John 1:1-18 • March 26, 2023 • s1342
Pastor John Miller continues our series Great Doctrines Of The Bible with an expository message through John 1:1-18 titled, “The Doctrine Of God The Son.”
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' " 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
In John 1:1-18, John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him…”—that’s a reference to Jesus, who is the Word—“…and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him…”—that is, “in Christ”—“…was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” or “take it in.”
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” This is a reference to John the Baptist, who was the forerunner to Jesus, the Messiah. “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”—this is describing Christ’s Incarnation or birth—“…and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John…”—that is, “John the Baptist”—“…bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.”’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Christianity is Jesus Christ. Without Christ, there is no Christianity. Christ is the center and the circumference of historic Christianity. You can take Buddha out of Buddhism and Buddhism still stands. You can take Confucius out of Confucianism, and Confucianism still stands. You can take Muhammed out of Islam, and it still stands. But you can’t take Christ out of Christianity, or it won’t stand. Christianity is Jesus Christ.
Now we move in our doctrines from the doctrine of God the Father to the doctrine of God the Son. We believe that there are three Persons in the Godhead: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We believe there is one God but three Persons in the Godhead, the triune God.
Charles Wesley said, “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing of my Redeemer’s praise, the glory of my God and King, in the triumphs of His grace.” John Wahlberg said, “The richest of divine revelation embodied in Jesus Christ are as measureless as the ocean, and His perfections are as numberless as the stars that are in the sky.”
So Jesus Christ is infinite. There is no way that one can exhaust, in one sermon, the doctrine of Christ. From Genesis to Revelation, Jesus is the main theme that runs through the entire Bible. But the focus today is on the Person of Jesus Christ. I want to talk about His essence and His nature. Who is Jesus Christ? You will be able to give a clear and concise answer after this lesson of who Jesus Christ is.
There are three areas in which the Bible declares the doctrine of Jesus Christ, in verse 1. Number one, He is preexistent and eternal, or what we call preexistence and eternality. That means that before He was born, He existed, and He existed from all eternity, because He is God. “In the beginning was the Word.” It means a continual action of past tense. So you could say, “In the beginning the Word was continually existing.”
First, these two truths support the deity of Christ. If Jesus is God, He existed before He was born in Bethlehem. If Jesus is God, He is eternal. That’s an intrinsic nature of God. God is eternal; God has always been and always will be. So when we say we believe in the deity of Christ, we believe He is God, thus He always has been, and He always will be. In Revelation 1:8, it says that He is “‘the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord.” The Bible teaches that Jesus is God in human form.
Second, these two truths of preexistence and eternality support the doctrine of the Trinity. If there is God the Son, who preexisted His birth, then there also is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. All three are eternal.
And third, these two truths support the names and titles of God. Isaiah 9:6 says that He is “Mighty God, Everlasting Father.” The title “Everlasting Father” literally is “Father of Eternity.” So it says that He is God and that He is the Father. On Christmas cards we see the words “Mighty God, Everlasting Father.” That is also a reference to Jesus Christ.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Three things are said in this verse. Number one, “In the beginning was the Word” means that Jesus Christ is eternal.
You ask, “Well, how do you know this is talking about Jesus?” Because verse 14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So if you read all of chapter 1 of John’s Gospel, it clearly talks about Christ.
“Word” in the Greek is the word “logos,” which means “spoken word.” What we do with our words is convey our thoughts that are hidden and unknown. Have you ever been with someone who isn’t very talkative? You wonder what they’re thinking, because they’re not talking. We want them to talk so we can know their thoughts and feelings. God “speaks” in order to communicate Himself to us through Christ, the Word. Jesus is the Living Word. The Bible is the written Word. There are a lot of parallels between the Bible and Jesus Christ. So the word “logos” is a reference to Jesus.
Number two, “the Word was with God.” The word “with” is in the imperfect tense in the Greek. It means face to face. If you’re off in the hills by yourself, you’re not “with” anyone. If you say, “I’m with someone,” there are at least two people together. Jesus was “with God,” so that means He was face to face with God the Father.
Number three, in verse 1, we have “the Word was God.” “The Word” is a reference to Jesus. “The Word was God” was even stronger in the Greek; it would say, “God was the Word.” This was a direct statement saying that Jesus Christ is God.
So Jesus Christ is eternal, He is personal and He is divine. To deny the deity of Jesus Christ is to deny the clear teaching of the Scriptures, especially here in John 1. Verses 2-3 say, “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him.” So He is definitely preexistent before Bethlehem and eternally existed as God the Son, face to face with God the Father.
