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The Gospel of John, Chapter 1:1-14
The Gospel of John was written to provide an account of the life, death, resurrection and nature of Jesus Christ. It was written for one purpose, which is found in chapter 20, verse 31, 'But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.'
The human author of this gospel is John son of Zebedee who was 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (John 13.23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20,24) and who is referred to as the Apostle John.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
In these two verses the 'Word' is Jesus Christ. This is verified by verse 14, 'The Word became flesh. . . .' In two other books written by the Apostle John, he refers to Jesus as the 'Word of life' (I John 1:1) and the 'Word of God' (Revelation 19:13). The Apostle John reveals three facts about the 'Word.' John does not explain anything at first about the Word. A word is a unit of speech from which expressions are made. John is not speaking about speech but about a Person. God has expressed Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. By coming and living in this world and dying on the cross to make payment for our sins, Christ has perfectly revealed to us what God is like. By His death, He has told us how much God loves us. 'Thus Christ is God's living Word to man, the expression of God's thoughts.' (William MacDonald)
First, the Word (Jesus Christ) existed in the beginning. This is a reference to the creation in the first chapter of Genesis. See Genesis 1:1, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.' We will see that since Christ is God, Christ's personality and deity are without beginning. He has no beginning and will have no end. He is not created. He simply is and will always be.
Second, the Word (Jesus Christ) was with God in the beginning. See Genesis 1:26, 'Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likenss. . . .' Jesus said in John 17:5, 'And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.' Again in John 17.24 Jesus prayed, '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.' Christ has a separate and distinct personality. He is a real person and was with God the Father in the beginning.
Third, the Word (Jesus Christ) was God. Although there is one God, He is manifest in three forms, beings or persons. This Trinity is composed of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All three are one and the same, yet they are manifest and function in different manners and capacities. This is a mystery and quite inexplicable to human intelligence and wisdom; nevertheless, it is fact and illustrative throughout the Bible. Referring to Christ, the Apostle Paul states in Philippians 2:6, 'who being in very nature God. . . .' Again he says in Colossians 2:9, 'For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity [Godhead, KJV] lives in bodily form. . . .' God's separate beings (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are mentioned in conjunction with each other throughout the Bible (see Matthew 28:19; John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; and 1 Peter 1:2). The wondrous mystery of it though is that all three are one; that is, each one is the other. 'It is not enough to say that He is 'a god,' that He is godlike, or that He is divine. The Bible teaches that He is God.' (MacDonald)
In the third chapter of Exodus when Moses was being commissioned by God at Horeb (the mountain of God) to proceed to Egypt and deliver the Israelites from their misery under the Egyptians, in verse 11 'Moses said to God, 'Suppose I go to the Israelites'and they ask me [speaking of God], 'What is His name?' Then what shall I tell them?'' God answered in verse 14, '. . . I Am who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I Am has sent me to you.'' It is clear here that God's name for Himself is 'I Am.' This is an expression of self-existence. In other words, God is the only being throughout space and non-space who has had no beginning nor will ever have an end. He simply is! He is totally self-existing, totally self-sufficient and totally omnipotent (all powerful). Is it no wonder that in John 8:58,59 the Jews attempted to stone Jesus once He said, 'I tell you the truth . . . before Abraham was born, I Am!' In this passage Christ was clearly using God's name to refer to Himself, and the Jews hated Him for it. They still do. There are many other scriptures that indicate Jesus and God are one. See John 10:38; 12:45; 14:7-10 and 1 Timothy 3:6. Jesus made it crystal clear when He said in John 10:30, ' . . . I and the Father are one.' Make no mistake about it, Jesus is God!
Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.
In these two verses the Apostle John reveals three other facts about Jesus Christ.
First, Jesus Christ was the means or conduit whereby God created all things. The King James Version of the Bible often uses the word 'by' instead of 'through,' but the meaning is the same. Not only did God in conjunction with Christ create all things, He did it 'in the person' of Jesus Christ. See what it says of Christ in verse ten, 'He was in the world, and . . . the world was made through Him . . .' Notice the Apostle Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 8:6, '. . . there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things come and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came . . .' Speaking of Christ the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:16 says, 'For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things were created by Him and for Him.' Again when Paul is speaking of God in Hebrews 1:2 he declares, '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.' And then speaking of Christ in verse 10 he states, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.' In the King James Version Hebrews 11:3 reads, 'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God . . .' We know by the first two verses in John that the Word of God is Christ. So we see that God the Father through God the Son made all things. The same is true of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalms 104:30), which argument only confirms the Trinity as previously discussed.
