Summary: This is the introduction to a series of messages on the Person of Jesus using John 1:1-18 which is a Chaiastic poem describing who Jesus is.
The Person of Jesus series
Introduction: Jesus – God in the Flesh
CHCC: February 7, 2010
For the next 12 weeks we’re going to have a series of sermons focused on the Person of Jesus. On the screen you see a montage of images of Christ. How to you picture Jesus? Some people like to think of Jesus as a best friend who’s always there for us, or a big brother who has our back, or a doctor who heals our sickness, our all-knowing counselor who helps us stay out of trouble. And Jesus IS all those things to us … but too often we imagine Jesus to be the way we want him to be … instead of understanding who He really is.
If your just use your own imagination, then you can make Jesus into whatever you want him to be. Back in the 1980’s Depeche Mode put out a song called “Your own … Personal … Jesus.” Since then, it’s been performed by artists as different as Johnny Cash and Marilyn Manson. As you can imagine, they gave a very different meaning to your personal Jesus!
To a lot of people, Jesus is probably somewhere between a Superhero and Santa Clause. He has the power to give us what we want … and we hope he’ll come through for us. In other words, we try to make Jesus in our own image.
But the truth is that instead of us creating Jesus in our image, Jesus wants to Re-Create US in His image. For that to happen, we need to know who Jesus REALLY is.
For the next 12 weeks, that is what we’re going to do. Every week, we’ll focus on a different facet of our Lord’s personality and character. Every week we’re going to look at “snap-shots” of Jesus, taken from all 4 of the Gospels. Each Gospel gives a different perspective on the Person of Jesus:
· Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience emphasizing how Jesus fulfilled Jewish prophecies concerning the Messiah. He emphasizes Jesus as King.
· Mark wrote for the Romans. He pictures Jesus as a servant who reaches out to help needy people
· Luke introduced Jesus to a Greek audience as a sympathetic teacher.
· John wrote a unique gospel account for people of any race, religion, time or place. John emphasizes Jesus’ identity as the one and only Son of God.
If you remember, John and his brother James were fishermen in Galilee before they became followers of Jesus. So it’s not that surprising that John wrote a book in simple language. In fact, Greek students tend to read John first because of its simple vocabulary.
John may be a simple book, but there are massive ideas in his simple words. In the first chapter he presents the Cosmic Christ … and he presents this portrait of Jesus in a Poem.
The first 18 verses of John use a literary device called chiasm. (on screen) (This was new information to me and I find it fascinating.) A chiasm is a type of poetry where the first and last lines fit together --- the second and next-to-last lines match --- and so on. The screen shows how this can be plotted in a way that looks like a greater than > symbol.
Each of the indentions shows something important about who Jesus is.
1. Jesus – the Word John 1:1-2, 18
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
When John says Jesus is the word he uses the Greek term, logos. John may have been just a fisherman, but he was no simpleton. In using the word “logos” he chose a word philosopher’s of his day were discussing. To philosophers of that day, logos had a rich, abstract meaning. Logos was understood as a word from God that somehow took physical form in order to carry out the will of God.
That’s why John said that the word was with God in the beginning and that the word was God himself. He went on to explain in vs. 18 that the word of God made God known. This is deep … so for any of us who like to keep it simple: John was saying that Jesus is God --- not like God; not almost God; Jesus IS God.
To say that Jesus is Yahweh is a big deal to come from a Jewish writer. The name of God was held in such awe that Jews were not allowed to say or write the name. Yet, here John gives Yahweh a new name: Jesus.