies John, and?

RS: Yes, I want to say it’s like 700 years and some change, but it’s a long time.

[Chatter and laughter]

RS: Let’s look at the two things that you see about John in these verses. One, you see that John has a real humility about him. Look at verse 15. In the New American version, it says, John testified about Him and cried out saying, “This was He whom I said. He who comes after me has a much higher rank than I do, for He existed before me.” You don’t see John as this real arrogant person. He says the one that I; He has a much higher rank than I do. He’s much more important than I am. Then, go down to verse 27 where it says, “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” You know back then, only a slave could be required to untie somebody’s sandals, take their shoes off, and wash their nasty feet. That’s what slaves did, and John was saying, I’m not even worthy to be a slave when it comes to the Messiah. Do you remember, we’re going to see it, it’s in chapter 3, which we will get to in two weeks, but once Jesus begins His ministry, all of John’s followers begin to peel off and start to come and hear Jesus, and two of John’s disciples go to John and say, “John, what are we going to do? You’re losing all your followers.” Do you remember what John says? What does he say? “He”, being Jesus, “must increase, and I must decrease.” In other words, he says, my role is done. You know, John could have said, you know, I’ve got a great following here, let’s see what we can do. Let’s see how great we can get; how big we can be. No, he says, my work is done. I must decrease.

You know, I give a message, I teach a message on leadership, and I did it this past Friday afternoon to a nonprofit here in Birmingham. I spoke to their staff, and I really believe this with all my heart that the most significant and important quality of a leader is humility. And John possessed it. It’s been a while since we talked about humility, but do you remember, true humility. It comes from Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, when he describes these level-5 leaders. He says, “True humility requires a paradoxical blend of personal humility and yet, also, fearlessness on your part.” He says, you can’t have one without the other. Too many people think humility is to just be meek and mild and kind of mousy, and it’s not. John the Baptist was truly humble. You see his humility, but you see his fearlessness in his preaching and when he goes before Herod, and calls him a hypocrite and a fox, and just all these different things, because Herod has stolen his brother’s wife. And John would not back down, and ultimately, it cost him his life. And so, you see in John the Baptist this real humility, and you see, and let me just stop here. Because a guy yesterday said, how do we become more humble, and he was very sincere, and it’s not where you can just flip a switch and say, all right, I’m humble now. Something guys, that you have to cultivate it in your life. And the Bible says that we cultivate it by learning how to, and this phrase is learned in both the Old and the New Testament. Do you remember the phrase? Humble yourselves. Humble yourselves under the mighty Hand of God. Remember we said, there may be more than four, but there are four clear ways that you can humble yourself. One is through thanksgiving, and having a real grateful heart. Humble people are grateful people.

The second comes from Luke 18, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Remember the arrogant, self-righteous Pharisee and the tax collector, it says, who couldn’t even lift up his head and beat his breast and say, God have mercy on me, the sinner. Jesus says, in that parable, it says, that’s the way that you humble yourself. To confess your sin before God. A third way you humble yourself; II Corinthians 12:5-7, where Paul talks about when I’m weak, that’s when I’m strong. And he talks about basically, our willingness to go before God regularly and just declare how weak we are and need his strength. You see that in David’s life. Psalm 30:10. “Hear o Lord, be gracious to me. O Lord, be my helper.” When you declare, Lord I’m needy. I need you, you are humbling yourself.

Now the fourth is real hard for most men. It’s what Dallas Willard calls, the discipline of secrecy. He says, whenever you do anything great, whenever you do anything noteworthy, he says, keep it a secret. You know, we think we’ve got to tell the world how great we are. We love to drop names. We love to drop accomplishments. He says, keep it a secret. I love the way he puts it. That’s what Jesus said, from the Sermon on the Mount. He said when you give to the poor, don’t let everybody know you’re doing it. Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. Keep it a secret. But God knows. Then, I love what he says, he says, “The best way to practice the discipline of secrecy is to put your public relations department in the hands of God. If He wants it to be known, it will be known. People will find out. But let Him do it and not you.” Matthew 23:5, it says this was the problem with the Pharisees. Listen to what it says. He says, “They do all of their deeds to be noticed by men.” And Jesus detested that. So, that’s the way you humble yourself. Four ways you humble yourself. And in humility, there is strength. Because God says I only give my grace and my strength and my power to humble people. So, people were attracted to the true humility in John, and they saw the strength that came out of his life. But then he also shows great reverence for the Messiah. He speaks of Him, and he says, I am unworthy to untie His sandals. His rank is so much greater than mine. But what do we learn about the Messiah in verse 29 of John 1? Look at verse 29.

