JOHN - Introduction to the Book of John Print E-mail

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOHN

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

January 24, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

Jn. 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

“God’s purposes always begin with a man (a seed), and then consummate in and through a people or nation (the harvest).  Jesus the singular, “first begotten” (Alpha), the “first” Word has multiplied Himself into a many-membered Man by the Spirit. Gal. 4:6 – Kelly Varner

 

“The Alpha and the Omega---the beginning and the ending of God’s design and desire in Christ, the first and the last---are Jesus and His ongoing expression, His Church.  Both comprise the Word incarnate, the Word made flesh!”  Kelly Varner

 

Logos denotes “the expression of thought” as embodying a conception or an idea.  Jesus is the “express image” of the Father (Heb. 1:3), the very character of God.  Logos is particular to John’s writings.  He uses this word seven times to unveil the Lord Jesus Christ as the incarnate “Word”!

 

Jn. 1:14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

1 Jn. 1:1: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with out eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.

 

1 Jn. 5:7:  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; these three are one.

 

Rev. 19:13: He was clothed with vesture dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word of God.

 

We have heard in the Charismatic Renewal that Logos is the written Word, and the Rhema is the living word, or the spoken word.  Both are correct, however the whole truth is both Logos and Rhema are written, and both are the Living Word (the Word made flesh, made visible).

 

2 Tim. 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

 

Logos embodies the whole Canon of Scripture which is the Word of God.  The Holy Bible the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, is the Word.  The Holy Scripture constitutes our infallible rule of faith and practice.

 

The Word was made flesh, and tabernacled Himself among us.  Jesus Christ is the eternal Word, the sum total of everything the Father wanted to say to humanity.  Jesus is the Logos, the fullness of the living Word (Col. 1:19; 2:9).  Our eternal God clothed Himself with time.  Jesus is eternity wrapped in time.  God wrapped Himself in flesh; then Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.

 

Rhema means “an utterance.”  Vine’s adds that Rhema means, “that which is said, a word, that is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing”-- in the singular, “a word.”  He goes on to say that Rhema (distinct from Logos) is to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  This reference according to Vine refers to individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance to speak forth under the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Logos is the Word of God.

 

Rhema is a word or scripture of God within the entirety, the totality of the Word.

 

Both are written.  Both are living, the Word made flesh, made visible---Jesus the Pattern Son, and His ongoing incarnation, the Church of the living God. 

 

Jesus is the Word, the Logos, made flesh.  Each of us is a word, a Rhema flowing out of Him, and then given a body, a temple to house the one who has chosen us and redeemed us for his Kingdom purposes.

 

1 Cor. 2:12: “Now we have received…the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are feely given to us of God.”

 

As we approach this awesome Gospel written by the man who knew the Word of God and touched Him in the flesh, Lord Jesus help us to fathom, to mine the depths, of all that is written.

 

For now, it is enough to know that we who were “in Him before the foundation of the world  (Eph. 1:4) have been selected out of the Lord Himself, and for Himself.  Our end is secure, as it was in the One who declared it from the beginning.

 

 Isa. 46:10: Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

 

Before we begin to swim in the depths of this incredible Gospel of John, let us get to know the man, John.

 

According to Theophylact, John was related to Jesus through the family of Joseph.  I do not have Holy Scripture to back that persuasion.  Theophylact wrote in the 11th century and had access to historical records which are no longer available to the scholars of the 21st century. 

 

 Scripture reveals to us that he and James the Elder are the sons of Zebedee.

 

Matthew 4:21: “Jesus going from there, saw two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets; and he called them.”

 

(James, the brother of John, was beheaded by Herod. (Acts 12: 1-2).

 

According to the Blessed Theophylactus of Ochrid (ca. 1050/60-ca. 1108), he states that John is said to have three mothers:

 

  1. Salome, wife of Zebedee, his natural mother. (Theophylactus and Strongs)
  2. Thunder, for he is a son of thunder.
  3. Mary, concerning whom the Lord said to John, Behold thy mother (Jn. 19:27).

 

John claimed the Lord loved him more than any of the disciples.  Perhaps like Theophylactus, we might consider that John has a pure heart and thus was entrusted with the gift of revelation knowledge.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8).  Indeed John delighted in mysteries of God which most men do not perceive.

 

John was the youngest of the Lord’s disciples.  He stayed with the Lord right up to the Ascension and then served the Jerusalem Church for a time as an elder.  He received the blessing of the Kingdom of God Jesus bestowed upon the apostles:

 

Luke 22: 28-29: You are those who have continued with Me in My trials.  And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as my Father bestowed upon Me.

 

The apostles received that bestowal and it became their utmost desire to continue operating in that Kingdom just like Jesus. 

 

It is believed John was 90 years old when he wrote the Gospel of John.  If ever there was a citizen of the First Century, it was John.  His tombstone could have read:

 

John – Son of Zebedee and Salome

Born… A. D. 1

Died…., A. D. 100

 

(There is difference of opinion as to how long John lived. – Some believed he lived to 123.)

 

According to well established tradition, we find John serving the seven churches of Asia Minor as pastor.  He assumed the leadership after the deaths of Peter, Paul and Timothy.  Persecutions had taken their toll of the disciples.  Now John is the last.  He alone could now record what Jesus actually said.

