Summary: A verse by verse commentary on John 1 for a 1931 Christmas sermon.
John 1:1-14 Christmas 1931
“In the beginning was the Word”. With these words the Apostle John connects the beginning of the Bible and the world with Christ, for as Scripture says, “All things were created by Him and for Him and to Him.” Jesus as the Word is the revelation of God. We know God through Christ as Jesus said to Thomas, “Whosoever hath seen me hath seen the Father.” The Father and I are one.” We would have no Bible and there would be no need of the Bible, nor church, nor preaching, if it were not for Christ. What benefit would the preaching of law be to us sinners, if Christ had not come to redeem. God would not even deign to talk with this evening, if Christ were not.
“And the Word was with God”. No other had control of that mighty word than God Himself though there be scientists and what not who think, that man is the great motivating power of this world, yet none of them has even been able to raise a worm to life. That mighty Word which created the world and brought all things into being and life was with God.
And the Word was God.” What good would idle words be, if God’s power were not in the words yea the Word itself. When God gave speech to man, He gave man what He Himself possesses, mad man in His own image and likeness. But when John speaks of the Word here it is evident, that he means Christ, the Son of God as verse 14 plainly tells us. Jesus was God. Jesus was with God in the beginning. Jesus is the only man who ever lived in this earth and saw the earth when it was created. To Job God said, “ Where wast thou when I created the earth?” But to Jesus He could not speak thus, for Jesus was there at the foundation of the earth and when He speaks to us, We know what He is talking about.
“The same was in the beginning with God.” John seems to repeat here needlessly, still we know that the Lord makes no vain repetitions. John is declaring a truth here which has been attacked severely ever since Christ came to earth, namely the truth, that Jesus is the true God. The Pharisees would not accept this truth and crucified Jesus for it. Later a man broke with the church, Arius by name, who attacked this truth, and today we have our so called modernists who continue to attack the Sonship of God. It is the devil’s own weapon to destroy faith in this gospel and Christ’s work. Where Jesus was tempted and the devil, this was his first sword to cast against Christ, “If thou be the Son of God.” We are still being assaulted with this temptation and therefore the Spirit of God has given us therefore more evidence of Christ’s Sonship, so that we may have the time and everlasting evidence of Scripture itself to answer these doubts with. John being inspired by the Holy Ghost therefore starts his history of Christ’s life on earth with this witness of the eternal Godhead of Christ. No one can truly know Christ or understand His work on earth or His life or anything else in Christianity, if he has not received this knowledge and accepted it by faith, that Christ is the Son of God and God Himself. Therefore this is not needless repetition, but a very much needed sentence of a truth which is much attacked from without and within the visible church on earth.
“All things were made by Him.” In the First Article of our creed we confess: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,” from which we are liable to conclude according to our human reason, that the Son of God had nothing to do with the creation, but John says: In Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” and also says “By him was all things created, that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible.” Jesus having created all things and all things belonging to Him, He is therefore also highly concerned about the things which He created. You are not so concerned about other peoples property and losses as you are about your own. Jesus has every reason to be concerned about this world going lost, because He created I. Therefore He was willing to sacrifice His life to save it. Therefore He says: I am the Shepherd. A hireling is not so concerned about the sheep or the house. Jesus being our owner and creator is very much concerned about our welfare.
“Without him was not anything made that is made.” First John states this truth in the positive and repeats it in the negative, so that there may be no question as to his meaning. There is not a thing which is made, that is made with Christ, except such things that are not made or created and that would be God Himself. Everything that is created and did not come into existence of its own power is made by Him. This Paul also says: Of Him and to Him and through Him are all things.