Unidentified audience member: Takes away the sins.

RS: Yes, and he calls Him what? He recognizes Him as what?

Unidentified audience members: Lamb of God.

RS: Think about it. John is the only one, not only the first person I think, but he was the only one that really got this. Because they were considering the Messiah to be a conquering Messiah, to be a worldly King. That’s what the disciples thought, and they were arguing basically, who’s going to sit on His left and His right. That He was going to overcome the Roman Empire and set up a worldly empire, but John said, no, that is not the case. He is a King, but He is a King that came to hang on a cross, which is not what you would expect, but John got this. Jesus had this paradoxical blend of humility and fearlessness. That’s why I love this. You know what He is called in the book of Revelation. A lion and a lamb. But the lamb was significant because the lamb was slain so that we don’t have to be. He is the substitute. Let me say one other thing about John and then I’ll stop and see if you have any comments or questions. One of the things that strikes me the most about John the Baptist, guys, is that he recognized that he had a role to play in what God was trying to do in the world. I guess you could say he had a significant role, but he had a role and he played it. As I said earlier, he didn’t say all right, I’m going to do more, I’m going to go out and have a bigger impact, he said this is what I’m called to do, to prepare the way of God, for God. It had nothing to do with him. He recognized that at a certain point he must decrease as Jesus increases. The question that we need to ask ourselves is what is God’s role for me in the world? Does He have a role? Does He have something He wants to do through me in the world? What do you think? We know that He does. You know how we know that He does. Ephesians 2:10. “We are God’s workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Now whenever I start talking about this, people begin to wonder, what does this mean to me? Does this mean I need to quit doing what I’m doing and go out and do some great thing for God? I would refer you back – two things – to the book of Mark, we talked about this back in the fall. Remember when Jesus orders the demons out of that crazy guy that was demon possessed and they go into the swine, and the people come, and they were afraid of him, after what happened, and there was the man, sitting there in his right mind. Remember what he says to Jesus? Does anybody remember?

Unidentified audience member: Thanks.

RS: He says thanks. Then what does he say?

Unidentified audience member: I want to go with you.

RS: I’m going with you. I’m signing up. Wherever you want me to go, I am going. And what did Jesus say? No. Go back to your home. Go back to your community. Go back to your sphere of influence and tell them what great things God has done in your life. And I feel like we all have a sphere of influence of some kind, and God wants to use us, right here, right now. And the question we’ve got to ask ourselves is, “Lord, what would You have me to do?” I’ve suggested to pray that God would open up doors. But this leads us into, I think is a good segue into verses 35-51, but before we do, what are your comments or questions? Billy?

Billy: I don’t know if it does it, but Jesus sought out John, so did John spend his life wandering around, because it’s clear he knew Jesus was coming.

RS: That’s a really good question. Good point.

Billy: It says in every one of the accounts that Jesus came to him, and said I need to get baptized.

RS: He came to get baptized.

Billy: So, prior to that, who was he baptizing people to, so was John’s role all the way back to Isaiah, all the way forward, to try to wait until that person came to him?

RS: Well, in doing my preparation for this, of course, I think you probably know, but maybe not, but John and Jesus were cousins. You know, through their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, and so, they knew of each other. The question is, and a lot of scholars think that John didn’t recognize that Jesus was the Messiah. Because Jesus was a carpenter in Nazareth. And, I always get a big kick out of this. When He first announces He’s getting ready to start His ministry, it’s not in John, it’s in one of the other Gospels, He stands up, He’s in Nazareth, He’s in His hometown. He reads this prophecy of the Messiah, He shuts the book, and He sits down, and the people all look and He says, this prophecy is fulfilled today in this reading. In other words, I’m the man. They’re all looking at each other like, he’s, in fact they were probably like, isn’t that Joseph’s son? They weren’t even sure who He was. He was just so out of the limelight until now. And so, Billy, a lot of them believe that John didn’t realize it until Jesus came to get baptized and he sees the Heavens open up and the dove appeared.

Billy: His mission was not…I mean, wasn’t it that he was expecting some sort of cataclysmic event that was semi-Jew in the background, and suddenly it came to him that it was Jesus.

RS: I think you just nailed it. I think that’s correct. Anybody else? All right, in verse 35, Jesus begins his public ministry. And we start by seeing how Jesus meets the first disciple. And there is a key phrase that you see. It’s in 39, and then it’s down in 46. And what is that phrase?

Unidentified audience member: Come and see.

RS: Come and see.

Unidentified audience member: It’s in 50, also.

Unidentified audience member: You’ll see greater things than that.