'He Himself was not a created being; rather He was the Creator of all things. This includes mankind, the animals, the heavenly planets, the angels-all things visible and invisible. Without Him nothing was made that was made. There can be no possible exceptions. If a thing was made, He made it.
Second, Jesus Christ was life. The term 'life' is prominent (37 times) in this gospel, while no other New Testament book uses it more than 17 times. The Greek word for 'life' in this application signifies life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, and which He gave to Jesus to have in Himself. John 5:26 states, 'For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.' This is none other than eternal life. From this life man has become separated due to the consequence of the Fall within the Garden of Eden, which has been man's plight from there on out. Ephesians 4:18 says it this way, 'They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God . . . .' Fortunately, Jesus came to rectify this situation. Hear the words of Christ in John 10:10, '. . . I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full [more abundantly, KJV].' Hear the words of 1 Timothy 1:10, 'But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' Jesus is in fact the only source of life, for it is written in 1 John 5:12, 'He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.' And finally hear it confirmed by the words of Christ Himself. John 3:15,16, '. . . that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.' John 11:25, '. . . I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. . . .' John 14:6, '. . . I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' Finally, the Apostle Paul declares in Romans 5:21, '. . . so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Jesus Christ is eternal life. Only eternal life could overcome and destroy eternal death. It is only through faith in Christ that one may become united with Jesus, who is eternal life. This is the primary theme of the Gospel of John (John 20:31).
'This does not simply mean that He possessed life, but that He was and is the source of life. The word here includes both physical and spiritual life. When we were born, we received physical life. When we are born again, we receive spiritual life. Both come from Him.' (MacDonald)
Third, Jesus Christ is the light of men. Consider that light is primarily a luminous emanation that enables the eye to discern form and color. Light requires an organ designed for its reception. Matthew 6:22, 'The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.' Where eyes are absent or impaired, light is useless. Natural man is incapable of receiving spiritual light, because he lacks the capacity for spiritual truths. 1 Corinthians 2:14, 'The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.' Light is an illumination source. In this respect, Jesus was and is the Great Illuminator, from whom comes all spiritual illumination. He said it best in John 8:12, ' . . . I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' In the light of Christ man understands that he not only is a sinner but that he is incapable in and of himself to overcome his sin and achieve a position pleasing to God. In the light of Christ, man then understands that only Christ was able to pay for his sins, and that only by trusting Christ and His sacrifice on the cross may he have eternal life. Once a person receives Christ Jesus as personal Savior, he/she then becomes a child of light. Ephesians 5:11, 'For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.' 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 'You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.' Being 'children of light' brings with it a responsibility of sharing the light, the Light of Christ. Acts 13:47, 'For this what the Lord has commanded us: 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'' How may we accomplish this? Heed Romans 13:12, 'The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.' What is this armor? Romans 13:14, ' . . . clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ . . .' Consider how in the physical world a bright light is easily and distinctively seen in the darkness of night, how it is directional indicating a path to a brighter area. How much more in a world of total spiritual darkness should 'children of light' be easily and distinctly seen, directing all within the darkness to the brightness of Christ.
