Summary: The Supreme Excellence of Jesus is found in his Preeminence.
The Supreme Excellence of Jesus
For many people today, Christmas is past history. But for those who believe in the wonderful person of Jesus Christ, the Name means Peace, Hope Everlasting, Infinite Grace and Love. For many December 25th IS finished, but for many, Christmas means the beginning of relationship with the Living God: the incredible birth of the one and only Savior for sinners. John 1:14 NAS: “The Word (of the Living Almighty Eternal God) became flesh and dwelt among us. We saw his glory, (plural, but YOU could make it first person singular if He has revealed Himself to you: “I”) glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Today we look at John 1:15; the writer, the apostle John states a reminder of John 1:7 in verse 15: (John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.' ") 16 “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
The Baptist’s Trustworthy Witness
In verse 15, as in verses 6-8, John the Baptist is again identified by John the Apostle as a trustworthy and TRUE witness of the Word from Heaven who tented among us on Earth. He was NOT the Word but was a witness of the Word. John’s use of the word, “witness”, “martureo”, covers almost half of all NT uses. Additional TRUE witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel are the very Person of Jesus Christ Himself as God the Son, and His very works, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and the God-breathed-out scriptures. The emphasis in John’s Gospel concerning “witnesses” is not on the witness of “men” but on the Excellence of our God in the life and work of the Word made flesh.
In John, there are a few human witnesses who testify to this truth; If you examine the New Testament words “witness”, “witnesses”, “testimony”, “testify”, “truth”, or “false”, you find that WARNINGS appear in most every New Testament book concerning FALSE WITNESSES and FALSE testimony. Wherever the TRUTH of God is preached, close counterfeits arise: the counterfeit looks or seems to be the Truth, but there is an element which IS NOT TRUTHFUL. Biblical accuracy pertaining to the TRUTH is crucial: Straying from the truth of the WORD just a little bit can have catastrophic results because it is no longer THE TRUTH. People of God, the warnings appear throughout God’s Word to be on our guard because not all witnesses are true witnesses, and we are to be discerning toward witnesses and testimony that is not TRUE. Be on your guard!
Jesus is Unique in His Origin: The Preeminent One
The human witnesses of Christ are committed to follow Jesus to such an extent that they, if necessary, would give their very lives for Him and for His Glory. Many in the Church are doing that today, as we well know. Why would they follow Him even to death? Because Jesus is not just an ordinary prophet. He is not just a “good teacher” or a “good example for living.” Jesus is ABSOLUTLEY unique in His origin, since He is from everlasting to everlasting. John the Baptist said: “This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.” (15)
Chronologically in the flesh, in Jesus earthly, fleshly appearance, John the Baptist came before Jesus and Jesus came after John. John was born into this world before Jesus, so on the calendar in this world, Jesus comes after “the Baptist” temporally, that is, in His human nature. John the Baptist who is the forerunner, the herald who goes before Jesus Christ.
But the Lord Jesus “has a higher rank” than “the Baptist”: Jesus came ETERNALLY BEFORE John (or anyone!) in His Divine God-Nature. Jesus ranks higher than ANY other, not just John the Baptist. None other has ever been God who took on flesh. None other is “a god” and none other will ever BE God. All of the talk of the Church should center on this Jesus who is Savior. Our worship and our activities as His center on Jesus and none other. All the glory of our lives is for Him because we know that “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Phil 2:9-10)
Look at Romans 11:36 concerning Jesus in this powerful benediction to the Son of God: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” This fits the words of John 1, doesn’t it?