John chapter 1

Identity Crisis

“”Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. – Vs 29 NASB

In this opening chapter of John’s gospel, we have his introduction to the coming of Jesus into the world. It begins with the familiar description of Jesus as the Word of God. Then John describes Jesus as the Light of the world. When John the Baptist comes onto the scene and sees Jesus standing on the banks of the Jordan River, he make his famous proclamation, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” He claims Jesus to be the Son of God (Vs 34). He later tells two of his own disciples that Jesus is the lamb of God (Vs 36). One of these two men refers to Jesus as a rabbi or teacher (Vs 38). Later, when Andrew went to find his brother Simon and bring him to Jesus, he refers to Jesus as the Messiah (Vs 41). When Jesus encountered Philip a few days later and invited him to follow Him, Philip took the news to Nathanael and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (Vs 45 NASB). In Nathanael’s encounter with Jesus, he tells Jesus, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (Vs 49 NASB).

In just one short chapter we have seen Jesus referred to as…

The Word

The Light

The Lamb

The Son of God

A rabbi or teacher

The Messiah

The Christ

Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote

Jesus of Nazareth – the son of Joseph

The King of Israel

You could almost conclude that they didn’t know exactly what they had in Jesus. Their perceptions were confused and clouded by their expectations. These men, as good Jewish citizens, were expecting a conquering Messiah – a deliverer. They wanted a King to free them from the tyranny and oppression of Roman rule. Their descriptions of Jesus point to a man – a human deliverer. Sure, he would be a representative of God, a son of God – like David – but just a man. He would be wise and brave, a great military man like David and wise like Solomon. He would lead them to victory over their enemies.

But John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, opens his book with a different description of Jesus altogether. He describes Him as the Word and the Light. He is not just a man, but the uncreated, pre-existent Word of God. He is the creator, not the created. He is pure Light. He came to expel darkness, but not civil and political darkness. He came to set people free, but not from the tyranny of men, but from slavery to sin and ultimately death. He came to give life, but a different kind of life than just freedom from problems and the concerns of the day. He came to bring eternal life and a restored relationship to God Himself. He came to make the sons of men children of God (Vs 12). He came that we might experience the grace of God (Vs 16) and joy of a restored relationship to a holy, righteous God who was obligated to punish us for our sin.

Jesus came onto the scene and men had a hard time figuring out exactly who He was. Men still struggle with that today. Even as believers we can end up calling Him everything from our friend to our Savior, our redeemer to our teacher, our helper to our hope. Sometimes we aren’t really sure what we have in Jesus. But John drives us back to the truth. He is the Light of the world. He is the Word of God become flesh. He is the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is God’s solution to man’s problem. The sinless Son of God in human flesh, who lived a sinless life, died a sinner’s death, and rose again so that you and I might have life. Not just a better life here and now, but  life with God the Father for eternity.

Who is your Jesus this morning? Is He your Light? Is He illuminating your life today, expelling the darkness and showing you the way to live? Is He your Word? Is He speaking to you daily, giving you hope and help to live the life you’ve been called to live? Is He your Lamb? Are you confident that His sacrificial death has taken care of your sin debt once and for all? How we view Jesus is the key to our view the world and how we will live out our lives in it.

Father, thank You for Your Son – the Light, the Word, the Lamb. May I see Him as He truly is today. Not as just what I want Him to be. Open my eyes to the beauty and reality of just who He is. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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