Digging Deeper Days
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
1) Who is the Word? (verse 1)
John didn’t write about the Word so as to invoke a mystery, he wrote to make one truth abundantly clear. Jesus IS God. Not a god. Not a good man. Not a great prophet. Jesus is God; the very fullness of God dwelled in Him. (Colossians 1:19) If it is true about God, John writes, it is also true of the Word. The total equality of power, authority, will, and sovereignty is made abundantly clear right from the start of John’s gospel. A gospel record which, by the way, focuses every story on the unequivocal identity of Jesus Christ as God. Are we absolutely certain the Word is indeed Jesus Christ? Without a single hint of doubt! John says the Word carried life within Him (verse 4), a life described as the “light of the word” (verse 9), of whom, John (the Baptist) was a forerunner testifying of this coming Light. (verses 7-8) John describes the Word as coming to His own, and His own did not receive Him. (verse 12) Making his point more clear, John adds that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (verse 14) Beyond all imaginings, the Word, who is God, now put on human skin! The fullness of God wrapped in frail flesh and bone, coming as a helpless baby born to a virgin girl. Fully God, and fully man, this Word did not come in secret to a few select people, but He was widely-known and countless people testified of Him, including John who wrote this gospel a mere 60 years after Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This allowed for plenty of time for readers of his gospel to interview and cross reference with other witnesses who had walked with Jesus to verify all John testified of this Word made flesh. (verses 14-15) To remove all potential remaining doubt as to the identity of the Word, God in the flesh, John writes, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—He has revealed Him.” (verses 17-18)
2) In what way did the Word “come to His own”? (verses 10-11)
John wrote his gospel so that all would understand that Jesus is indeed God, but more so, that they would believe in His Name so they could experience adoption as children of God. (verse 12) It’s only when we put our full trust on who John describes Jesus as (fully God, fully human) and on everything Jesus taught we can become a child of God. This is the “receiving” John wrote of in verse 12. John said Jesus “was in the world, and the world was created through Him, and yet the world did not recognize Him.” (verse 10) Every tree, flower, smile, gentle breeze, human bone, and intricate eyeball screams of a loving Creator God who is infinitely wise and infinitely interested in His creation, yet the One who crafted every fingerprint, wasn’t recognized as He came and dwelt among His people. Though He clothed Himself in human skin and hair, moved in miraculous ways only God could, healed broken bodies, and fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy about Himself, they still chose unbelief. He “came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.” (verse 11) Even as far back in the Old Testament as the moment the first sin was acknowledged by humans before God, He promised One who would come to crush the head of Satan, forever ending death and suffering. (Genesis 3:15) Throughout all of history since that moment, the Lord God has crafted events and prophetic messages to point to the coming of His promised Messiah. Finally, as Jesus was born, and God was present in the flesh with His people, the Jews rejected Him. (Acts 2:22-23)
3) What does it mean that “He has revealed Him?” (verse 18)
By looking at these words alone, the pronouns become nonsensical, which is why it is always critically important to study Scripture by reading a whole passage, not just a single soundbite. We must first understand the message in its original setting before we can make any application to our lives today. (for more on this, see “Why Do We Dig Deeper?”) Verse 18 says in full, “No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side—He has revealed Him.” While there were occurrences of people seeing some of God’s glory as He allowed it (Exodus 33:18-19), Scripture teaches no one can see God and live. (Exodus 33:20) He is perfectly holy, and we are utterly sinful. There is no possible way for sin to stand in His presence. “Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3) The only way we could possibly “see” God was for Him to come to us in human form. John was careful with his words to express to us, “…The one and only Son, who is Himself God, and is at the Father’s side…” No one can tell us who God is like, except God Himself. There is only One authority able to accurately convey the fullness of Who He Is. God Himself. At the time of John’s writing, Jesus had already ascended back to Heaven and taken His place at the right hand of the Father. Note that John was again careful to make a distinction by saying Jesus was at the right hand of the Father. Both of them, along with the Holy Spirit, are fully God together. They are triune; 3 equally divine beings in 1 God. Finally, we come to the phrase, “He has revealed Him”. Now that we have slowed down for proper understanding, it is clear Jesus, fully God, came in human form, to make the unseen God seen and knowable. What incredible humility and love!