RS: Notice in 39, Jesus does not demand that they believe. Instead He just says, come and see. Come and see what I say, and what I do. And then, Phillip comes to Nathaniel and says, I found the Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth. And of course, what did Nathaniel say?

Unidentified audience member: Nobody from Nazareth.

RS: Yeah. Nazareth? What good comes out of that podunk place. You see, what most people don’t realize is that you have this vast Roman Empire and all its glamour and glory, but this area called Palestine, which is the Middle East, was considered the armpit of the Roman Empire. A lot of desert. And in Palestine, there was a region called Galilee, which was just kind of desolate. And in Galilee, there was this little tiny town called Nazareth. It was just a podunk place. And, as someone pointed out to me, a lot of people thought the Messiah was going to come from Bethlehem, because that was where He was going to be born. We’re told that in the Old Testament, but, remember, out of fear of Herod for killing all the babies, they fled and moved to Nazareth, where He was a carpenter for 30 years. Think about this. This isn’t really in my notes, but this is something to think about if we talk about Nazareth. Let’s assume that God said, Okay, you’re going to have a child, and I’m going to let you kind of call the shots, and I’m going to let you create whatever kind of life you want for him, but I want him to have an influence on the world. What kind of life would you picture? First you would probably want a kid that is great looking that everybody looks at and says wow, and a magnetic personality, and you might say, well, I’d probably put him in Washington DC and he’d be President of the United States, or a U.S. Senator, or Supreme Court Justice. Or you’d stick him in New York, and he’d be some multi-billionaire businessman. Or some would say, he needs to be a great athlete, or he needs to be – or she – needs to be a great, a rock star maybe. Think about how rock stars have influence. Or actors and actresses.

Think about it guys. God could have done it with Jesus. He could have done anything He wanted. Why didn’t He send Him into a wealthy Roman household where He becomes a Caesar? What did God do? He sticks Him in this little place called Nazareth. And you know what, Jesus never traveled more than 30 miles from Nazareth. Yet, His life of humility changed the world. You see, He didn’t impact the world through power. He did it through a humble life. Now, I believe, guys, that our great responsibility as Christians is not to ram Jesus down peoples’ throats, but, I think we are called to invite them to come and see. Check this out. That’s kind of the approach that we have taken at The Center. We don’t have altar calls when we have events. We invite people to go through The Investigative Study.

Years ago, I heard Tim Keller give a sermon on these verses on John 1. And he points out that John the Baptist he leads Andrew, and this other person – we’re not told who he is – he leads them and points them to Jesus. Then Andrew, who was one of the twelve, comes and introduces his brother Peter to Jesus, and then Phillip, who was one of the twelve, introduces Nathaniel to Jesus. And from this, Keller says, what you really have here is a very important point. There are exceptions, he said, but the rule is, in general, that the way to really come and see Jesus, the way to really know Him personally, is almost always through some friend. You’re not going to find Jesus unless you’ve already been found by a friend who has already found Jesus himself. You know, he’s got this huge congregation in New York, and it’s often apparently packed and people bring their friends. There are a lot of people in the congregation who are not Christians, and Keller knows this, and he says, let me give you a warning. Nine times out of ten, you’re not really going to be able to process what you’re hearing unless you’ve got some friends that know Christ. He says, if Christianity was a philosophy by which you saved yourself, maybe the main way you would really come to Christ is through some great teacher. But, since Christianity is an encounter with a person, the main way you see in the Bible over and over again, is that you really find Christ through friends. And I believe that this is true. It was true in my life. I don’t know about you, and I would say if it was not a friend, it might be a parent. Because a parent is kind of like a friend, or they can be.

But, I want to ask you this, guys. Not trying to make you feel bad, but how many of your friends, people in your sphere of influence, that don’t know Jesus, how many of them have you invited to come and see? Because, let’s be honest, if we haven’t done that, what kind of friend are we? If this is that important, if this is that crucial, we need to invite them to come and see. You know, almost everybody that comes through The Investigative Study here, bar none, is because a friend has invited them to one of the BCC events, or they drag them in here. I’ve got two right now. One guy, really, bless his heart, has brought his 76-year-old father to meet with me. And then there is another guy I’m getting ready to meet with him, there are two of his friends they were tag-teaming to get him here, because his life is in the ditch. But its friends, the people that care about you, and so, we’re called to invite them to come and see. It’s a responsibility, I believe that we have. I want to close by going back to the first couple of verses. Before I do, anybody have a comment on this?

Unidentified audience member: What if we run out of non-Christian friends?

RS: You need to go out there and make some new ones. You need to make some new friends.