'The same One who supplied us with life is also the light of men. He provides the guidance and direction necessary for man. It is one thing to exist, but quite another to know how to live, to know the true purpose of life, and to know the way to heaven. The same One who gave us life is the One who provides us with light for the pathway we travel.' (MacDonald)
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Here the 'light' is Christ, and the 'darkness' is mankind. One is sinless and truth; the other is sinful and a lie. One is righteousness; the other is evil. One is eternal life; the other is eternal death. Christ spoke in John 3:19, 'This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.' As was seen in 1 Corinthians 2:14 above, man in darkness is unable to understand the truth, which is that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. To the degree that Christians by faith allow Jesus Christ, the 'Light of men,' to flow through them by means of the Holy Spirit, they will be effective as individual lights in this world of total spiritual darkness. As Christians we must understand that it is only the Holy Spirit working in us who can enlighten the understanding of any person to the eventual acceptance of Jesus Christ.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through Him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
In the Gospel of John the name 'John' always refers to John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the human agent 'sent from God' for the purpose of introducing the Word, i.e., the Light and the Life, to humanity. He was sent to awaken all persons to their need of God, to prepare the way for the coming Christ and to point them to the correct path to reach God, which was by faith in Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was born to Zechariah, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-80). Many Jews of that day wondered if he was Elijah, since they remembered Elijah had not died (2 Kings 2:11) and thought he would return. John emphatically stated that he was not Elijah (John 1:21). This appears to be in contrast to what Jesus said regarding John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14, 'and if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.' Essentially Christ meant what 'an angel of the Lord' had told Zechariah about John in Luke 1:17, 'And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.' Others asked if John the Baptist was the 'Prophet' of Deuteronomy 18:15-18, but again John answered 'No' in verse twenty one.
John the Baptist came 'as a witness to testify.' This was the purpose for which God sent him. The noun 'witness' or 'testimony' is used 14 times and the verb 'testify' 33 times in this gospel, in both cases more often than anywhere else in the New Testament. The Greek word for 'witness' (3140 - Strong's Concordance) is one that connotes the telling of truth, as in court. John the Baptist in essence was giving testimony to the good news of the coming Savior, which testimony would stand the test in the highest court of all, i.e., the one in which God Almighty is the Judge.
To what did John the Baptist testify, or, better yet, of whom did John the Baptist testify? Here verse 7 it states, 'He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.' It is clear that the light refers to the same light in verses 4 and 5, i.e., the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Those who heard John's testimony were not to 'believe in' him, but 'through him' they were to believe in Jesus Christ. John was the conduit for the message of salvation by grace through faith in God's Son. It is a mistake to believe that John the Baptist spoke only of the 'gospel' of repentance. True he initiated God's message with 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.' The Jews of that day were consumed with all the laws and rituals passed down through the years since they were delivered out of their bondage in Egypt. Their focus was not on the spirit behind what God had placed before them, but in their ability to keep these precepts and practices to the letter. They were obsessed in a system of works, and believed it was up to them to achieve God's plan of eternal life. It was from this system of works that John the Baptist said they should 'repent.' By this John meant they were to 'change their attitude' or 'turn completely around' from such thought. They were to turn from the sin (if you please) of attempting to save themselves, simply because this was an impossible task under the Law.
But John did not stop with the declaration of 'repentance.' He went on to point to Jesus Christ, the Son of God who would take away the sins of the world, and impress upon his audience that it is only by believing in Him that one could obtain salvation. This is most clearly seen in John's words to those who, when arguing about ceremonial washing, brought up the topic of Jesus (John 3:24-35). After some lengthy remarks regarding Jesus, and speaking specifically about the Christ, John stated, 'The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.' It can't be any clearer than that. John's complete message therefore was that those who thought they could come to God through their own works, i.e., keeping the Law and rituals, were to turn from this (repent) and place their trust (believe) only in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation.
The Apostle John made it quite clear in verse 8 that John the Baptist was not the Light, that is, he was not Jesus, but he was only a witness declaring the truth of the coming Light,'The true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.' (verse 9) These verses then are the start of the Apostle John's primary purpose for writing this gospel, i.e., 'But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.'(verse 20:31)
Verse 9 also confirms that even though other persons down through the ages have claimed to be guides and saviors, Jesus Christ of Whom John the Baptist witnessed was and is the genuine and only true Light. This Light shines on all people irrespective of nationality, race or background. It reveals man in his true character. By His perfect character, Christ reveals man in all his imperfection. The dust and dirt in a room cannot be seen when it is dark inside. Once a light is introduced all the dust and dirt is illuminated. Christ, the Light, came and revealed man as he actually is.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
In this verse the word 'world' has different meanings. In the first place (He was in the world) it refers to the physical earth. Christ (God) was incarnate, i.e., took upon Himself human form and flesh. In this form, with all the limitations it imposed, He occupied time and space. This alone represents an unbelievable sacrifice by Almighty God. For God to subject Himself in any capacity to the limitations and frailties of man is inconceivable. And yet this represents only the 'tip of the iceberg' when it comes to the enormity of the sacrifice God made for the salvation of man.