1) Who is the Word? (verse 1)
I could sit with just these few verses of Scripture for the rest of my life and never unpack their fullness; they are so rich! That being said, the very first verse, only consisting of 17 words, leaves absolutely zero wiggle room about the identity of the Word. These last 4 words of sentence one set the bedrock foundation for e v e r y t h i n g else we read in John. What four words you ask? “…the Word was God.” Ladies, this is the biggest mic drop in history, and John wanted to make sure his readers didn’t even move onto a second sentence before understanding that this “Word” not only was “with” God from the very beginning of Creation, He Is God. Everything that could be said about God, can also be said of the Word. It can be hard to identify, much less tear down, our own false beliefs we have about who Jesus is as the fullness of God. I was blessed to be raised in a home where the truth that Jesus was God was taught over and over, but even so, I held a number of false beliefs about God when I left my family of origin. It took my marriage careening towards divorce, suffering depression, and surviving my suicide plans, before I was willing to finally, level the tower of my long-held beliefs. What I thought was true, just wasn’t adding up in real life. Too many questions didn’t have answers, and I needed answers. I decided to read the Bible for myself, forcing myself to remove the thick lenses of my past, and study God’s Word for what it really said. God was faithful to teach me Who He really was, and, praise God, He has continued to show me over and over who He is, and always will be!
2) In what ways did the Word “come to His own”? (verses 10-11)
This is the single greatest tragedy known to mankind. That we would choose to reject the very Author of Life, deciding instead to clench our fists around ourselves, our own arbitrary measure of “good enough”, or our own twisted perception of who God is and what He is like, this tragedy will result in our eternal separation from Him. We will be utterly lost in unending darkness, forever suffering without the good, kind, forgiving God, who is Himself Light and Love. (Matthew 7:21-23) Amid swirling conversations and social debates on who this Jesus really was because He spoke and acted like He had the power of God, but looked like an ordinary man, Jesus asked this question to His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”. (Matthew 16:15) Peter rightly answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Who do you say Jesus is? Is He the Messiah, the Christ, the promised One from the beginning of time? Is He exactly who John, and rest of Scripture, declare Him to be as God Himself? Jesus followed up Peter’s response with this affirmation, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) If you aren’t convinced Jesus is precisely who He claimed, ask the Father to reveal it to your heart. Be certain you know Who you are believing in!
3) What does it mean that “He has revealed Him?” (verse 18)
It would be easy for us, sitting at the tail end of 2020, to say with a bit of a scoff, “It was easy to see God when Jesus was doing miracles right in front of them.” While true, we don’t have the benefit of walking beside Jesus, watching Him sweat under a hot Judean sun, or laugh out loud when the disciples poked fun at each other. Neither can we stand beside Him in awe as He brought life from a previously dead person or straightened a once-crooked leg. Though it may not seem like it, because our culture has a love affair with instant gratification and visual experiences, Jesus said it was better for Him to leave earth. (John 16:7) “If I go, I will send Him to you.” Once Jesus left, the Holy Spirit could come, indwelling every person who fully places their trust in Jesus, the Christ, the only Holy God. Jesus couldn’t be everywhere with every person at the same time in the limits of His physical body, but through the Holy Spirit, (who is also fully God!), every believer has direct access to God at all times. He isn’t a finnicky God, deciding to leave us when we misbehave, He stays inside to forever mark us as His. (Ephesians 1:13-14) Christ Jesus died for us, the ungodly, so His righteousness could be imputed (or directly replacing our old, sinful identity) on us. (Romans 5:6-11) As the Spirit lives within hearts that believe in Jesus as the One True God, He continues revealing more about God to us through His Word. Only God can reveal God.
Digging Deeper is for Everyone!
1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!
Why Dig Deeper?
Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.
In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!
Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.
We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
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