A. I want to begin by showing you four pictures from four movies. I want to see if you can identify the movie.
1. Picture #1 – Gone With the Wind – Rhet Butler and Scarlot O’Hara
2. Picture #2 – Return of the Jedi – C3PO and R2D2
3. Picture #3 – The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – The Grinch, Jim Carey
4. Picture #4 – The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy, Susan and Peter.
B. You recognize these pictures because you’ve either seen the movie, or know something about it.
1. But if you didn’t know anything about these movies could you figure out the story from a single picture?
2. Obviously not. All we have here in each of these pictures is one moment in time from movies that last around 2 hours.
3. We could make up almost any story to go with these pictures.
4. So, from a single picture we don’t know how the story begins or ends. Who’s good or bad.
C. The point that I want to make is that the same is true with Jesus.
1. You can’t make sense of His life by only looking at one brief moment in time.
2. Many people make their judgment about Jesus from only one event or statement that He made.
3. And even though there are a few monumental events in His life – like His birth, His transfiguration, His crucifixion or resurrection, each event is incomplete without the entire story.
4. The same is true with Jesus’ teachings. He said a lot of things and addressed many different subjects.
5. Therefore, He should not be judged by a single statement.
D. As we begin this new series called “Devoted to Jesus,” and as we begin to tell the story of Jesus, we have to ask ourselves, “What is the best place to begin the story?”
1. When we look at the 4 Gospels we see that each of them started the story in a different place.
2. The Gospel of Mark begins the story of Jesus with the ministry of John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Jesus.
3. Matthew begins his story with the genealogy of Jesus and traces his ancestry back to Abraham. He then moves right into the birth of Jesus.
4. The Gospel of Luke begins with the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist. And then once Luke gets to the genealogy of Jesus he traces his ancestry all the way back to Adam.
5. But in vivid contrast to those three stories of Jesus.
6. The Gospel of John does not begin with the earthly story of Jesus, rather it begins with the eternal story of Jesus.
E. Yes, Jesus was a person who lived at one particular time in history, just like the rest of us.
1. But Jesus is far more and greater than the rest of us, because Jesus has an existence that precedes His earthly existence.
2. So to really understand and appreciate Jesus we have to know the whole story.
3. That story began “In the Beginning.” Before time, as we know it, began.
4. So what evidence do we have of the pre-existence of Jesus?
I. The Evidence of Jesus’ Pre-existence.
A. Let’s start with our Scripture reading for today from John 1:1-5.
1. John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
2. John says that the Word was with God, in the beginning, and the Word was God.
3. Who is the Word?
4. In verse 14, John identifies the Word, saying, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (1:14-15)
5. And so we discover that the Word is Jesus.
6. So as John began his gospel he begins by telling us that “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.”
7. Therefore, Jesus’ existence didn’t begin at his earthly birth, but was from the beginning.
B. But in addition to just being there in the beginning, Jesus was an agent of creation.
1. John declared that “Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
2. Paul said the same thing about Jesus in Colossians 1, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:15-17)
a. Did you catch all that? “For by him all things were created…He is before all things.”
b. Both things point to Jesus’ eternal nature.
3. The writer of Hebrews began his letter with these words, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Heb. 1:1-2)
4. So from those verses, we discover that Jesus’ pre-existence precedes the creation of all things.
C. Not only do these New Testament passages speak of Jesus’ role in creation, there is evidence in the Old Testament as well.
1. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
2. The Hebrew word for “God” that appears here is the word “Elohim.”
3. It is a plural noun meaning “Mighty Ones,” a family of Mighty Ones, acting as one.
4. God has chosen to express His personal nature in terms of a family relationship of equal personalities equaling the one God.
5. That’s why in Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image. In our likeness…’”
6. In Genesis 3:22 after the fall of man we read, “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’”
7. And in Genesis 11, we see that after the flood the people were all staying in one place and pride was becoming a problem, so God said, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Gen. 11:7)
8. So we see all these instances when God is describing himself in the plural.
9. The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit were there in the beginning making man in their likeness, and disciplining humankind when they needed it.
D. Jesus made numerous other statements during His ministry that pointed to his pre-existence.
1. In John 6:62, Jesus said, “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!”
a. Where had Jesus been before he came to earth? He had been with God.
2. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Before Abraham was born, I am!”
a. If Jesus had been born thousands of years after Abraham, how is it that he was existing before Abraham was born?
3. John the Baptist had said that Jesus preceded him even though Jesus was born after him, “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (John 1:30)
3. In John 17:5 Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
a. Obviously, Jesus knew where He had been and what His glory had been like.
E. When Paul looked at where Jesus had been and what he gave up to come down here, he declared, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
1. Jesus was God and was with God, but he willingly gave up that position and lowered himself and became obedient to death on a cross.
2. But after leaving His heavenly place, God exalted Him back to that highest place.
F. From all of this evidence, can there be any doubt about Jesus’ eternal pre-existence? I don’t think so!
1. So His story did not start with His birth, like ours does.
2. His story has no beginning, because He has no beginning.
G. Now you might be thinking, “Ok, David, Jesus is eternal, but what does this have to do with me?
1. What is the significance of Jesus’ pre-existence?
2. Well, let me tell you it is a big deal and has immense implications.
II. The Significance of Jesus’ Pre-existence.
A. First, and Foremost, Jesus’ pre-existence proves that He is God.
1. As God we know that we can trust Him and that His promises are true.
2. As God we know that He has the power to help us and save us.
3. I think you would agree with me that this is pretty important stuff!
B. Second, Jesus’ pre-existence shows that He cares for us.
1. Our God is not a god who, as the deists claim, created the world, wound it up and set it off into space to run without God’s attention.
2. No, our God is a God who takes an intense interest in His creation.
3. Our God is a God who loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son.
4. If Jesus did not care, He would never have come to earth, leaving the glory of heaven.
5. And he certainly would not have subjected himself to the abuse and suffering of crucifixion, if He did not love us.
6. Our eternal God stepped into time and space so that we might know Him, and inherit eternal life through Him.
7. He really does love us and his kindness ought to lead to our repentance, and our reliance on Him.
C. Third, Jesus’ pre-existence means that there is a plan.
1. Jesus came from glory and wants to bring you and me into that glory.
2. Jesus said in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
3. The love of God and plan of God have been in place since before the creation of the world.
4. Peter explained that plan in 1 Peter 1 with the following words, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)
5. God’s plan was in place for a long time. It was an expensive plan and a loving plan.
6. John wrote, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
7. And this life that God wants to give us is more glorious than any of us can imagine.
8. 1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
9. And how wonderful and exciting is that?!!!
A. So as we strive to see Jesus ever more clearly, we begin with a glimpse of his pre-existence.
1. Before He ever put a foot on this earth, He was alive and well.
2. He was reigning with God in all their Glory.
3. He was creating and sustaining all things.
B. His pre-existence is so important because it proves He is God, shows that He cares for us, and means that there is a wonderful plan.
C. As John completes the prologue to his Gospel, he says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)
1. Jesus, indeed, is the life and light of men.
2. But sadly, so many people resist the life and light that Jesus offers.
3. Let’s be sure that we are not among that group of people.
4. Let’s allow the life and light of Jesus to come into our lives, and save us and transform us.
5. John wrote, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
6. Won’t you put your trust in Jesus and become a child of God? There’s nothing better!
(Resource: “Eternal Christ,” Sermon by Rodney Buchanan)