Christianity 201

June 5, 2015

A Gospel Narrative Unlike the Other Three

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

If readers find a blog or devotional site and end up making it their primary source for daily Bible study, I’m fine with that. Although our motto here is “Digging a Little Deeper;” I recognize some of you want to move from Christianity 201 to Christianity 301. Here’s a jumping off point a few of you might appreciate as they plan on spending a long time in one book. However, it just might be that someone you know who is new to the faith might benefit from this as well. We recently discovered the blog Brothers of the Book, and they have just launched into a detailed study of John’s Gospel. To visit the site, click this link. To simply read today’s article at source, click the title below as usual.

Who Is Jesus?

We begin a slow wander through the Gospel of John today. I have always loved this book and as time has gone by I have come to feel that, contrary to the opinion of many, this is not really a book for the Lost but rather a book for the Saved. I find this book to be all about maturing in Christ. Now don’t get me wrong, people have been suggesting the book of John as a good place for the Lost to begin their investigation of Jesus, and there is much to commend this book for that purpose. John himself says, later in this book, that his reason for sharing a number of Jesus’ miracles is so we may believe the Jesus is the Messiah, and that by believing in Him have life in Him (John 20:30-31). Of course the other three Gospels do this as well. And yet, John is very different from the other three Gospels, also known as the Synoptic Gospels because they are so similar.

A careful reading of John causes us to wrestle with some pretty deep theological concepts; concepts I think may be a little bit much for an unbeliever to successfully tackle. John skips the birth of Jesus; he assumes that his readers know much of this information. If we look at the chronology of the publication of the Gospels we find that the book of John was probably the last Gospel written and that John was aware of these earlier books. While he does repeat a bit of what the other Gospels share, his book skips some episodes and adds new information. More importantly, in my estimation, his book goes deeper.

John’s book also echoes the book of Genesis in that it gives us a peak at the very beginning.

John 1:1 ESV
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Who is Jesus? This is the most important question a person will ever have to wrestle with. It is an inescapable question that everyone will have to eventually answer, either in this life or in the life to come. Your answer will dictate the quality of your life now and the quality of your life in eternity. If Jesus was just a man who said some nice things and died 2,000 years ago, you can safely ignore and forget Him, for such a man has no power to affect your life. If, however, He is God as He claimed to be, if He is the only way to be forgiven of sin and the only way to enter eternity in Heaven, then you should submit your life to His authority, worshipping and serving Him faithfully to the end of your days.

This is John’s theme; his thesis: Jesus is God. Like any good college paper, the book of John states its thesis at the beginning, goes on to support that thesis with many examples and proofs, and then it wraps things up by repeating the thesis. Here is that thesis.

John 1:1-5 ESV
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus pre-exists Creation. It was through Jesus everything was made. And life, real life, is found only in Him. Have you ever wondered about whether or not Jesus was just a man, just a prophet, or really God Himself? John leaves no doubt. He makes a categorical statement that Jesus is God. He then goes on to prove it. Jesus as a great teacher is easy to accept. Jesus as a miraculous healer is a little more challenging to accept but we like the idea so it is not really that hard to get our hands around. Jesus as the sacrificial lamb whose blood washes away our sin, Jesus as our Savior, likewise can be a challenge but in the end it is so much to our benefit that we can eagerly accept this at some point. Jesus as Lord, Jesus as God, that is the really hard thing for so many people to accept.

You see we like the idea of someone who loves us and sacrifices for us. We like it when someone gives to us. What we don’t like is someone having authority over us. This is why so many struggle with, the idea of Jesus as God. We all like to be loved. We all like to be forgiven. None of us, however, like to admit that we are not the boss. But brother, you cannot accept Jesus’ love, Jesus’ sacrifice, Jesus’ forgiveness, Jesus’ blessing, without accepting His Lordship. We say Jesus is our Lord and Savior and yet we embrace His role as Savior while, by our actions, rejecting His role as Lord.

If we accept that Jesus died on the cross for us, and that through His blood we are saved, then we have to accept that we are not our own, that we were bought at a high price, that we belong to Him. We have to accept that He is God if we are to truly accept Him as Savior. As God, He has every right to give us commands and we have every responsibility to obey.

Who is Jesus? How you answer that question will determine how you live today and where you spend eternity tomorrow. Don’t you think it is important to look at the evidence so you can make an informed decision? That, among other things, is what we will do as we stroll through this incredible book together over the months to come.

February 20, 2011

Share Jesus: A Message for Pastors and Everyone Else

Today we re-visit Keith Brenton who blogs at Blog in My Own Eye with a post he repeated less than a year after its first appearance.  He said he wasn’t sure why he felt led to put this out there for a second time in twelve months. Maybe it’s because it’s a really good message for all of us. This appeared at his blog last week under the title, Preach Jesus.


Take a look around on the Internet at the orders of worship and sermon topics of churches which post them, and you might get the impression that many ministers of the gospel have the idea that “You can only preach so much Jesus.”


Because you can preach “the plan” all you want to, and if you don’t preach “the man,” you’ll have converts to a system, not the Savior.

You can preach “the church” all you wish, and if you don’t talk about the Bridegroom who purchased her with His blood, you’ll be preaching narcissism.

You can preach against sin all year every year, and if you don’t proclaim the One who died to save us from it and lived again so that we could live, you’ll only be spreading guilt and despair and hopelessness – not the gospel.

You can preach about your experiences in life till the cows come home, but if you don’t share His, will your church end up knowing more about your life on the farm than the Son you live for?

You can preach about biblical history, eschatology, pneumatology, soteriology, theology, or any other -ology … but if you don’t tell people about Jesus of Nazareth and what He taught and how He lived and how He reigns, just exactly what are you doing in the pulpit of a church in the Christian faith?

Have you actually shared all there is to know about Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Son of Man, Savior, Redeemer, Rabbi, Teacher, Lord, Master, Friend, High Priest, Sacrifice, Good Shepherd, the Holy and Righteous One, Firstborn of the Dead, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace? The One to whom virtually all scripture points and praises – like John, His cousin – “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

Has your church plumbed the depths of its relationship with God through Christ?

Have you told them all there is to know about His love; how far He would go and what He gave up?

Or have you given up?

Paul didn’t give up, and Christ was all he resolved to preach (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Peter knew there was no other name that could save (Acts 4:12).

John knew that it is through Him that we have fellowship (1 John 1:5-7).

Not just a plan. Not just a church. Not just a history. Not just a theory of His return, His Spirit, His divinity, His salvation, or His relationship with His Father.

But HIM.

Have you actually worn out the Ancient of Days?

Have you truly out-taught the Teacher?

Have you really mastered the Master?

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” ~ John 12:20-21

~Keith Brenton