 

A horrible system of false teaching arose less than fifty years after our Lord ascended into heaven.  It had numerous forms (just like today), but essentially it denied the Deity of the Lord Jesus.  Scholars give it the name of Gnosticism.  These false teachers allowed that Christ was a unique personage, perhaps even “A” son of God, but he was not equal with God.

 

Outwardly, Jesus was just an ordinary person.  He came from a peasant family, arriving in this world amid crude and humble circumstances.  He grew to manhood in obscurity working at a carpenter’s bench.  There was nothing about Him to suggest He was the Lord of Glory except Angels attended his birth, Kings brought him gifts, and Shepherds worshipped him.  That should give some people pause that perhaps He was the Christ.

 

When Jesus began His ministry, it was not with the pomp and fanfare of the great of this world.  Instead, He was meek and lowly.  Even His companions were unlettered fishermen.

 

The strength of the Holy Spirit is made perfect in weakness.  John was a fisherman and the son of a fisherman, not just ignorant of higher Greek and Judaic learning, but completely illiterate, as Luke says in Acts 4:13:  When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

 

John’s native town, Bethsaida, was lowly and obscure; a place of fishing, not of learning.  Behold how a man like this---unlettered, unknown, and insignificant---acquired such spiritual power that he thundered forth doctrines taught by none of the other Evangelists.  The gospels of the other Evangelists dealt with the life of Christ in the flesh and made no clear distinction of His existence before the ages. 

 

He made it perfectly clear that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father before all ages.  The great John clearly set forth the spiritual begetting of Christ declaring on record that The Word was made flesh.

 

Some maintain that the Orthodox---the rightly believing Christians---ask John to write about Christ’s eternal generation in order to refute the heretics who were teaching that the Savior was merely a man. 

 

It is also said that when John read the books of the other Evangelists, he marveled at the accuracy of their narratives on every point, and judged them to be sound and unbiased.  But what the other Evangelists had not stated clearly, or had omitted, John clarified, developed, or added to his own Gospel, which he wrote thirty-two years after the ascension of Christ while living in exile in Patmos.

 

As did the Apostle Paul before him, he dictates, using flawless Greek.  His readers were Gentiles, for Christianity was now flourishing among them.  This accounts for the numerous explanations of Jewish customs which would have been familiar to any Jew. 

 

John would have before him all of Paul’s letters plus the three gospels written at least 35 years earlier.

 

 

Paul wrote letters to people and churches.  The other apostles addressed themselves to problems within the church.  Matthew, Mark and Luke gave the history of our Lord, desiring to preserve the record of what He did, and where He went, etc.  John writes to set forth the Lord’s claim to Deity.  This is why He presents Jesus as the Word of God.

 

The Gospels are narratives reporting how Jesus went here and there, doing this and that.  John selects only certain events from the life of the Lord and those as a means of presenting the long discourses which followed them.  He is far more interested in reporting what Jesus said after a miracle, than the event itself. 

 

Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the chief thing to come from Him are words.  He spoke and a storm subsided.  A word from Him and the blind saw, the lame walked and demons fled.  He called and Lazarus came from the grave.

 

Each of us is a Rhema word, chosen out of Him from before the foundation of the world.  The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of words.

 

Then and there, “in Him,” the pre-incarnate Logos, the Word of God marshaled an army of words, each chosen to be a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 3: 3-4).

 

Eph. 1:4: 

 

For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world

 

We are members of the Body of Christ in particular (1 Cor. 12:27).

 

Ps. 139:16: Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written…when as yet there was none of them. 

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body… (NIV)

 

In the volume of the book it is written of me… (Psa. 40:7; Heb. 10:7)

 

…you are a letter from Christ, written by us.  It is not a letter with pen and ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not one carved on stone, but in human hearts. (2 Co. 3:3).

 

In John’s day, Logos was a philosophical term which was popular with religious thinkers.  The True God, they said, the Absolute God, was unknowable, but there were evidences of His workings, interventions and manifestations within space and time. 

 

About A.D. 50, some forty years before John wrote his gospel, Philo, a Jew of Alexandria, began to use a word that lumped all the knowable things of God into a single package.  That word was Logos.  This word “Logos” compressed all the Jews and Greeks knew of the reasoning and manifestations of God. 

 

In John’s time, the thinking world was using the term Logos to indicate the revelation of the “Unknown God.”  John presents Jesus Christ of Nazareth to the world in the first fourteen verses of his gospel as the fullness of the Logos of God.

 

Without any apology John states bluntly, “This Logos is a Person.  I am going to identify Him to you.  He is none other than Jesus, the Christ of God. 

 

In this study, we will be meeting the words of Jesus.  This is a revelation of the Glory of God and the Kingdom of God through the person of Jesus Christ. 

 

I pray profound revelation will surface in our minds as we receive a fresh impartation of the Mind of God and the Word of God within each one of us.  His words are like other.  Once God said, Let there be light and there was light.  When the Word of God speaks, worlds appear.

 

When Jesus speaks, God is speaking.

 

John 6:63: The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and the are life.

 

As this Living Word penetrates our soul, miracles will happen.  Our faith will rise to new heights of worship.

 

Never spoke a man like this man! (Jn. 7:46)

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from K.J.V.; N.I.V. and N.K.J.V.

I entered into the labors of C. S. Lovett- passed to glory in 2012, Lovett’s Lights on John; Chosen for Greatness by Kelley Varner (1949-2009); The Gospel According to John by Blessed Theophylact. (1050/60-1108)

 
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