Weighing the Word: John One

I am so excited about our inaugural Weighing the Word post. Let’s dig right on in… Shall We?
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First, I must make a confession. I did not read the Chapter for seven days. I only read it six days. I did not get the reading in from the New Century Version as I had planned – I got a little tied up in the Amplified actually. Sunday was also a really busy day for us – church early and another event late. No excuses… I just didn’t get it done on Sunday.
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From the very beginning of this week one thing stood out to me about John’s Gospel. He is writing from an “attorney’s argument” position. He begins with an opening statement establishing the foundation upon which he will build his case. Then he proceeds to provide evidence and “witnesses” to affirm his position. I love that the youngest of the group, and a varitable “rough-neck” from the fishing class would write an eloquent and detailed argument for Christ. It is just a beautiful display of how God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. And the glory of the testimony is that John’s obedience brought forth the fruit of such a beautiful legacy that has been used to build the new-found faith of Christians throughout the centuries. Okay, I am rambling. But this is really a big deal for me… Especially since I wanted to be a lawyer as a young woman.
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This week as I focused on the inspired words of John Chapter One I met with several individuals and one particular group of inquirers.
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.The Word made flesh.
Jesus. My observations about Jesus from this week’s reading range from the standard, verbatim text quotes to the images and “object” type of lessons that were taking place in my mind as I read and reread the text. So for the standard observations, He is the very Word of God. (John 1:1) He is the creative force of the Godhead – all things were created through Him and nothing was created without Him. (John 1:2-3) He is the source of Life and Light for all men. (John 1:3-4) He has always been and will always be FULLY God. (John 1:1, 18) Yet, in His divine nature is a compassion so deep that He would leave the infinity of His existence and become finite as He brings Grace and Truth to complete God’s plan for mankind.
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He is, in fact, the revealed glory of God to mankind. Yet He is in the Bosom of His Father. (v.18) I love how this verse gives us a picture of the intimacy with which Jesus related to His Father, God. I wrote in my notes: “Jesus intimately knows and is always actively involved in relationship with His Father.”
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In this chapter Jesus is identified in these ways: The Word, Creator (Maker of all things), Life, Light, A Man, The Revealed Glory of God, The only Begotten (born) Son of God, The Lamb of God, He is the Lord, Rabbi or Teacher, The Messiah, King of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Joseph, and The Son of Man.
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In this chapter we see the following qualities that Jesus possessed: Humility – the Son of God was right there, but no one noticed Him. He was the first person who ever had the Holy Spirit come upon Him and remain. He was sought after, hospitable and welcoming, discerning, influential, a leader and a prophet. John, the baptizer, said that He would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
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Here are some of the notes I made as a result of my reading:
1.) Salvation (Redemptive Revelation through the Light) is available to EVERY MAN. Salvation and relationship are a choice. We (mankind) are all elected for adoption (chosen by God to be His child). It is, however, our decision that activates God’s will to adopt us into His family. An old phrase from some good old fashioned Southern Baptist teachings popped into my head at the moment I recorded this note: “A gift is not really your gift until you open it.”
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2.) Grace and truth bring completion. When we partake of Christ’s fullness we receive grace for grace (abundance), and the completion of absolute Grace and TRUTH. In verse 17 the Law, given by Moses, is contrasted against the completing work of Christ in, Grace and Truth. I wrote: “The Law was given by God through a man, Moses. But, Grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing -from AMP) and Truth came by God through God the Son, Jesus Christ.” From this I concluded that the Law represents boundaries that have been given to protect us – keep us safe. Grace and Truth, however, were given to us by Christ for the purpose of liberating us (the permission for us to be free) and the revelation that will set us ultimately free.
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3. He was right here and many did not even recognize Him. They were looking for Him, but they did not even recognize Him. How often do we do this in our own lives? How often are we looking for something so specific as evidence of God’s presence in our lives that we miss what He is doing entirely?
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4. LIGHT. As I thought about the light, I heard the words of my Art I teacher in high school. Mrs. A said that we could only view color if we understood it in its relationship to light. She went on to explain that the color white was not really a color at all, but white was what happened when the absolute presence of PURE LIGHT consumed something. And Light is primarily an absolute reflection. There is no darkness at all in pure light. She went on to say that black was also not a color, but instead it was the total absence of light – a VOID. As I considered this something occurred to me. Before Christ came, the world was CONSUMED with Darkness. But, when Christ came, the Light shone in the darkness. He revealed the true nature of darkness. But, He did not stop there – He also revealed the true nature of God in the LIGHT. In Light, nothing remains hidden. In pure light – flaws and darkness are exposed in reality. They cannot be hidden, glossed over or denied. Darkness has never consumed the light, but when light comes into darkness darkness leaves every time. The light must be turned (tuned) out for darkness to rule.
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5. As I read the Amplified, I saw that Christ existed before men, came after men, took priority over men. John said, Christ takes rank above me, He existed before I did – He advanced before me. He is my Chief. (AMP)
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The Baptizer who prepares the way.
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John knew his place in the pecking order. As I noted previously he acknowledged Jesus as superior and superceding Him. John knew that He came to bear witness to Christ – not to be the Christ. Scripture notes that John’s testimony would lead many to hear about Christ and so believe in Him. He was also questioned by representatives of the Pharisees. He unabashedly told the truth. He saw himself as God saw him. A messenger promised by Isaiah. He was not the Messiah, nor was he Elijah or Moses. He was a man sent to do a job. John Preached Jesus. (v. 15)
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John was a natural born leader and influencer. He knew his calling and he had a life verse. He was the picture of boldness and humility all rolled up into one man. He had followers and disciples but when the time came for him to step out of the way he admonished his followers to follow after “the Lamb of God” and stepped out of the way. He also admitted that his role was to prepare the way for the Lord, but he didn’t really know who the Lord was until God revealed Him.
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I believe the picture of John telling his own disciples, Don’t follow me, follow Jesus is such a compelling portrait of this man. It says to me Don’t compete. Don’t feel compelled to rescue because others expect you to do so. John did not ever assume the role of Savior. He Preached Jesus.
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One of the things I realized about John was that he was the one “shouting” in the desert. My natural question was: Who really is listening to you in the desert? Lost people that’s who…
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“And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:34)
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The First Disciples believed.