There are other Scriptures that tell us of Jesus Christ’s preexistence. In John 6:38, Jesus said, “I have come down from heaven.” And since Jesus came down from heaven, that means He existed before Bethlehem. When we think of our own birth, we think that this is when we began. But Jesus goes all the way back to eternity past, because He is divine.
In John 17:5, Jesus was praying in the upper room. He said, “O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” So, again, Jesus preexisted Bethlehem.
Then in John 8:58, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus was talking about being greater than Abraham, and the Jewish authorities had asked Him, “Who do You make Yourself out to be?” Jesus used the phrase “Ego Eimi” for “I AM.”
That is the same phrase God used to describe Himself from the burning bush to Moses. When Moses asked, “When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” That’s the name of Yahweh, the eternal God, the Covenant-keeping God.
Every time Jesus used the phrase “I AM,” as in, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” “I am the door,” “I am the bread of life,” “I am living water,” “I am the resurrection and the life,” He was claiming to be Yahweh or Jehovah God.
Hebrews 1:8 is a quote from Psalm 45:6 about Jesus. It is God the Father saying this of God the Son: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” So you have a statement of God the Father saying to God the Son that He is God. God the Father called God the Son “God.” Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God.
Matthew 21:5 is a quote from Zechariah 9:4, which says, “Behold, your King.” In Mark’s Gospel, he is quoting Malachi 3:1, saying, “Behold, I send my messenger,” or “servant.” In Luke’s Gospel, his main thrust is, “Behold, the Man.” And in John’s Gospel, we have “Behold, your God.”
There are a lot of cult groups today and a lot of so-called “liberal evangelicals” or “professing Christians” that deny the deity of Christ. They do that by neglecting the clear teaching of the Bible. That’s why we studied the authority of the Scriptures; the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is our foundation for all we believe and how we behave.
Not only is Jesus preexistent and eternal, and thus divine, but number two, the Bible teaches us that Jesus is incarnate and true humanity. We see His Incarnation and true humanity.
What does this mean? The word “incarnate” means “flesh” or “becoming flesh.” His true humanity means that Jesus actually became a human being. He became a real person and His humanity was genuine and authentic.
In John 1:14 we have “the Word.” “The Word…”—who is eternal, personal and divine—“…became flesh…”—this is the Incarnation of God the Son—“…and dwelt among us.” The phrase “dwelt among us” means that He pitched His tent among us or He lived among us. “And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten…”—or “unique Son”—“…of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
It’s interesting that in verse 1 of John 1 we see Jesus’ deity—He is God; in verse 14, we see His humanity—He is man; and in verse 18, we see why He came—to reveal God the Father to us.
Now how is it that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”? It’s called “the virgin birth.” The virgin birth means that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. It’s not the immaculate conception of Mary, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches; rather Mary was born like any other human being with a sinful nature. But she was blessed and chosen by God. Rather the virgin birth means that Jesus Christ was born without the agency of a man. Mary conceived in her womb, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and thus Jesus has a divine nature—still remaining God—and has a human nature—taking on humanity.
This is an important doctrine of Christianity. You cannot remove the doctrine of the virgin birth from the doctrine of Christ or from Christianity and still have Christianity intact. If you pull out any one of these things about Jesus Christ we’ve studied, then Christianity collapses. So it is heretical to deny the virgin birth of Christ.
Strictly speaking, the virgin birth should be called “the virgin conception,” because Jesus’ birth was natural; it wasn’t supernatural. But the conception in the womb of Mary was supernatural, yet Jesus’ growth and development in the womb and His birth were natural.
Think of that! “God contracted to a span, and incomprehensibly made man.” The greatest miracle you could ever imagine is the virgin birth and the Incarnation of God. That’s why Christmas is so exciting, when we celebrate His birth! To think that God would leave heaven, His eternal abode, and come to earth to be born of a humble virgin in a stable. He would take on full and real humanity. His humanity was wed together with His deity for all eternity. That’s just the miracle of all miracles!
So if all this were not true—that Jesus preexisted, thus He’s not God, and that Jesus was a sinful human being—then Jesus could not have saved us. If Jesus wasn’t the sinless Son of God, then His death on the Cross could not atone for the sins of the world. Thus, if you pull any of these doctrines out of Christianity, it collapses. Many people don’t realize that you can’t have a sinful Christ dying for the sins of the world.
But praise be to God that Jesus was born of a virgin! No one before and no one after Him was ever virgin-born. But He was virgin-born and that is history; an actual event took place in time and space. God sent Gabriel to a virgin named Mary who was living in Galilee. She was probably in her early teens; some say between 13-15 years old. What a miracle this was that God would choose her. She was highly blessed that God would enter into this world through the womb of the Virgin Mary.
