God in The Flesh
Read John 20:30-31 (ESV)
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Why is it vital for salvation to understand that Jesus was God in the flesh?
Who was Jesus of Nazareth? Some say He was a good man and a good teacher. Some accept Him as a great prophet and religious leader. Others reject His teachings as narrow-minded, offensive, or blasphemous. Some people even outright reject His historical existence despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But those of us who call ourselves Christians should believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth as God in the flesh. The dual natures of Christ (fully God and fully man) is a doctrine that has been held and defended by historic Christianity for two thousand years.
The apostle John’s purpose for writing another Gospel account was to demonstrate that Jesus was God in the flesh. His account is different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke (the “synoptic gospels”) because he wasn’t trying to write a detailed or chronological history of Jesus’ life. Instead, John chose to focus on just seven of Jesus’ miracles and seven “I am” statements that Jesus made during His life. John wanted to provide strong evidence that Jesus was fully God and fully man so that people could accept the evidence for Christ, place their faith in Him and be granted eternal life. In today’s verses, John explicitly stated that because this was his purpose, he didn’t write down everything that Jesus ever did but only the sayings and signs that helped prove his point that Jesus was the God man.
John was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life as one of the chosen twelve. He often referred to himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). James, another disciple, was his brother. Together they were the sons of Zebedee. Mark 3:17 states that Jesus nicknamed them the “Sons of Thunder.” John must have had an especially close bond with Jesus because Jesus placed his mother, Mary, into John’s care at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27). After Jesus ascended, John became an influential church father. Galatians 2:9 refers to John, James, and Peter as “pillars” of the early church. Eventually, John ran afoul of the Romans, but we have no record that he was ever martyred. He was exiled to the island of Patmos where Jesus gave him the visions he recorded in Revelation (c.95 A.D.). John was the longest living apostle.
John opened his Gospel with a theologically heavy introduction of the incarnation. In this intro, John identified Jesus as “the Word”: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). John immediately pointed out Jesus’ divinity. In John 1:14, John wrote: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us….” By the end of just the first chapter, John had already emphasized the dual natures of Christ. He was fully God, and He was fully man.
Next, John recorded seven miracles or signs that demonstrate that Jesus is God: the water to wine miracle; the healing of an official’s son; healing the paralytic; feeding the 5,000; walking on water; healing a blindman; and raising Lazarus from the dead. He also mentioned the seven “I Am…” statements of Jesus: …the bread of life; …the light of the world; …the door; …the good shepherd; …the resurrection and the life; …the way, the truth and the life; and the true vine.
John also listed the sources that Jesus said testified to the truth about Him (John 5:31-46) “so that you may be saved” (v. 34). He emphasized four lines of evidence to establish the truth of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah and the Son of God: John the Baptist; Jesus’ own works; God the Father; and the Old Testament Scriptures. But of course, the greatest work that Jesus did to prove His identity as the Son of God is the resurrection. John concluded his account with a detailed record of Jesus’ appearances to many people after He rose.
But why is it critical that Christians today understand and believe that Jesus is God who became a human and lived among us? Because our salvation depends upon it! The only way for humans to be reconciled to God is through the shed blood of an innocent sacrifice. But all humans are born into Adam’s sin and have a sin nature. Because He is also divine, Jesus is the only human without a sin nature. He lived the perfect life that we never could and died as the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins. John’s Gospel shows us that Jesus really is God in the flesh and God with us.
Jesus, it doesn’t seem like enough to say thank You for leaving the glory of heaven to come to earth to live and die as a lowly human. But You did. And because You did, I have the assurance of eternal life in Your name. Thank You. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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