John began his Gospel quite differently from the rest of the Gospel writers. The rest started with the historical accounts of the events that took place.
Matthew and Luke talked about circumstances leading to Jesus’ birth. Mark started off with Jesus entering into ministry, writing about a prophet John the Baptist who was preaching a message of repentance, preparing the people’s heart for the arrival of Jesus.
JOHN talked about John the Baptist too, and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. But before he launched into this, he took first 14 verses to lay down clearly the theme of his book - Gospel message - that really centres around God’s love for us and the gospel message.
John spent the first 14 verses of his book to paint us the entire picture of God’s salvation plan for mankind. As we look at these verses, John reminds us of a couple of things relating to God’s gift of love to us.
1. GOD’S DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE WITH US
John 1: 1-5
God and His Word - Jesus - they are eternal. They’ve been there from the beginning. John takes us further back than the book of Genesis and gives us a snapshot of God before He created anything. The first picture we see of Jesus Christ is this - He is God. Eternal and infinite, uncreated. He is the Creator, for "God created everything through Him”. All things were created through the Word.
In Him was life - in other words, all living things - including you and me - exist today because of Him. He sustains life in this universe, therefore without Him nothing exists. And then as we read on, John shows us what kind of creator God is.
vs.5 "the light shines in the darkness...."
vs.9 "the true light... was coming into the world." And then...
vs.10 "He was in the world..."
vs.11 "He came to that which was His own..."
vs.14 "The Word became flesh..."
The Creator came into His creation - the world He made. The Creator became flesh and made His dwelling among His creatures. This is incredibly significant. Martin Luther: "The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that he sunk himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding."
Jesus who owns the universe, came into this world, and had to find a place to be born. Jesus who is Almighty, came into this world, and needed to be carried by human hands. Jesus who has everything in His control, came into this world and was despised by man.
Why? Why did God do such a thing? John uses these words: "He came to His own people..." (v.11); He wants us to be "children of God" (v.12). God desires a relationship with us. This desire, or love to have fellowship with us is so great that He is willing to do whatever He can to make this possible, even if it means the sacrifice of Jesus.
Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish theologian told this story:
A prince who wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father he passed through a poor section. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love. But he had a problem. How would he seek her hand?
He could order her to marry him. But even a prince wants his bride to marry him freely and voluntarily and not through coercion. He could put on his most splendid uniform and drive up to her front door in a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this he would never be certain that the maiden loved him or was simply overwhelmed with all of the splendor.
The prince came up with another solution. He would give up his kingly robe. He moved, into the village, entering not with a crown but in the garb of a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language. In time the maiden grew to love him for who he was and because he had first loved her.
This very simple, almost childlike story, is based upon what John is describing here - God came and lived among us. He has to reveal Himself to us in an understandable way, and this is precisely what Jesus did - became flesh just like you and me. He made Himself understandable.
Phil 2:6-9 says "Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names”
Aren’t you glad that God did it this way? I am because it shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God desires to reach down to me God is beyond my reach, but I’m not beyond His reach. He lowered Himself so that I can reach Him. Jesus’ birth brought the infinite God within reach of finite man.
And I come to understand His heart to me - He loves me and longs to communicate His love to me. During tragic situations like 9/11 or the tsunami, family members are always frantically trying to reach their loved ones. God loves us and wants relationship with us. He wants to bless us and save us!
God desires to communicate with you today. We are made to have fellowship with God and He loves that! He wants you to spend time with Him, to listen to His Word and share our life events with Him. God treasures your time with Him. Whether in devotion or prayer, spend time with Him. He delights in that!
When people ask what God is like, we as followers of Jesus can point to the person of Jesus Christ. God himself is beyond our understanding, but in Jesus Christ we get a picture of Him that we can understand. In Jesus Christ we see God’s great love... that God, who created the stars and the universe, is willing to go all of the way, even to a cross, so that a single person may be redeemed. That is what God is like. We came to know because of Jesus Christ.
2. GOD MEETS US WHERE WE ARE - at the point of our need.
We were lost - in darkness, we needed light and God gave us the Light. We needed life - for we are condemned to die in our sin - and "in Him was life" (v.4). Jesus was God’s way of meeting us where we were to take us where we could never go.
What does mankind really need? It has been said that "if our greatest need was money, God may have sent us a banker. If our greatest need was knowledge, God may have sent us a teacher. If our greatest need was wisdom, God may have sent us a philosopher. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness - forgiveness of our sin against God..., so God sent us a Redeemer who would pay His way to buy us back!"
Matt 1: 21 The angel tells Joseph “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,for he will save his people from their sins.” And so Jesus put on human skin and everything that comes with it. The Son of God sacrificed Himself so that we can become sons and daughters of God.
READ John 1:12-13
Since God met us at our point of our need back then, to save us from our sin and death... then today, we can be sure that He does the same. He has not changed. He will meet you at the point of your need today. If He made such a great sacrifice to save your soul, is there any greater need than that that He cannot meet, or is not willing to do?
Rom 8:32 "Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?"
This is the love that God shows to us. Only God Himself can thoroughly express who He is to us. Only God could make Himself fully known. If our Creator choose to conceal Himself, we will never know Him. But He came... in the person of Jesus Christ. And we saw His heart...
(1) He longs to have fellowship with us - spend time with Him everyday
(2) He meets us where we are, at the point of our need - lay down your burdens at the cross.