John 1:9-18 – The Light Has Come Into the World

John 1:9-18 – The Light Has Come Into the World

  • The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
    • He was in the world, and
    • the world was made through Him,
      • yet the world did not know Him.
  • He came to His own, and
    • His own people did not receive Him.
    • But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name,
      • He gave the right to become children of God,
      • who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and
    • we have seen His glory,
      • glory as of the only Son from the Father,
      • full of grace and truth.
      • (John bore witness about Him, and cried out, “This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.”)
    • For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
      • For the law was given through Moses;
      • grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
    • No one has ever seen God;
      • the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.
      • [unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is from the ESV].

THE LIGHT CAME TO THE WORLD

The Apostle John wrote the light was coming into the world. This is the light prophesied by Isaiah.

. . . I will make You as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth. [Isa 49:6 ESV].

Christ is the light for the nations and He still reaches to the ends of the earth.

The light was in the world – and we know this to be a historical fact that Jesus Christ was physically a man and lived among men.

The Apostle John wrote the world was made through Him but the world did not know Him. They did not know Him because they clung to their sin. Jesus told Nicodemus,

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. [Joh 3:19 ESV].

The Apostle Paul agreed with John the world was made by Christ. He wrote,

For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. [Col 3:16 ESV].

Although the world, the universe and all things were made by, through and for Christ, John said Christ came to the world but the world did not know Him. Jesus said the world loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. [Joh 3:20-21 ESV].

Though the world hate the light, Jesus Christ, yet God has chosen to save some – to bring them to the light and work truth in their lives. The Apostle John wrote this about our hope:

. . . the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. [1Jo 2:8 ESV].

JESUS CHRIST CAME TO HIS OWN

Who are His own? The nation of Israel. But, as the Apostle John wrote, they did not receive Him.
John the Baptist said no one receives His testimony (Joh 3:32). Isaiah told us the world does not seek after God – “no one calls upon Your name.” [Isa 64:7]. Paul wrote, “no one understands, no one seeks after God.” [Rom 3:11]. Men were not looking for the Christ, so it can be no surprise they did not recognize Him when He came.

He came to His own people, Israel, but they did not receive Him. In the Book of Isaiah, God said He set aside a people for Himself so they might declare His praise but they did not call upon Him.

the people whom I formed for Myself that they might declare My praise. Yet you did not call upon Me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of Me, O Israel! [Isa 43:21-22 ESV].

The story of the visit of the Wise Men, in Matthew chapter two is an interesting case in point: The magi inquired of the priests, in Jerusalem, where the Messiah child was living. The priests were able to figure the times and locations given in Scripture and sent the magi on their way to Bethlehem. At this time, the child of Christ might have been as old as two years but none of the religious leaders had sought Him. And even that day they did not go along nor seek the child because they were not interested in the promised Messiah.

Then, John wrote those who did receive Him, He gave the right to become children of God (v12). It is popular to say, “I received Jesus in my heart” though the Bible speaks nothing of receiving into our hearts, we know what is intended by the phrase. Paul wrote with the heart one believes (Rom 10:9-10). But James wrote, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” [Jam 2:19]. Is a profession of faith all that is required to receive Jesus Christ?

The Bible tells us, no on seeks after God. The Apostle John affirmed this by declaring those who receive were not born of the will of man (v13). Whether you wish to take this figuratively or literally it is all the same – man does not choose God; God chooses man. As John said in this passage, “Those who believe were born of the will of God.” [v13 ESV]. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” [Joh 6:44 ESV]. Our conversations on predestination and election will come at another time. What we need to look at here is the meaning of receiving Jesus Christ.

We could expand this question by talking about faith. Many people have faith – but they do not believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Paul wrote about those destined to perish: they refuse to believe the truth, so God sends them a strong delusion – something to believe but not the truth (2Th 2:9-12). This could be false religions, Christian cults and self-helps. The Mormon faith is a good example: on the surface, it resembles Christianity and they have a positive community but they lack the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have faith but they lack the truth.

About having faith in faith, A.W. Tozer wrote,

I do not recall another period when ‘faith’ was as popular as it is today. If only we believe hard enough we’ll make it somehow. So goes the popular chant. What you believe is not important. Only believe… What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy. For it is not enough that we believe; we must believe the right thing about the right One.

The Prophet Ezekiel wrote,

They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect Him to fulfill their word.” [Eze 13:6 ESV].

C.S. Lewis wrote,

We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as ‘faith,’ with the idea that this will somehow insure the granting of our prayer… The state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics.

