John on the Witness Stand

There is nothing more important that you can do today or any day in 2020 than to listen to and believe in the testimony of John the Baptizer. Listen to his words and see, know the One to whom he points in John 1:14–34.

Pay attention to the voice. John testifies. John the disciple, the author of the Gospel, introduced another John, John the Baptizer, back in verse 6. He was sent by God, he came for witness. His purpose was to give testimony. That is what he does, see verses 15, 19, 32. Significantly he testifies, verse 15 – present tense, as some translations reflect. John the Baptizer had been executed during the public ministry of Jesus, long before John the disciple wrote his Gospel. The testimony of John continues. It is relevant. The text repeatedly identifies John’s speaking as testimony. It is objectively true. Our post-modern world tells you it’s all about you. If you find peace in Jesus, fine, just don’t try to insist that anything is objectively true or universally valid. You have your way, I have mine. Yet even today, our court system refuses to bend to that kind of subjectivity. John is giving true testimony. He is a faithful witness. He is testifying not about earthly things, but matters with eternal consequences.

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e Children of Christmas

Children and Christmas celebration seem to go together. In John 1:10–13 the Apostle makes the point that the Word coming into the world gives to those who believe in him the right to be children of God.

Understand the world’s rejection of Jesus. The world rejected its Creator! In v.5 John hinted at the conflict between light and darkness. Now the world’s rejection of Christ becomes explicit. “World” occurs three times in v.10, first in its clause each time, and with a progression from a neutral reference to the creation to identifying the body of sinful rebellion against God. Although he was in the world, the world which he had made, it did not know him. The world refused to recognize him for who he is. It refused to render him the honor and worship he deserves. Matthew details the murderous intent of Herod. The people, by and large, simply ignored the greatest event to that point in the history of the world! Men still ignore it. Yes, I am disturbed by efforts to root out of public life any mention of Christ at Christmas time. But the self-centered complacency of our culture is an even more serious rejection of the eternal Word.

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The Light of Christmas

Lights are prominent in Christmas decorations. John 1:6–9 shows that light is a vital concept to John’s Prologue. John ties in with that emphasis a stress on testimony.

See the light! Understand the contrast between John and the Word. Which John are we talking about? John the disciple? John the Baptizer? The way John introduces John draws you to reflect on what he, the author, and John the Baptizer, have in common: they are witnesses to Christ. Note the contrasts between John and the Word. The Gospel may be correcting an unduly high view of John’s ministry (cf. Acts 18:25; 19:3). The Word was God. John was sent from God. The Word was light. John was a witness to that light. Recognize your own role. You are not central–God is. Yet God has chosen to bring his Word to this sinful world through you, his church. John was in a unique position to witness (regarding what was about to come and was actually happening). You bear witness to what has happened.

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In the Beginning

“Where should I begin?” you ask as you begin to tell a true story. Obviously, “At the beginning!” The beginning is where the beloved disciple of Jesus starts when he writes his account of the life of Jesus, the Gospel of John, as you see in John 1:1–5.

Start at the beginning–with the Word. John uses the term “Word” to refer to Jesus. It is not until v.14 that the identification is made. The Word is the eternal Son of God. Logos was used in Greek culture to refer not only to the spoken word, but also to unspoken word, thought, or (in philosophy) a basic underlying principle. Although John uses a term recognized in Greek circles, his primary influence is not Greek philosophy. For readers and hearers with a background in the Old Testament, the opening verse recalls Genesis 1 and the activity of God’s word in creation. God’s speech is active, Psalm 33:6, and effective, Isaiah 55:11. The term is also related to the concept of wisdom, cf. Proverbs 8.

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