There are some verses that back this up. In Isaiah 7:14, the prophet said, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” This is the quote that Matthew used in his Gospel. In Matthew 1:18, it says that “Before they…”—that is, “Mary and Joseph”—“…came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” In Matthew 1:25, it says that Joseph “did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” So Mary and Joseph had no intimacy until after they were married and after Jesus Christ was born. Then they had other children. So Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born.
In Luke 1:35, Gabriel spoke to Mary saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
A lot of people don’t believe this. That’s why this series started with the doctrine of Scripture in Genesis 1:1 where we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If you can believe Genesis 1:1, you can believe the whole rest of the Bible. If there really is a God and He is omnipotent and He can do all things, certainly He can bring conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary and the Son of God can enter into our world at that time and place.
There are three important implications of the virgin birth. Number one, the virgin birth shows that salvation ultimately must come from the Lord. Salvation doesn’t come by keeping a bunch of laws, it’s not by religion, it’s not by self-helps; you can’t pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Salvation must come from the Lord. God must come to us in order to rescue us. Christianity is God’s rescue mission; to rescue us from our sins and save us. When Jesus was born, the Bible says, “There is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Jesus came to save us. So Jesus had to be born of a virgin to have a sinless nature. And He had to have a human nature and a divine nature in order to redeem us back to God.
Number two, the virgin birth made possible the uniting of full deity with full humanity in one person. What we have in Jesus Christ is full, undiminished deity with full, undiminished humanity. Jesus wasn’t two people; He was one person with two natures. It’s what’s called “the hypostatic union” or two natures in the one person, Jesus Christ.
Number three, the virgin birth made possible Christ’s true humanity without sin. God had to send His Son to us. How was He going to do it? He did it through a virgin, so Jesus has no sinful nature, but He has true, authentic humanity. So Jesus was truly human, yet without sin.
Let me break down Jesus’ humanity for you. Number one, Jesus had a real, human body. 1 John 1:1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life….” So John 1:1, John 1:14 and now 1 John 1:1 declare that Jesus was seen, heard and was touched or was manifested to them.
Number two, Jesus exhibited the characteristics of a human body. There are some heretics, false teachers who taught that Jesus didn’t have a real body. He would have been like Casper the friendly ghost or something. The gnostics and heretics said that if you touched Jesus, your hand would go right through Him. They said that when Jesus walked on the beach, you couldn’t see His footprints. But it is just as heretical to deny His full, sinless, undiminished humanity as it is to deny Jesus’ full deity. He is fully God and fully man in one person. It is a heresy of the gnostics to deny His physical body.
The Bible tells us of several characteristics that Jesus exhibited. First, Jesus was hungry, because He had a real body. Matthew 4:2 says, “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He went forty days without eating.
I’ve never gone that long without eating. I can’t go four hours without eating. If you’ve ever gone hungry, Jesus understands.
Second, Jesus was thirsty. In John 4, Jesus was at Sychar at Jacob’s well and asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. In John 19:28, when Jesus hung on the Cross, He cried, “I thirst!”
Third, Jesus was also weary, John 4:6. “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.”
Fourth, Jesus also had compassion, Matthew 9:36. “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them.”
Fifth, Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus. That’s a human emotion. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept,” because He loved Lazarus. This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it says so much. It means that He was a real human being with real human emotions. And the word “wept” here doesn’t mean that He sobbed convulsively. It is a word than means that His eyes moistened, and a tear ran down His cheek. Someone said, “In every pain that rends the heart, the Man of Sorrows has a part.”
I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve stood at open graves, the casket was lowered into the ground and family members wept and cried. Every one of those tears Jesus identifies with. He understands, because He was a man and wept at the grave of Lazarus.
Sixth, Jesus slept, which I think is awesome. It’s Biblical. “It’s time to go home and take a nap.”
“Yes; Jesus did. I’m a Christ-follower.”
In Matthew 8:24, it says, “Suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.” The disciples were in the middle of a storm, Jesus was asleep so they woke Him up. They said, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Then Jesus stood up and rebuked the storm, “and there was a great calm.” Jesus had been sound asleep, because He was a man. He was sinless but human in every aspect.
I don’t fall asleep easily. My wife does. I can’t sleep in a car, on a boat or in an airplane.
And seventh, Jesus physically, actually, literally died. At the top of the list of why Jesus became a man was that He came to die for us. Jesus was born to die. He had a body so He could die, and He died at an early age. He voluntarily died on the Cross for you and for me.