Jesus Christ asked the question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” [Luk 18:8 ESV]. What He had been talking about was persevering in prayer and He gave a parable of the widow and the judge who neither feared God nor man. Jesus said just as surely as the widow’s persistence swayed the heart of the corrupt judge, so God hears the cries of the elect.

There are professions of faith and professions of faith in Christ. But what does it mean to receive Jesus Christ?

In his epistle, the Apostle John wrote,

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? [1Jo 5:1-5 ESV].

In this passage, John lists 4 things that demonstrate we truly believe in Christ:

  1. We love the Father;
  2. We love the children of God – our brothers;
  3. We keep God’s commandments – which are not burdensome;
  4. We overcome the world – that is, we overcome fleshly desires.

How can we accomplish this of our own efforts? In Romans chapter seven, the Apostle Paul explains our struggle with our sin nature. He said what he wants to do, he cannot; and what he does what he does not want to do.

In the passage of First John chapter five, which we just read, it is explained those who believe have been born of God. We don’t choose to be born, nor do we choose to be born again. God does the choosing and it is He who transforms our life and it is He who produces fruit in us. Which is the same thing Jesus said, as we read earlier: “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” [3:21 ESV]. Do you find this a hard doctrine to understand? In this passage of John chapter one, the apostle explained, those who are born again “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” [v13].

If we are saved, it was not because of anything we have done – it was not even our will or decision to get saved – it was God’s will and it is His work in our lives; for His purposes. The Apostle Paul wrote the Ephesians:

. . . [God] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will. [Eph 1:4-5 ESV].

JESUS CHRIST DWELT AMONG MAN

In these verses we are studying, the Apostle John wrote 1) Christ came to the world; 2) Christ came to His own; and 3) Christ came to dwell among man.

we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. [v14 ESV].

John wasn’t talking about seeing Christ with his physical eyes. To understand Christ is God become man is to see Him with spiritual eyes. For, the Apostle Paul wrote,

None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [1Co 2:8 ESV].

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. [1Co 2:14 ESV].

THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE APOSTLE

John told us Christ came into the world and the world did not, or refused to, know Him (v10). This is a great mystery that the God who created man would 1) reduce Himself to become a man; and 2) that He would dwell among man without destroying him. Paul tells us in Philippians chapter two, even though Christ was with God and Christ was God, He did not cling to His status but made Himself nothing – taking on the nature and likeness of man and He was obedient, even to His own death. Christ did not come to destroy, or condemn the world He came to die (Joh 3:17).

Through His death He destroyed the devil, who had the power of death. As Genesis 3:15 foretold, He shall bruise Satan’s head. By destroying Satan’s work, He delivered those who were in bondage to sin (Heb 2:14-15). The Apostle Paul told us Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming the curse for us (Gal 3:13).

God sent His Son, born in the flesh. He was born under the law (see Luk 2:21-27) to redeem us who were under the law – or condemned by the law – so that we might be adopted as sons (Gal 4:4; see also Rom 8:15). The law cannot not save man because we all fall short (Rom 3:23). The law announces God’s standard but it is weak in giving eternal life.

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. [Rom 8:3 ESV].

Christ was born of the flesh, fulfilled the requirements of the law, destroyed Satan’s dominion of death and redeemed those who were lost to give them eternal life.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. [Col 2:13 ESV].

WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY

John is not merely stating a fact – this is an exciting proclamation.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. [1Jo 1:1-4 ESV].

The Apostle John saw God’s glory upon Jesus at His baptism (v32) and the Transfiguration (Luk 9:28-36). At both events, God voiced from heaven, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” [Mat 3:17; 17:5]. These must have been glorious things to behold: God speaking to man and raining His approval of His Son, Jesus Christ – confirming He was whom He claimed to be – the only Son of God. This is why John could positively say,

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. [v4-5 ESV].

His glory was full of grace and truth.

Grace, in that, He dwelt among man without destroying him (Joh 3:17; Rom 8:34); He came as a servant (Rom 15:8; see also Joh 13:4-5); He was the final sacrifice for mans’ sins (1Co 5:7; Heb 10:12); He came to destroy the dominion of death (1Co 15:26; Heb 2:14); He came to die that we might have life (Rom 5:8; 6:23).

Truth, in that, Christ told us He is the way, the truth and the life (Joh 14:6). Christ is the only way to the Father (Act 4:12; 1Ti 2:5). God’s grace comes by way of truth (Col 1:6) – they go together.

