Summary: Jesus gave the people one final notice before focusing on His disciples before going to the cross. What reasons does Jesus give to believe in Him and how do we need to respond? Check out these thoughts from our Family Minister, Scott Jewell
When I was a child, I had visions of grandeur. I wanted to be the hero who saves the world. I liked watching cartoons about heroes- I got up on Saturday mornings to see Super Friends and Mighty Mouse. On weekdays, I got home from school in time to watch Thundercats and Heman. I like watching TV shows like MacGyver, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, and Walker- Texas Ranger because the good guy did some amazing things to save the world. More recently, many of the movies I like- such as Star Wars, the trilogy, the prequel, the sequel, and all the other parts out there, Marvel Universe, and Justice League- all movies with heroes rising to the occasion to save their world. Even the games we played- army men, cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, King Arthur- it was all about being the hero that saved the world.
I even had a dream once, that I haven’t told many people about. I was a knight in shining armor, complete with a really cool sword. I was leading a legion of knights into a labyrinth of caverns to hunt Satan down and defeat him in battle. We entered the caves and then… I woke up. Sorry, I didn’t finish my mission and Satan still exists today. :) Yes, as a child, I had visions of grandeur and wanted to save the world.
And then there’s God’s vision for how to save the world. The group 4Him wrote a song about Christmas from Joseph’s perspective. Listen to the chorus:
Why me, I'm just a simple man of trade, why Him with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay, why her, she's just an ordinary girl
Now I'm not one to second guess, what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world
God’s plan to save the world is not at all what we expected. Jeff spoke last week about how Jesus was not the Jesus they wanted, how the Jews were waiting for their conquering hero to ride in and lead the rebellion to remove the Roman oppressors and make Israel the next world superpower. But that wasn’t what God had planned- He sent his son to die, be buried, and raised again.
As we continue to look at the week leading up to the crucifixion, the Passion Week of Christ, we see a transition in our text today. Jesus has been teaching the crowds and after this message, He’ll be turning His attention to the disciples to prepare them for what’s about to happen. Jesus is giving the crowds one last notice, one last warning, one last plea. God’s plan is about to be set in motion, it’s time to respond. That message can be summed up as Believe in Me: I’ll Save the World.
Jesus says you can believe in me because I and the Father are one. (44-45) This speaks to the triune nature of God- God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit. If you look at the Shield of the Trinity, it helps us see the Three-in-One of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. However, the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. Three Persons, one God.
We see this throughout Scripture- Old Testament hints at it. Genesis 1:26- Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness. Genesis 19:24- Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Deut 6:4- YHWH our God (plural construct) is one God (singular construct).
Jesus spells it out- John 10:24ff- the Jews ask Jesus to tell us plainly. Jesus responds that he already has but you’re not listening. Then He specifically says in John 10:30- I and the Father are one. Again, in John 12:45- Jesus says, “Whoever sees me sees him who sent me.”
You can see the picture of my dad and I. We can’t deny that we’re related. When I was younger, when someone would say I look just like my dad, I tried to deny it. He was old and I didn’t want to look like that. Now, I’m about the age he was then and I’ve learned to appreciate our similarities. We can go to the other’s church and people immediately know who we are because they know what the other looks like. I believe there’s an even deeper connection between Jesus and His Father. When you see Jesus, you see the Father. We can believe in Jesus to save the world because He is one with the Father.
Believe in me because I have come as light (46). John loves this concept of Jesus being the light. He begins his gospel sharing that “In the beginning was the Word. The word was with God and the Word was God.” He then goes on in John 1:4-9 to summarize how Jesus is the light that overcomes all darkness. In John 3:19-21, Jesus declares that the light has come, but evil men prefer darkness because light reveals all. In John 8:12, after releasing the adulterous woman, Jesus turns to the crowd and declares He is the light of the world. The message becomes more urgent when in John 9:5 after healing blind man, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world while here.” In John 12:36, Jesus points out that the light won’t be here much longer, believe while you can. In John 12:46, Jesus states that He has come into the world as light so you don’t have to be in darkness.