It breaks my heart to think that God the Son would leave heaven, come to earth and be hungry, thirsty, tired, weary, weep and then go to the Cross to suffer and die for me. What marvelous love in Jesus Christ! John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 Peter 2:24 says, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” What a marvelous truth is found in Jesus Christ.
So we see the doctrine taught in the Bible of His preexistence and eternal nature, and we see that He took on real humanity in His virgin birth and Incarnation and number three, the Bible teaches His undiminished deity. His humanity did not take away from His deity. He wasn’t less God because He was man.
You’re either God or you’re not God. There are a lot of people who think they’re becoming God, but there was only one God who became a man—Jesus Christ. So Jesus had undiminished deity with undiminished humanity; fully God and fully man. This is called “the hypostatic union,” meaning two natures in one person.
Anything less than this is not orthodox Christianity. All the false religious systems of the world deny one or the other. Jesus is fully man and fully God. Jesus Christ is unique.
Let me give you some clear teaching in the Bible on the deity of Christ. Number one, He is called “God” in the Bible. John 1:1 says, “And the Word was God.” John 1:18 says, “The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father….” In Isaiah 9:6, it says, “Mighty God.” In Titus 2:13, He is called “Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Then a classic verse is in Hebrews 1:8. It says, “But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.’” Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe that Jesus is God. If they come to your door, show them Hebrews 1:8. God the Father calls God the Son “God.” They have no answer for that.
In John 20:28, when Thomas heard that Jesus was resurrected after His burial, Thomas said that he wouldn’t believe it “unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side.” Thomas was from Missouri, the show- me state. Later Jesus appeared to Thomas and said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Then Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” He said, “My Kurios and my Jehovah.”
I’ve talked to Jehovah’s Witnesses before and showed them this verse, and they said, “Well, Thomas was so shocked to see Jesus that he said, ‘Oh, my God!’” Thomas just freaked out. No, I don’t think so. If that were true, Jesus would have rebuked Thomas for taking the name of the Lord God in vain.
Another indication of Jesus’ deity was, number two, that people worshipped Him, and He let them. Whenever anyone tried to worship Paul the apostle, he said, “No; I’m just a man like you.” When John the apostle, while on the Isle of Patmos, fell at the feet of an angel, a messenger of God, the messenger said, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant….Worship God,” Revelation 22:9. So Jesus allowed others to worship Him.
Number three, Jesus has divine attributes. He is eternal, John 1:1. He is omnipresent, Matthew 28:20: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He is omniscient, John 2:25: “He knew what was in man.” He is omnipotent, Matthew 28:18: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus has all power. And He is immutable, Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” So Jesus is God. Amazing Grace says,
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.”
What an awesome God we serve. Jesus is God in the flesh. How marvelous that is. He receives worship.
Philippians 2 is one of the great, Christological passages in the Bible. John 1, Philippians 2, Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1 are all great chapters on the deity and the personhood of Christ.
In Philippians 2:5-11, Paul summarizes. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form…”—or “essence” or morphé—“…of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” This verse clearly states that Jesus Christ is God. Equality with God was not something He would grasp onto, because it was His already. “But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form…”—or “essence”—“…of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man…”—Jesus is a man because of His humanity, His Incarnation—“…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” So Jesus is God, verse 6; a man, verse 7; and we see His Crucifixion, verse 8. God became a man to be crucified on the Cross.
And what happened? Verse 9, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” That’s His Resurrection and Exaltation.
Verse 10 is His veneration or worship: “That at the name of Jesus…”—whose name means “God is our salvation”—“…every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth…”—and here’s our confession in verse 11—“…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
If you don’t have Jesus, you don’t have God. If you reject Jesus, you’re rejecting God. You either bow your knee now and receive salvation, or you bow your knee then. Someday every knee will “bow,” and every tongue will “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” “Lord” is the Greek word “Kurios,” which is equivalent to “Yahweh” in the Old Testament.
Jesus said, “I am…”—there’s that statement—“…the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Oprah doesn’t like that verse. I heard her say, “Jesus couldn’t be the only way to God.” Sorry, Oprah; He is. There is only way, because there is only one God-man, Christ Jesus. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5. “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
Have you bowed your knee? Have you confessed Him as Lord? Have you surrendered your life? If not, one day you will, and it will be your damnation, not your salvation. Bow your knee now, trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior and He’ll save you from your sins.
Pastor John Miller continues our series Great Doctrines Of The Bible with an expository message through John 1:1-18 titled, “The Doctrine Of God The Son.”