John begins his important work by laying out some foundational truths. This first passage is brought about by his desire to impress us with those truths. He had one purpose in writing . . . hold on, and I hope you don't get motion-sick -- let's hop all the way over to John 20:30-31 . . .
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.John and the other disciples had the opportunity of seeing Jesus "up close and personal" for three years. In that time, they wobbled back and forth between belief and disbelief; their faith was a fragile thing, and there were times when they consulted among themselves, and other times that they asked their Lord questions.
It took John and the rest of the men that Jesus chose more than three years to figure out the enormousness of who Jesus was. They finally figured out the fullness of that truth, and they spread that truth across the known world -- ultimately impacting the entire planet!
But here is the reason he wrote his gospel: in a nutshell, he didn't want his readers to take three years to find out what took him so long to grasp. In fact, he doesn't want us to take more than three verses to figure it out! He wants us to have in our minds, as we read and study, the eternal deity and Creator rights and majesty of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So in these first three verses, he tells us the most ultimate things about Jesus that he possibly can.
That is John's point here. He was hoping that his readers would read this gospel account humbly, reverently, and with hearts that were awestruck with the knowledge that the man Who ate, drank, and got tired was the God of all creation, in human form. The man Who met the woman at the well, and also preached to thousands on a mountain side, is the Creator of this universe. With the very first words from his writing instrument, he is going to blow us away with the identity of Jesus -- God Who became flesh and dwelt among men.
He knows that this foundational truth will amaze us. Jew or Gentile, it is difficult to grasp the fact that an almighty God would clothe Himself in human form and suffer as Christ did. But there is no mistaking -- we will read this gospel with the solid knowledge that Jesus Christ was with God, and He was God, and that the One Who laid down His life for us was also the same One Who created this world and all of us!
Jesus was clothed with infinite majesty, and yet He put that aside to come to earth. Paul was struck with this same thought as he contemplated the majesty of Christ. He wrote in Philippians chapter two:
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:We'll study here in verses 1-3 again tomorrow. I'd like to suggest that we keep a journal of our studies of John, just as Tonya asked when this study blog was young. Today, enter your thoughts on the majesty of Jesus, and His mercy toward us. If some other verses come to mind, enter them in your journal, or leave a comment.
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Let's make certain it doesn't take us three years to get it!