Father, may Your Holy Spirit be so present in our lives that we immediately recognize the Lord Jesus, and like John and His disciples, we leave our agendas and plans to follow You faithfully as beloved children. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read John 1-2
THE WORD BECAME FLESH
John 1:1–28 In the same way that God created the world by speaking words, Jesus is the embodied Word of God. He clearly reflects God in both His character and His purposes. What’s more, the text makes it clear that Jesus actually participated in creation. As the divine Word, He entered the world as a Galilean Jew to introduce and represent the new creation, and also to make possible a second birth. All this is confirmed when the prophet John the Baptist says Jesus not only revealed and represented God, but is actually His Son, One fully pleasing to the Father.
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Here’s something important we need to notice: though God’s Word existed even before creation, the eternal Word entered space and time in the person of Jesus the Christ.
John 1:29–2:12 The prophet John was anticipating Jesus and recognized Him based on the signs God had given in Old Testament prophets like Isaiah. In fact, John himself was the last of these Old Testament prophets. He encouraged his own disciples to follow Jesus, as He fulfilled God’s Old Testament promises. The next two disciples—Phillip and Nathanael—immediately believed Jesus was God’s Son because they saw how Jesus fulfilled the prophets’ predictions, in addition to His supernatural knowledge.
John calls Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Why does he do this? Because John knows Jesus will be God’s chosen and perfect sacrifice, the one to which the Old Testament sacrificial system pointed.
This is why some of John’s disciples immediately attach to Jesus as the Messiah; they recognize him from the prophets and the Scriptures.
John 2:13–25 Jesus’ first miracle—which sought to honor His mother, who was an extraordinary person, but not sinless or in any way divine—reveals Jesus as the final sacrifice, the final priest, and the final messenger from God (2:10). When He arrived at Jerusalem for the Passover, he showed His prophetic and divine authority by resisting those who had turned religion into a business, in the temple of all places! As some began to follow Him because of His miracles, Jesus is clear that it is possible to believe for wrong reasons (2:24–25).
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
- As soon as John identified Jesus, John’s disciples recognized Him as the Messiah. John’s followers left him in order to follow the Savior promised by God through the Old Testament. Do we follow Jesus with similar abandon?
- To better understand the theme and concept of a “Messiah,” read Isaiah 53, Jeremiah 23:5, and Psalm 22. Then develop a brief description of what was prophesied about Jesus before He appeared.
Choose one of the following:
- With a fellow disciple, identify ways your religious culture might have added boundaries around following Jesus. Remember, anything more than 1) believing Jesus is who He claimed to be (faith), and 2) adjusting your life to walk with Him (repentance) is too much.
- Take stock of your language for the next day or two. If your language is violent, critical, complaining, self-centered, or judgmental rather than reconciliatory, encouraging, affirming, or humble, then you should ask the Lord to help you change.