Unidentified audience member: In my sphere of friends, I was just sitting here thinking, unless they’re Jews, I don’t have any friends that really aren’t Christians.

RS: Well, maybe they’re you can find really, all different kinds of folks. Are they really walking with God? Are they just church-going people? That’s what I find so often in the South, that they go to church, then they’re okay, but that’s not the case, so, but, anyway, look around, I think you’ll find them. They’re there. You’ve just got to think hard. Next time you go to a cocktail party, look around. I bet you’ll find some.

[chatter and laughter]

RS: Those outside smoking.

[chatter and laughter]

RS: I want to close by going back. Everybody at John 1 still. The first verse. This is really powerful. Guys, what I’m here to tell you. We’ve got 10 minutes left, what I’m here to tell you is worth you coming here for. All right? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And then down in verse 14, it says, “And the Word became Flesh, and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory.” That word, “Word” is the Greek word, “Logos”, and in just its general everyday use in the Greek language, it means a statement of fact, or truth. So, in the beginning was the Truth, the Logos. But that word “Logos” was also used by the Greeks in philosophy, and it had a different meaning, a secondary meaning, it was used a lot. Does anybody remember what that word, what that definition was that was used? Anybody remember?

Unidentified audience member: Was it logic? Was it wisdom?

RS: That’s where we get the word logic.

Unidentified audience member: It was just in your blog, wasn’t it?

RS: It’s the reason for life. That’s what they used it for. They said basically, if you take anything, and if you don’t honor its logos, if you don’t honor its design, if you don’t honor its reason for existence, you’ll never be whole and complete. You don’t find out what that is. What is the reason for life? Now, I first heard this in a sermon that Keller preached in 1994, but I used it in my book, The True Measure of a Man. And it’s very powerful. I want you to listen to it. These are Keller’s words.

“The Greeks said, if when you find the reason for life, or you find the purpose for an object, that’s how it reaches its potential. And it reaches its wholeness and its potentiality. If we find out the reason why we were created and why we were designed, and we conform to that and we honor that, we will find true freedom in life. We will reach our potential. This is the problem, though, with the Greeks. The Greek philosophers went back and forth for numbers of years trying to say, this is the reason for life. No, this is the reason for life. By the time Jesus came along, the Greek philosophical schools had gone into utter despair. They couldn’t agree, and what happened is basically, people started to say, there is no reason for life. There is no logos, and that’s kind of where we are today. There is no grand purpose for life. Life is meaningless, because there is no God, who put us here, and therefore, we’re just a bunch of chemicals that became people through the law of natural selection.”

RS: Dan?

Dan: What I was going to say, was John’s target audience the Greeks primarily, since that was their sort of philosophical?

RS: I don’t know. It was written in the Greek language, probably 30 or 40 years after, and so, they initially targeted Jews. In fact, Paul would go into cities and go into synagogues, and it says, reason with people through the Scriptures. But, they went after the Gentiles, the learned people as you said, by going into Greece. I mean, Paul died in Rome, seeking to win the Romans to Christ. But Keller says, “Once they got to a point they said there is no reason for life, it began to sift down into the culture. Because, you see, when there is no reason for life, when everything is meaningless, the culture begins to fall apart, because you begin to say there is no right or wrong. Why should I care about people? They’re just a bunch of chemicals. And then along comes John, and John drops this unbelievable bombshell, because there is a logos. There is a design and there is a designer. The logos has come. He said, “I can show you what the reason for life is, but it’s not an abstract, philosophical principle. It’s a person.” That’s what C.S. Lewis said. He said, “I was searching for spiritual truth. I thought I was about to get my hands on it, and I realized that spiritual truth is not a law or a principle. It’s a person. Jesus.”

And Keller says, “The designer has punched a hole in the roof of the world, and He has descended down into it in the person of Christ. Then he says this. Listen to this, guys. “You were built, all of us, not to just follow some philosophical principle or follow some law. You were built to know and love this divine person, Jesus. And when you know Him, and you serve Him, and you love Him, when you find out what He built you for, and you comply with it, and you submit yourself to Him, that’s when you find out who you really are, and you become the person you were meant to be.” That’s why I love, when I read this, to go back in John, and make this substitute when you read it. “In the beginning was the reason for life, and the reason for life was with God, and the reason for life was God, and the reason for life became Flesh and dwelt among us.” I think Paul says it best in Colossians 2, verses 9 and 10, and really, in the New American Standard says it best, in my opinion, he says, “for in Him, Jesus, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him, you have been made complete.”

Guys, John is telling us that Jesus is the reason for life, and, in Him, we are made complete.


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