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The first two disciples were sent to Jesus by John. The two were Andrew of Bethsaida and an unamed companion. They were standing with John when Jesus passed them. John pointed to Him and told them He was the Lamb of God. Andrew and his friend immediately followed after Jesus and called Him Rabbi or teacher.
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I thought their question was interesting: Where are you staying? Why on earth would that be important?
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As I examined the disciples I found the following reflected in these five men:
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1. There was one who was not readily identified. A nameless, faceless follower.
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2. Andrew who immediately sought out his closest family member and introduced him to the Messiah.

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3. Peter whose identity was immediately changed by one word from Jesus.
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4. Philip who heard Christ say, “Follow Me.” And Philip just followed. In essence, Philip’s response was “OKAY.”
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5. Then we have Nathanael. The skeptic. He had to have some evidence, and a personal encounter that revealed something about Nathanael, himself, before he would believe in this Messiah. Nathanael is the first clue that Jesus came by an unexpected route to be the Messiah of Israel.
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I love how the broader fabric of believers who come to Christ is represented in these five men. Some come easily and in instant obedience, others come just because the see something that makes them curious, while others immediately bring those closest to them to Christ, still others linger in the background fully believing but reluctant to be identified. Then there is the one whose identity was changed by one word from Jesus. Speak, Lord. And finally the skeptic who required evidence. Yet, when he realized the truth — He was sold out! He even received a promise greater than salvation for the trouble. WHEW! What a day.