The second use of the word (though the world was made through Him) not only refers to the physical earth but also refers to all living creatures on it, those who were, who are and who are to come. This goes back to verse 3, which declares that God the Father through God the Son created all things. See the prior comments on this verse.
The third use of the world (the world did not recognize Him) refers to those human beings who lived around and who had contact with Him during His earthly sojourn. These were the fortunate ones, the privileged ones. These were the men and women at 'ground zero.' They were able to see God in human form (see Hebrews 1:3). They experienced His words, His love, His kindness, His wisdom, His healings and others miracles of His. They experienced God in person, a glorious event to which all Christians should look forward. Yet they rejected Him. The fact is that the day is coming that all men and women will experience this, some to glory and some to grave dishonor.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-14)
The day is coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. But for so many it will be a transition from 'throne to thrown,' as we see in the above passage. Those who have not accepted by faith the Lord Jesus Christ, the act that records their names in the Book of Life, will be judged by their works in so far as eternal life or death is concerned. This is the only format in which man's deeds or works will impact upon his salvation. They won't suffice! For 'all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.' Man's works/deeds are able to achieve for him only one destination, the Lake of Fire.
With this in mind, how much more terrible is the remaining portion of this verse, i.e., the world did not recognize Him. Not only did those fortunate and privileged ones not understand that Christ was in fact the coming Messiah for whom they were looking; but even if they did, they rejected Him (His right and authority) as such. This they did because they were unwilling to change from their self-centered, self-serving and sinful ways. They were unwilling to turn (repent) to Him by simply receiving Him and believing that He was whom He claimed to be. And because of this, the day is coming when they shall bow before His throne and will be forced to confess Him as Lord, only to find that their names are not recorded in the Book of Life and then be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.
The word 'own' in this verse is listed in different genders and thereby has two different meanings. In the first place (He came to that which was His own) it is in the neuter gender. This refers to 'things' and means all that belongs to Him. In this case it refers to all creation, for certainly all belongs to (is the property of) the Creator.
In the second place (but His own did not receive Him) it is in the masculine gender. This refers to 'His own people,' the nation of Israel to which He belonged. Even though God from the beginning proclaimed through His established rituals and prophets the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to come down through the linage of Abraham, 'His own' would not recognize or receive Him. Even though Jesus came to the place He had created and had a right to possess, those who inhabited it turned Him away in rejection.
'He was not trespassing on someone else's property. Rather, He was living on a planet which He Himself had made. His own (people) did not receive Him. In a general sense, this might refer to all mankind, and it is true that most of mankind rejected Him. But in a special sense, the Jewish nation was His chosen, earthly people. When He came into the world, He presented Himself to the Jews as their Messiah, but they would not receive Him. (MacDonald)
Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Although I am tempted to wax eloquent on these two verses, I find I can do no better than two established commentaries, one from the 'NIV Bible Commentary' and the other from 'Vine's Concise Dictionary of Bible Words.' A sharing of these will greatly illuminate your understanding and appreciation of these two verses.
NIV Bible Commentary
Just as there is a sharp antithesis in vv.4-5 between darkness and light, so here is an equally direct contrast between rejection and reception. In spite of the many who rejected the Word, there were some who received him. This provides the initial definition of 'believe' (GK 4409) by equating it with 'receive.' When we receive a gift, we demonstrate our confidence in its reality and trustworthiness. We make it part of our own possessions. By being so received, Jesus gives to those who receive Him a right to membership in the family of God.
'Become' indicates clearly that people are not the spiritual children of God by natural birth, for we cannot become what we already are. This verb implies a change of nature. 'Not of natural descent' excludes a purely physical process; 'nor of human decision' rules out the result of any biological urge; 'or a husband's will' shows that this kind of birth is not merely the outcome of a legal marriage. The relation is spiritual, not biological. There is a connection with the concept of the new birth as elaborated in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus (vss. 3:3-8).
Vine's Concise Dictionary of Bible Words (on 'Right' the noun)
exousia (1849), 'authority, power,' is translated 'right' in the RV, for KJV, 'power,' in John 1:12; Rom. 9:21; 1 Cor. 9:4,5,6,12 (twice),18; 2 Thess.. 3:9, where the 'right' is that of being maintained by those among whom the ministers of the gospel had labored, a 'right' possessed in virtue of the 'authority' given them by Christ, Heb. 13:10; Rev. 22:14.
exousia first denotes 'freedom to act' and then 'authority for the action.' This is first true of God, Acts 1:7. It was exercised by the Son of God, as from, and in conjunction with, the Father when the Lord was upon earth, in the days of His flesh, Matt. 9:6; John 10:18, as well as in resurrection, Matt. 28:18; John 17:2. All others hold their freedom to act from God (though some of them have abused it), whether angels, Eph. 1:21, or human potentates, Rom. 13:1. Satan offered to delegate his authority over earthly kingdoms to Christ, Luke 4:6, who, though conscious of His 'right' to it, refused, awaiting the divinely appointed time.
Through physical birth a person comes into this world. Through a second, spiritual birth, a person becomes a child of God. Verse 13 tells us three ways this 'second birth' does not occur and the only way that it can occur. It is not (1) passed on through natural birth, (2) accomplished by one's own human decision or (3) realized by the will of any man-no other man may save another. How then is one born again? This birth can only come from and by God.
A review and understanding of these two verses can only bring forth rejoicing from Christians. These verses affirm concretely once again that salvation is the 'gift' of God, that it is conditional only upon receiving (believing in) Christ Jesus as our Savior. Additionally, they affirm that once one receives Christ as Lord, that person is 'born again,' a spiritual 'child of God.' How glorious is God's plan!
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.
'The Word became flesh . . . .' Here we have amplification of the message contained in the first few words in verse 10, 'He was in the world . . . .' This speaks of the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ, i.e., the fact that God Almighty, without losing any of the essence or attributes of God, became man. The word 'became' is a word in the Greek denoting transition, which indicates that the 'Word' existed before He became flesh. This takes us back to verse 1 in which we learned that the 'Word' was 'in the beginning,' an expression that does not refer to a particular moment of time but assumes a timeless eternity.
God became true man in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, as well as others, referred to Himself as 'Son of Man.' See Matthew 8:20; 9:6; 11:19; 16:13; 18:11; 20:28; 24:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 18:8; John 1:51; 5:27; 6:53; 12:23; 13:31; Acts 7:56; Revelation 1:13. As true man, He shared in the common experiences of humanity, e.g., sorrow (Matthew 26:37), natural growth (Luke 2:40), hunger (Luke 4:2), eating and drinking (Luke 7:34), sleep (Luke 8:23), poverty (Luke 9:58) and weariness (John 4:6).
Let's consider how Christ became flesh, or, if you prefer, was made in human form. To gain an appreciation of this fact, we need to understand how Christ originally made man in the Garden of Eden and why Christ had to be born of a virgin into the human race.
Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. . . . the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 1:26,27; 2:7)
On the sixth day of creation God made man in His own image. God formed man from the dust of the ground; therefore, man's flesh came from the dirt much in the same way that all earth's creatures became flesh (Genesis 1:24). But God made man different from all the other creatures of earth, because God made (formed) man in His own image or likeness. After forming man from the dirt, God then made man a living being by breathing into man the breath of life. Here we see that God not only gave man physical life, but He also gave man spiritual life, i.e., the capability to live forever. In this fashion man was made in the image or likeness of God.
In Leviticus 17:11 &14 we are informed by God that the life of every creature [flesh] is in the blood; therefore, we know that after God formed the flesh of man from the dust of the earth, He introduced life into him and made him a living being. This life is contained in the blood. The relationship between 'life' and the 'blood' is very important in understanding the birth of Christ. M.R. DeHaan, M.D., in his book, 'The Chemistry of the Blood,' said this, 'The Bible is a Book of blood and a bloody Book . . . the only thing that gives life to our teaching and power to the Word of God is the fact that it is the blood which is the very life and power of the Gospel . . . Without the blood the Bible would be like any other book and of no more value, for the Bible plainly teaches that the life is in the blood.'
Life is mysterious. Science has never yet been able to define or fathom it. God says it is in the blood of the flesh, so there can be no life without the blood. In the body there are different kinds of tissue. There is skin, muscle, nerve, fat, gland, bone, connective tissues, etc. All these tissues are fixed cells, microscopically small and having a specific and limited function. Yet they have one thing in common. They all have access to the blood and derive their life from it.
A normal body contains approximately 5 quarts of blood. It is a fluid and therefore mobile. Since it is not limited to any one part of the body, it moves throughout the entire body touching all fixed cells as it supplies them with nourishment and carries off their waste products. This is a process called 'metabolism.' This circulation process repeats itself about every 23 seconds, so that every cell in the body is constantly supplied and cleansed. And by this process every cell in the body is in constant communication with every other cell in the body. 'This blood is the most mysterious of all tissues, being composed of scores of elements and compounds and strange chemical bodies, whose function is not fully understood, but all of which have to do with the mystery of life, for the 'life . . . is in the blood.' Once the blood fails to reach the cells and members of the body, they promptly die. . . .' (M.R. DeHaan, M.D.)
The life that God gave to Adam was dramatically altered once Adam ate of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God instructed Adam that he was free to eat from any tree in the garden except that one, '. . . for when you eat of it you will surely die.' (Genesis 2:17). So when Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he died - died spiritually and, ultimately, he died physically. Since life is in the blood, when Adam died, something happened to his blood. Sin affected his blood, not his body (flesh), except indirectly, because the blood supplies it. 'For this very reason sin is not in the flesh but in the blood and flesh can only be called sinful flesh because it is nourished and fed and sustained by sinful blood.' (DeHaan)
But when Adam by his sin died, so all mankind died. Adam's sinful blood has been passed on to all living human beings, and we therefore all share in Adam's sin.
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth . . .' (Acts 17:26,KJV)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
'Sin is transmitted through the blood and since God hath made of one blood all nations, the sin is transmitted to all of Adam's progeny. For in that one sinned all have sinned.' (DeHaan)
Because of this fact that the "life of the flesh is in the blood' and that due to Adam's sin the 'sinful nature' and spiritual death is passed on through the blood to all persons after Adam, it was necessary that Christ be born in such a manner so as not to share in Adam's blood.
'This very fact that sin is in the blood necessitated the Virgin Birth of Christ if He was to be a son of Adam and yet a sinless man. For this very reason Christ could partake of Adam's flesh, which is not inherently sinful, but He could not partake of Adam's blood, which was completely impregnated with sin. God found a way by which Jesus, born of a woman (not man), could be a perfect human being, but, because He had not a drop of Adam's sin in His veins, He did not share in Adam's sin.' (DeHaan)
. . . We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
'In the Bible, 'glory' often means the bright, shining light which was seen when God was present. It also means the perfection and excellence of God.' (MacDonald) Although Jesus veiled His glory in a body of flesh while on earth and prior to His resurrection, there are two ways in which He revealed His glory. First, He revealed His moral glory. This was the radiance of His perfect life and character. Second and after His resurrection, He revealed His transfigured glory. This was the visible outshining of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1,2). On this mount Peter, James and John were given a preview of the splendor that the Lord Jesus will have when He comes back to earth and reigns for a thousand years. The apostle John is probably referring to both kinds of glory in this verse.
. . . the glory of the One and Only . . .
Here it is speaking of the uniqueness of Christ. Although all who are born again are sons of God, there is truly only one Son of God. He is unique because (1) He had no beginning-He is eternal, (2) He is the Creator-He created all things, (3) He is the image of God-as the Word of God He is the perfect expression of God and (4) He is God.
. . . Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Christ's birth was supernatural, an act of God. 'The Savior was full of grace and truth. On the one hand, full of undeserved kindness for others, He was also completely honest and upright, and He never excused sin or approved evil. To be completely gracious and at the same time completely righteous is something that only God can be.' (MacDonald)
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