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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of John’

John 1:5  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John uses the contrast of light and darkness is several places in his gospel.  In John 3:16. he writes, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

The condemnation is already upon those who love darkness.  The reality is that those who love and practice evil don’t want light to expose them or their deeds.  They prefer to hide in darkness.  But from whom do they hide?  From the God who created them.  It has been so from the beginning.  If we go back to Genesis 3:8, we read:  “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  9 ¶ Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”  10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”    You know the rest of the story, but the point here is that those who violate God’s rules, seek to hide from God.  It is this desire to hide from God that makes darkness their friend.  They hate the light.  It reminds them of the God they have rejected.

The good news is that just like Adam and Eve, God seeks after those who live in darkness.  He would that none would perish.  It is from darkness that many of us were plucked.  As children of God, we bring His light into dark places.  The light in us will dispel the darkness around us.  That is why Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

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John 1:5  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The Amplified version gives some additional insight:  And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it.]

The darkness has never overpowered or put out the Light although the Light does shine into the darkness, and the darkness does not receive the Light.  The picture of what happens when light encounters darkness is so much a part of our daily life, that we probably don’t consider it very often.  A room is dark, and then a switch is flipped and light floods the room chasing out the darkness.  Where does the darkness go?  Away from the light.  Darkness and light cannot co-exist.  It is a physical principle as well as a spiritual one.

In the Spiritual realm, much like the physical, when Light enters a person’s life by the power of the Holy Spirit, darkness can no longer dwell in that life.

The Light will always over power the darkness.  Hallelujah!

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John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

This verse is speaking of Jesus, but light and life are possessed by all three persons of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and light and life are also possessed by those who respond to the gospel message.

Life (2 aspects)

  • Physical Life – Jesus was present at creation, with the Father.  The name of God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim”.  It is plural early proof of a triune God.
  • Spiritual and Eternal life – Jesus promises these to those who believe on Him in faith.  John 3:16 is one of the most well-known reminders of this promise.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life

Light

Here are just a few of the references to Jesus and light:

  • Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  John 8:12
  • Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  John 12:35
  • I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  John 12:46 (Jesus speaking)
  • This is the message which we have heard from [Jesus] and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5

The Bible, of course, has many references to God or the Word of God as a light for the believer:

  • [God’s]  word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1
  • For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.  Psalm 18:28
  • The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.  Isaiah 60:19
  • For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. . . 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  Ephesians 5:8
  • There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.  Revelation 22:5

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He was in the beginning with God.

  • Why does God repeat Himself here? – For emphasis, to make sure we get it.  As a mother, I am prone to repeat the things that I fear may result in injury or trouble for my child if she forgets them.  So it is with God.  He knows that we have this propensity to want to deny Him, His role in creation, Him as the point of origin for our lives, our very breath.  To help us get it, He repeats Himself.
  • What does this verse tell us about the relationship between Jesus and God? – It tells us that they are co-equals.  Jesus was not created.  He pre-existed creation as God, the Father, did.
  • What did Jesus say about this? – “O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  (John 17:5)
  • Why is this important? – Most cults include as part of their teaching that Jesus was not a co-equal with God, that He is something less than God.  This is a heresy.  Knowing what God has said in His word will allow us to answer those who lie about the deity of Christ.

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

  • When is the “beginning?” –  Was it creation?  Was it the “bang?”  Was it you in the goo?  It doesn’t matter where you place the time marker, God was there.  He was in the beginning.
  • Who is the Word? – JESUS!  We know this because of Rev. 19:11-13.  It would be entirely within the meaning of this verse to read it as follows:  “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.”   Jesus = God.    The ‘Word” or “logos” is a name given to God, to Jesus the 3rd person of the Godhead.
  • Why is this important? – As we discussed in the last post, one of the main purposes that John has in his gospel is to establish the deity of Christ.  If Jesus Christ was not God, then He has no power to save or redeem.  If, however, He was God, as He claimed with words and proclaimed through His actions, then every man and woman must choose whom they will serve, the gods/idols of this age or the one true and living God who came, suffered bearing the sin of the whole world, died, was buried in a tomb and on the third day, rose again (the tomb is still empty today).

I have set before you life and death,  blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.

—- Moses (Deut. 30:19-20)

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As we begin our study in the gospel of John, it is important to consider the context of this gospel and how it fits with the other eye-witness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus.

First, let us consider where we find the Book of John in the Bible.

The Bible is divided into to sections:  the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Each Testament is divided into further sections.  The Old Testament has five sections:  the books of the law, the books of history, the books of poetry and wisdom, the major prophets and the minor prophets.

Similarly, the New Testament can be divided into five sections:  gospels, history, Pauline epistles, general epistles and the book of Prophecy.

The book of John is found in the first of the five sections of the New Testament.  It is one of four gospels, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The author of the book is, not surprisingly, John.  What may be surprising or confusing, as I have found from teaching the ladies in the jail, is who this “John” is.  He is NOT John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was  not a major play in the ministry of Jesus.  His own words describe what happened to his ministry when Jesus showed up on the scene, “He must increase and I must decrease.”  That is exactly what happened.

John, the author of the Gospel of John, was an apostle and a disciple of Jesus.  He was very young at the time Jesus was alive, and he lived to a very old age.  He is also the author of four other books found in the New Testament:  1 John, 2 John, 3 John and the book of Revelation.

In our next post, we’ll consider how the gospel of John fits into the four-gospel picture of the life of Christ.

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THE LIE OF INDEPENDENCE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Independence from God is never equivalent to freedom.  It is in total dependence on God that we have freedom – freedom from sin, freedom from fear, freedom from worry and anxiety and most-importantly, freedom from judgment – the judgment of a holy God due sinful man.  All men are sinful.  The Bible teaches that none are righteous and that the wages of sin is death.  The only true freedom is that which comes from God.  Only He can promise a genuine and lasting freedom.

When I was sixteen, I obtained the first key to my “independence” from my parents.  I started working at the Jacksonville Pharmacy in Jacksonville, Maryland.  You might have a hard time understanding what a coup that really was.  Practically everyone in our loosely-defined town went into that Pharmacy at least once a week.  Some came in every day or evening on their way home from work.  It was a hub of activity and community news.

It was that $3.35 per hour that gave me my first real “independence” (so called).  From that point forward, I purchased my car, my gas, my insurance, my incidentals, etc.  I thought of myself as independent even though I was only 16 and still living at home.  I thought I was independent, but looking back now, I can see I really wasn’t totally free of dependence on my parents for the roof over my head, health insurance, food and other expenses of everyday life.

I can draw a parallel to my spiritual life.  During my college years, I turned from my relationship with God to assert my independence from His restrictions.  (I now see them as cords of love.)  I took on sin and tried to be its master.  I think you can guess how that ended.  It mastered me.  I sinned well and with frequency and depravity and thought little of God.  I had become “independent”, a place I would never recommend.  It was a place filled with emptiness and despair and darkness so heavy it can push all the air out of your lungs.  Independence from God was a place of slow death of my soul – a death that would have gone on for eternity, a death that would have separated me from God forever.  It is a law of nature that independence brings death.  What happens to the flower cut from the stem?  The branch cut from the tree?    Death.  Life is found and sustained only with connection to the vine.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (Jesus speaking)

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