DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
This portion of the Gospel is chosen as a lesson because it gives an opportunity at one view to consider the Deity of Jesus Christ as declared in the preface (John 1:1-14) as witnessed to by the testimony of the Baptist (John 1:15-34), and demonstrated in the first visit to Judea after the baptism (John 1:35 to John 2:12).
PREFACE (John 1:1-14)
Observe the earliest illustration of John’s presentation of Jesus as the Son of God. Nothing corresponding is found in the synoptics. John asserts the Deity of Jesus, showing Him to be the Creator of all things and the source of all life (John 1:1-5). He emphasizes the point by comparing Him with John the Baptist (John 1:6-9). He is careful, too, to proclaim Jesus as the source of the renewed spiritual life of man, the eternal life which is coincident with salvation (John 1:10-13). And yet side by side with these testimonies he demonstrates His perfect humanity (John 1:14).
“Word” is the Greek logos which means (1) a thought or concept, and (2) the expression or utterance of that thought. And thus as a designation of Christ it is peculiarly applicable because in Him are embodied all the treasures of the Divine Wisdom or the collective thought of God (1 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 2:2-3), and also because from all eternity, but especially in His incarnation, is He the utterance or expression of the Person or “thought” of God (John 1:3-5; John 1:9; John 1:14-18; John 14:9-11; Colossians 2:9).
THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (John 1:15-34)
Every student will be impressed with the originality of this Gospel concerning the testimony of John the Baptist. Nothing corresponding is found in the synoptics. Observe his testimony to the pre-existence and deity of Jesus Christ (John 1:15-18), and to the sacrificial nature of His death (John 1:29). It was questions of this character which arose for settlement in the early church and which John the evangelist was retained on the earth to answer. Was Jesus God as well as man? Was His death a sacrifice for human guilt? How clearly the Baptist’s witness bears upon these points.
THE FIRST VISIT TO JUDEA (John 1:35 to John 2:12)
It is a peculiarity of the fourth Gospel that it dwells upon the ministry of Jesus in Judea while the others mention more especially His ministry in Galilee. In Matthew, after the narrative of the baptism, there is scarcely any allusion to Jesus visiting Judea until the nineteenth chapters, which was His last visit. A convenient division of the present Gospel will be along the line of these different visits.
The first includes the baptism, overlapping what we described as the testimony of John, and might be said to begin at John 1:29 instead of John 1:35. Besides the baptism it includes the call of the first four disciples (John 1:35-51), a call preliminary to the more formal call in the other gospels. In connection with the call of Nathaniel, Christ’s reference to the prophetic symbolism in Jacob’s dream of the ladder points to the Millennial age, when visible communication may be carried on between earth and Heaven.
This first visit to Judea ended with his return to Capernaum in Galilee, on which journey was wrought the creation of wine out of water at the wedding feast. The nature of this miracle and the bearing of its record upon the peculiar position of John’s Gospel has been alluded to in “Introductory.”
1. Why have these chapters been chosen as a lesson?
2. How is the Deity of Christ brought out in the preface?
3. What does “Word” mean, and how does it show the deity of Christ?
4. Have you examined the texts in Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians?
5. How does John the Baptist witness to the Deity of Christ?
6. On what feature of Christ’s ministry does this Gospel dwell?
7. What events are included in the first visit to Judea?
8. What kind of a work was the turning of water into wine?
SECOND VISIT TO JUDEA
With reference to what occasion, and hence at what period of the year, did this visit take place (John 2:13)? With what display of Jesus’ authority and power is it associated (John 2:14-17)? Comparing this with Matthew 21:12-13, it would seem that this transaction was repeated at the last Passover. In what manner did He refer at this time to His death and resurrection (John 2:18-22) ? What great discourse of Jesus is associated with this second visit to Judea (John 3:1-21)? Where did this discourse occur presumably (John 2:23)? How does the theme of this discourse demonstrate the profundity of this gospel, and bear out the theory that it was written for the church? How further does John the Baptist bear testimony to Jesus on this visit (John 3:25-36)? An analysis of this testimony like that in the first chapter, would make an excellent sermon, or Bible reading. He testifies (1) to Jesus, relationship to His people (John 3:29); (2) His growing influence and authority (John 3:30); (3) His exaltation (John 3:31); (4) His truth (John 3:32; John 3:34); and (5) His supreme power and grace (John 3:35-36).
What reason is assigned for Jesus’ departure from Judea at this time (John 4:1-3)? Whence did He journey, and what route did He take (John 3:3-4)? What exhibition of grace was associated with this journey (John 3:5-36)? Select some passages in this part of the chapter which harmonize with the design of John’s Gospel. What about verses 10, 14, 24? How long did Jesus remain in Samaria, and where did he next go (John 4:43)? What miracle is connected with this return journey to Galilee, and how does it bear on the purpose of John’s Gospel (John 4:46-54)? An allusion to this miracle was made in the introduction to our study of John.
We must not pass the teaching in 3:3-8 about regeneration. We see how essential it is because the natural man cannot “see,” apprehend, the Kingdom of God without it. Read here Jeremiah 17:9; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7-8; Psalms 51:5; Ephesians 2:3. As to its nature or source it is a supernatural, creative act of the Holy Spirit, not reforming our old nature, but giving us a new one alongside of the old (John 1:12-13; John 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24). There is one condition for our receiving it: faith in the crucified and risen Lord (John 3:14-16; Galatians 3:24). This gospel is richly set before us in the familiar John 3:16. Salvation may be said to be its theme, and we find in it: (1) its source, the love of God; (2) its ground, the gift of Christ; (3) its means, faith; (4) its need, “should not perish”; (5) its result, eternal life; and (6) its extent, “whosoever.”
That word “perish” must not be misunderstood. It is translated “marred” in Mark 2:22 and “lost” in Matthew 10:6 and other places, but nowhere does it signify cessation of existence.
The great teaching in chapter 4 is suggested in John 4:6-14 about the Holy Spirit, whose indwelling in the believer is set before us in the Symbol of the living water. Other truths are the nature of God (John 4:24), the revelation of the Messiahship (John 4:26); the governing motive of Jesus (John 4:34), and the miracle of John 4:46-53.
So many questions are asked in the text of the lesson that but few are required here.
1. What is the doctrine in John 3:3-8?
2. Tell what you have learned about it in this lesson.
3. How many of the corroborative scriptures have you examined?
4. Analyze John 3:16.
5. What do we learn about the Holy Spirit in chapter 4?
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Gray, James. "Commentary on John 2". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany