Sun, Jul 16, 2023

Jesus the Son

John 1:1-5 by Doug Gunkelman
John 1:1-5
Duration:11 mins

I have two fall Bible Studies, September to November, left before I retire.  These Monday night and Wednesday morning studies have always been well attended.  Since Covid, the Wednesday group hasn’t come all the way back.  I’m hoping to encourage some new people to gather with us this fall.  The study is entitled “Confronting Jesus – 9 Encounters with the Hero of the Gospels”.  You can purchases the book and the study guide from Lori in the office.  They’ll also be available in the narthex after the service.

Today, I’m going to give you a taste of the study by taking up the topic of chapter 2 – “Jesus the Son”.  The first question in the study guide for this chapter is this:  Which of these statements best represents your own thinking about Jesus at this point?

  • Jesus never said he was God. The claims about him were exaggerated over time.
  • Jesus did claim to be God, but he was deluded.
  • Jesus claimed to be God because he truly is.
  • I’m not sure. Still thinking all of this through.

Today, we’ll take a quick look at all 4 gospels and what they say about “Jesus the Son”.

Luke gives us a detailed account of Mary’s encounter with an angel.  The angel told her that she was going to have a baby, that she should name him Jesus, and that he would be called “the Son of the Most High”.

Mary asked how this would happen, since she was a virgin.  The angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God”.

This news is wild.  In the Old Testament there are multiple instances of God enabling infertile women to conceive.  But a virgin being made pregnant by God himself is unprecedented.  Luke claims that by his Holy Spirit, the everlasting God of all the universe had somehow fathered one small human being, who was laid in a manger because that was no room in the Inn.

That’s Luke.  Matthew tells us the story from Joseph’s perspective.  Mary and Joseph were betrothed; a more binding equivalent to our modern-day engagement.  But then Mary was “was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit”.

Chris, if Savanna would have told you two years ago, before your wedding, that she was “with child from the Holy Spirit,” how would you have reacted?

Joseph is about to divorce her when an angel comes in a dream, explains the pregnancy is from God’s Spirit, and tells him to name the baby “Jesus” which means “Yahweh saves” and explained, “for he will save his people from their sins”.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call him Immanuel (which means God with us) (Matthew 1:22-23).

So, Jesus (Yahweh saves) and Immanuel (God with us) amount to the same thing.  Our sin has cut us off from God, but Jesus who is fully God and fully man – the one who in himself is “God with us” – has come to save us from our sin and bring us back into relationship with God.

Jesus the Son.  That’s Luke and Matthew.  Now Mark.

Mark begins by drawing together snippets from the prophet Isaiah, the book of Exodus, and the prophet Malachi.

Mark writes, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness:  Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:2-3).

Mark identifies the messenger as John the Baptist.  John the Baptist is the messenger preparing the way for the Lord himself.  He makes it clear that he is the warm-up act, just getting people ready for the main show:  “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7-8).

John the Baptist is so much less important than the coming Lord that he’s not even worthy to untie his shoes.  And yet, this coming Lord has human feet.  John dunks people into water as an act of spiritual washing, but Jesus will immerse them in the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus is baptized, the heavens are torn open, God’s spirit descends on Jesus like a dove (reredos), and a voice from heaven says,  “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:10-11). 

When Jia is baptized this morning, God’s spirit will enter into her through God’s word spoken as the water washes over her head, and God adopts her as one of His children.

Jesus the Son in the gospel of Mark. Luke, Matthew, and Mark – Jesus the Son.

Finally, the claim in John’s gospel that Jesus is divine, that Jesus is the Son of God is the most unmistakable yet.

While Matthew and Luke began with Jesus’ conception, Mark began with Jesus’ baptism, now John starts with the conception of the universe itself.  In Genesis 1:1 the Bible  begins, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.  John riffs on those world-birthing words in John 1:1-5 . . . 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him,

and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

The Greek word “logos” is translated “Word” – that was eternal, unchanging, and present from creation.  John presents Jesus as the Word who was with God and who was God from the beginning.  The everlasting one through whom all things were made has now stepped into his own creation.

John 1:14 . . . 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.

Like Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John’s gospel tells us in its own distinctive way that Jesus is the one true God made flesh.  He tells us that no star in the sky or creature on earth was made without the Word who became flesh in Jesus Christ.  This means that you and I were made by Jesus too.

If this is true, it means that Jesus knows you and I – embryo to grave, back to front, head to toe, thought to thought.  It means he knows you better than you know yourself, because he made each inch of you.

Jesus the Son is the Creator, who created us, you and I, in his image.  As our creator, Jesus the Son, shepherds us through this life, through the gate of death into eternity.  In the gospel of John, Jesus describes how he is with us all the way. . .

  • I am the bread of life (John 6:35, 48).
  • I am the light of the world (John 8:12).
  • I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7).
  • I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25).
  • I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14).
  • I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
  • I am the true vine (John 15:1).

On the night that Jesus was arrested, he told his disciples that he was about to leave them so that he might prepare a place for them in his Father’s house.  He said he’d come back and take them to be with him.

Jesus added, “You know the way to where I am going”.

One of his disciples, Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going.  How can we know the way?”

Jesus replied with these breathtaking words . . . John 14:6-7 . . . 6Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Jesus is the way to get to God.  Jesus the Son.  But he’s not just the path.  He’s the destination too.  Many religious leaders teach truth.  But Jesus is the Truth.

  Many give guidance for life.  But Jesus is the Life.  Apart from him is only death.  To know the Son is to know the Father too.

So, what does it mean for us that the Creator God became a man in Jesus Christ?  It means that you and I are completely and fully known.

It means we’re more fully known than a mother knows her baby.  It means the one who made us lived and died, hungered and thirsted, sweat and bled for love of us.  It means that the one who made the stars wept for us.  It means the one who stretched out space, stretched out his arms and died for us.

Jesus, the everlasting Son of God, turns defeat into victory for anyone who follows him. It means that God who made the universe has come for you and me.

If you’ve learned from this Bible study sermon about Jesus the Son, come join me this fall to learn about Jesus the Jew, Jesus the King, Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the Lover, Jesus the Servant, Jesus the Sacrifice, and Jesus the Lord.