FROM HIS FULLNESS WE HAVE RECEIVED GRACE UPON GRACE

John began the chapter telling us Christ was in the beginning with God and was God. Paul told us the fullness of deity dwells bodily in Christ (Col 2:9). In other words, Christ is the full representation of the Godhead – the physical form of God; God dwells in Him (Col 1:19). The dictionary says fullness is the state of being filled to capacity. When the Bible talks about the fullness of Christ it refers to His fullness of the Godhead. Jesus said He has seen the Father (6:46); He speaks of what He has seen with His Father (8:38); and if we see Him, we have seen the Father also (14:9).

Not only is Christ the fullness of God, but we “have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” [Col 2:9-10]. This is why Christ commands us to abide in Him – because we have been filled in Him. And just as Christ represented, or revealed, the Godhead to man, we too, represent Christ, who is the head of all rule and authority, not only to man but also to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10). We are witnesses to truth and Paul wrote Christ ascended so that He might equip the saints until we attain unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God – to the measure we are filled with Christ (Eph 4:13). How do we become filled with Christ? By abiding in Him – getting into His Word.

Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. [Joh 6:56-58 ESV].

Jesus Christ is God made flesh. He if fully God and fully man – and the fullness of God dwelt in Him. His purpose was to reconcile sinful man to a Holy God – God, Himself, rescued man from His wrath. There can be no greater grace than this.

What does it mean, “grace upon grace”? The term is not “grace upon works” nor “works upon grace.” Grace is a gift of God – not of works nor is it of our decision or choosing (Eph 2:8-9).

Though we are condemned by the Law, the Law is not without grace. The fact God would direct man to live Godly lives and He gave the law to make man conscious of sin is evidence of His grace and truth (see Romans chapter 7). In this respect, the grace of the new covenant is built upon the grace of the old covenant. This, too, is grace upon grace.

The law came through Moses; it revealed man’s sin and God’s justice. Paul told us we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory, that is, we fall under His judgment (Rom 3:23). Jesus said everyone who sins is a slave to sin (Joh 8:32) and the Apostle Paul wrote we are slaves to the one we obey – either of sin, which leads to death; or of Christ which leads to righteousness (Rom 6:16).

Jesus Christ brought grace and truth. If we follow Him we are no longer under judgment (Rom 6:23) and He promised we will be free if we abide in Him (Joh 8:31-32).

The Jews clung to Moses and the Law though they could never keep the Law. When John wrote the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, he announced one greater than Moses was here. Moses gave the Law but Christ satisfied the Law. Martin Luther said, “The Law discovers the disease; the Gospel gives the remedy.”

Here is the Gospel in a nutshell:

For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. [2Co 5:21 ESV].

HE HAS MADE GOD KNOWN

  • Joh 4:23 – Jesus explained to the woman at the well, the Father is seeking those who will worship in spirit and in truth.
  • Joh 5:19 – Jesus said He could do nothing of His own but only what He saw His Father doing, for the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing.
  • Joh 5:36 – Jesus said the works He is doing are the works the Father sent Him to do and these works bear witness the Father sent Him.
  • Joh 6:38 – Jesus said He came to do the will of the Father who sent Him.
  • Joh 6:40 – Jesus said the will of the Father is everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life.
  • Joh 6:44 – Jesus said nobody comes to Him unless the Father draws him.
  • Mat 11:27 – Jesus said nobody knows the Father except the Son and whomever the Son will reveal Him to.
  • Mat 22:37-38; Mar 12:29-30 – He came to remind us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
  • Joh14:10 – Jesus said He is in the Father and spoke what He saw the Father doing.
  • Joh 17:25-26 – Jesus showed us what the Father is like.
  • 2Co 4:4; Col 1:15 – The Apostle Paul wrote Christ is the image of God.
  • Heb 1:3 – The writer of Hebrews also wrote Christ is the express image of God.

AD HOC OUTLINE JOHN 1:1-18

  1. Jesus Christ is God;
  2. He became flesh and dwelt among man; and
  3. He revealed the Father to man.

IN CLOSING

The world was in darkness until the true light came to live among men.

The Creator of the world is this true light. He came to His creation but they did not know Him.
He set aside a nation for Himself but they did not receive Him.

But to those who did receive Him, He gave the right – the power and authority – to become sons of God.

You cannot get to heaven of your own choosing. You cannot get to heaven by following the Law or any religious or moral rules.

Man is sinful and subject to the wrath of God. The Son of God satisfied the wrath of God by His death and resurrection. This is what “propitiation” means: Christ satisfied God’ wrath for us. He paid for our sin so we can be made right with God.

Only those born of God – those who have a new birth from God – can receive the Son of God.

Have you received the Light? Have you received the Son of God? If not, receive Him today!

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