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The Pharisees inquired.

The Pharisees were looking for a Messiah. At the first inclination that someone was preaching and teaching with authority they sent out a band of inquistors to investigate the matter. These men were Jewish, most likely priests and Levites from Jerusalem. As a matter of fact – the NKJV identifies them in just this way. They questioned John about who He was and what he was doing preaching repentence through water baptism. They were looking for a redeemer. Any redeemer would do: Elijah, Moses, the Christ… When John answered them… The inquisitors were the first to hear John’s testimony of Jesus, but still they demanded more of an answer. They clearly did not understand what John was telling them.

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From this account I realized the Pharisees were desperate to see Prophecy regarding the Messiah fulfilled. They needed a redeemer and deliver. However, The Pharisees were merely curious to know if John was the Messiah, but not driven to pursue their curiousity themselves. They did not want to be caught questioning John. Why? The same reason we often do not go to God and ask ourselves and receive from Him. Because they knew that the knowledge could change the game completely and they were not quite ready to surrender everything to receive the promise.

John’s testimony to the inquisitors was that the Messiah was already among them and they didn’t even recognize Him. He said, as the AMP translates it, “[the Messiah is one] of whom you know nothing.” As I conclude my observations about the Pharisees, I realize that these Jewish leaders refused to see the truth that they were looking for… They only recognized their own limited authority and intellectual understanding and the broader, further reaching power of the Roman, secular government. They had no foundation upon which to build their revelation upon. They only believed in their idea of God, not the truth of God. OUCH!
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In closing I would like to add a few notes from my reading that I have not yet included. John confessed openly the truth about his identity to the priests and Levites who came to question him. In the AMP confession is identified as simply “stating the truth.” John not only admitted the truth, he also did not try to conceal it. He boldly proclaimed, “I am not the Christ.” John also admits he did not previously know the Christ. He simply knew that his purpose in baptizing with water was to bring revelation to the manifest presence of God in the Christ. His evidence was that the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Jesus and was never to depart.

As I read this I realized, no one in John’s generation had ever seen a visible representation of the Holy Spirit before. But, that is the very sign John was looking for. God promised John a sign to help him recognize when the Messiah showed up and John patiently served until he saw what he had been looking for. Before the day that John saw the Spirit come down and rest upon Jesus… The Spirit came and went empowering men only for seasons of ministry. But John saw the advent of a new era when the Holy Spirit would rest upon man and never depart. I love how the AMP version notes that John’s words carry this message – “I really saw it happen!” As if to say – there is no way I’m making this up, this is really the Son of God. (LOVE IT!)
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The setting of this first chapter is in Bethany (Bethabara, east of the Jordan – at the Jordan crossing) and Galilee, near Bethsaida.

I also noted that from the AMP version I wrote down that to believe in means to adhere to, trust in, rely upon. That the Light that Jesus brought was a genuine, perfect and steadfast light that illumines every person. And, that receiving Jesus means to welcome Him. When we receive Him he gives us authority that brings the power, privilege and right to become Children of God. We owe our spiritual birth to God, we are born of Him when we receive Christ. And… in closing I recognized that as a man, Jesus’ only glory was His relationship with His Father.

I weighed the Word in
four primary translations:

Okay… So it’s now your turn… What did you find in your reading of the book of John this week: (be sure to link directly to your post… and add the linky below)!

One thought on “Weighing the Word: John One

  1. Absolutely AWESOME!!! What a teacher you are!! What a GOD we share!

    You know what so many don’t want to get for fear perhaps??? That the Holy Spirit did not “write the Bible” and disappear!!!!

    The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us in the person of the Holy Spirit…..why would anyone not want that in their lives??? Please tell me because I am baffled beyond anything when I hear the arguments against the Holy Spirit.

    Girlfriend, you get it…you have it…it’s a light and it’s burning….Keep shining.
    Love ya,
    Teri

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