John is a unique telling of the Gospel. The other three (Matthew, Mark, Luke) are considered synoptic. The word synoptic means “To See Together.” These similarities have led many to try to story-tell the first three gospels together.
John is different. John contains no narrative parables, no eschatological discourses as we have in Matthew 24. John contains no nativity, no transfiguration, no temptation, and no agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Ninety percent of the Gospel of John is new material. John felt differently. He felt differently about Jesus’ divinity. He felt differently about Jesus’ important signpoints of life. And here we are leading into the highest Christology Jesus had written about Him.
On the negative side of things, no liberal theologian accepts Jesus as according to John. Yet, it’s in the canon to stay. While one may pull out of John to argue about Jesus’ life, little was left out after the Jesus Seminar, an attempt to find the “true” parts of the Bible. Oh, even the liberal theologians believe this: John felt differently. That will be the title to this sermon today and what I want to push. John felt differently.
John Chapter 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
The book begins with the Greek word, Arche… Beginning, Source, head. All these words lead to a powerful vision of Christ, but the Beginning here leads us to the start of the Bible, itself. In the Beginning God created (Genesis 1:1). Jesus may have been born in a manger, but the Christ was no created and was already in existence before the Universe.
The Word mentioned is literally Logos in Greek. Logos was familiar to Greek Philosophers as the principle of reason and order in the Universe. I like the Logos word, but we’re separated by 2000 years and I will not see anyone confused. I like Logos as a word, but I like Ravi Zecharias’ rough translation in The Definition.
“In the beginning was the Definition and the Definition was with God.”
Moving forward, the Word was God.
The Logos is God. He is the only principle of reason and order. They say only believers live in foxholes and under parachute canopies. There is a strange order when we’re led to the bring of our ability to control. As a former combat infantryman, I had bullets whiz by but felt calm. That was God. Fear moved out of the way for the Definition, Logos, Word. However the Word’s being God is a both/and. Not a either/or. The fourth century heretic Arius taught Christ was a created being. The Jehovah’s Witnesses still teach it today. It’s simply wrong to teach anything but that principle of reason and order for what it is; God uncreated and undefiled.
1:2 He was with God in the beginning.
One of the best sources of the Triune God has been inserted in 1 John 5:7, likely by a scribe. The KJV, which I grew up with, teaches that three spirits testify, and these three make up the Trinity.
Without 1 John 5:7, or with questionable parts of it, we are left with John 1:2 as the leading text for Jesus’ being God. The Holy Spirit is also God, but texts elsewhere describe it’s being God, and that’s a different sermon.
John 1:2 tells us Jesus was God, and with God. I have to ask here: Does that make sense to anyone? I believe in the Trinity but I question how it works all the time. How can you be with someone and be the principal at the same time? Don’t try to answer it. Just read it and it’ll turn into truth whether you like it or not.
1:3 Through Him all things were made.
God the Father was always there. The Christ was there before He was Jesus or Adam was dust. The Father gave the Word agency in creation. Christ created, God gave authority. And here we stand, the Universe was definitely created. I tell you it was made by the same Christ with the responsibility passed to someone who would become Jesus and will remain as Christ.
Psalms 33:6 (NIV 2011): By the word of the Lord the heavens were made. their starry host by the breath of His mouth.
The only connection I want seen here is the Word made the heavens. The Word of the Lord is Christ Himself. God made the world by a word. And the Christ was the Word.
John 1:3b Without Him nothing was made that had been made.
God the Father was part of the Triune God may have made the world, but He did nothing without the Christ. Nothing was made without Him. When Paul, on Mars Hill, pointed out that Unknown God was Christ, He pointed at the Unknowability of Chrirst.
However, even though we will never plumb the depths and understand all of Christ… Christ is More. John knew that, John felt differently.
That God, that Christ, even though uncreated wants a relationship with you. Whether you see God as Baby Jesus, Jesus on the Cross, Jesus with the Children… it doesn’t matter. he wants a relationship with you.
How are you coming closer to His loving, kind, divine way? You’ll never do enough. We are as Calvin would say, Depraved. Works have their place, but don’t try to work your way to God. However, loving your way to God will never come short. Love God, Love your peers, Love your children. Just Love.