Jesus Christ, The Light & Life of the World :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

John 1:1-5, Genesis 1:1, 1 John 1:1, Colossians 1:16, John 14:6

Summary: John’s Gospel is based on his personal testimony and eyewitness account of what the Lord Jesus Christ taught, demonstrated, and affirmed to show His people and all humanity that He is God Incarnate come to live among us and fulfill the role of Redeemer and Savior.

Every writer who penned down the Holy Scriptures did so under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and reverence towards Almighty God. Every word was written down with the sense that these men – from all walks of life and who lived at different times in history – were in communication with the Sovereign of the universe, who has all creation under His control and direction.

The Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant account of God’s dealing with fallen humanity and of His plan to redeem us from the sins and rebellion that have polluted the pages of civilization and have brought death upon us. Were it not for His grace, mercy and love, we would be condemned to an eternity in hell where we would pay on our sin debt forever. We would suffer for the wickedness we have brought upon ourselves and this world that groans under the weight of our debauchery (John 17:17; Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18, 5:6-11, 8:26; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

We take the pages of Scripture for granted without realizing that what we possess is the direct record of God’s interaction with us, not merely a collection of good stories and moral lessons from the minds of sages and storytellers. We have forgotten how to handle the Word of God as the writers did, with a sense of unworthiness and a true holy fear of God, who were silent or made silent in His presence. We forget that these men and women were flesh and blood individuals with their own problems and times of triumph but were also aware that they were interacting with the will, plan, and design of the Almighty Sovereign Ruler of all. He has no rivals nor equals in terms of His power, wisdom, love, mercy. He can also bring terror and dread to any heart that would dare to reject or challenge Him in some misguided display of arrogance and pride.

Even in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, the twelve ordinary men who were chosen by Him stumbled, argued, and misunderstood His mission, to say the least. Yet, throughout the New Testament, each one who had the honor of writing either a Gospel, history, or letter did so with a sense of wonder and gratitude in that He entrusted them to tell His story, teach the people, and spread the message of salvation and true peace with God.

Each Gospel is presented as an account of the One who is the fulfillment of the prophecies within the Hebrew Scriptures and the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. These men and all who have truly followed Jesus have given testimonies of wonder, amazement, and eternal thanksgiving for the redemption He freely offered them and to us.

Why then do we treat the Word and its message of redemption in these times with indifference and apathy? Why do far too many of us approach the Holy Word as if it is no big deal in our lives? We certainly do not find that kind of attitude or viewpoint when we read the Gospel of John, certainly not in the opening verses. John presents the Lord Jesus, not just as the Promised Messiah and the Servant of God as did Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but primarily as God Incarnate, the Creator, Life, and Light of the World who came to Earth and fulfilled the role of Eternal Savior.

John wrote his Gospel, along with his three pastoral letters and the book of Revelation around the end of the first century (90-95 A.D.). By this time, he was an old man and had outlived the other apostles, who had met their deaths years before as martyrs for the faith. The young firebrand had been labeled a “Son of Thunder” for his brashness, temperament, and frequent calls for God’s fire to come down and destroy anyone who dared come against Jesus. Now he was known as the “apostle of love” to the new generation of Christians born years after Jesus ascended to heaven. By this time, the bulk of what would be the New Testament had been written and distributed to the churches who were meeting and spreading the Gospel amidst the might and persecution stemming from the Roman Empire.

John had spent time in prison and in exile for his faith in Christ that never wavered. It is said that he nearly died as a martyr by being boiled in oil at the order of the emperor. Yet, he was delivered from this fate, later to die a “natural” death around A.D. 98 in the city of Ephesus. He had mentored young believers who would carry the Gospel into the next century and beyond, such as Papias, Polycarp, and others who would be referred to as the “church fathers,” with their preaching and teaching of the Scriptures extending into the third and fourth centuries A.D.

John’s Gospel is the most theological of the four, dealing with the nature and person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the meaning of faith in Him. He is presented as the Divine Son of God as described in the titles given Him (John 1:1, 29, 41, 49, 8:12, 10:7, 9, 11, 14, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1, 5). He claims and affirms His Deity with the “I AM” statements (4:24, 26, 8:24, 28, 58, 13:19).

John gives no parables in his Gospel but does write of specific times where Jesus performed miracles (2:1-11, 4:46-54, 5:1-18, 6:6-13, 16-21, 9:1-7, 11:1-45) that demonstrated His person and mission. John’s purpose for writing his Gospel is found in 20:30-31:

“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been 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” (NASB).

John never wavered or compromised in His love for His Master and LORD. He never made His personal relationship with Jesus a source of status or superiority in that he had the firsthand experience and eyewitness testimony that the new generation of Christians did not. Nowhere in John’s account do you see him “dropping” his name but was always referring to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He wished to remain anonymous and out of the center of the story, always having his readers focus on Jesus instead.

None of the apostles ever used their office or personal knowledge in any way but to see themselves as mere servants and fellow elders (1 Corinthians 15:8; 1Peter 5:1-4; James 1:1; 1 John 1:1; Jude 1). Would that ministers today have that same kind of reverent and humble attitude in service to the Sovereign LORD. Would that all of us who claim to follow the Lord Jesus see the Word of God as holy, precious, and reverent as did those who wrote it, often at the cost of all they had and with their lives.

I took time away from writing in order to think upon these things and to recapture my own wonder, awe, and gratitude towards Him for allowing me, an unworthy servant, to reverently present these messages from His Word. I wanted to come before His Majesty with a renewed devotion of teaching the Scriptures out of love and compassion for Him and to spread the truth of the Gospel message to as many who will read these sermons and studies over time. I want to possess the same kind of attitude and respect towards the Holy Word of God as did those who first put pen to parchment.

That is what I want for you as well if you have come to the place where the reading and study of the Scriptures has gone flat or practically non-existent in your walk with Him.

Let’s get excited and eager once again to tell not just John’s story about Jesus, the Light and Life of the World, but of the entire collection of the Word of God. Time is running out, the harvest still needs to be collected, and you can’t do the job if your tools aren’t in working order.

My YouTube broadcasts titled “The Reality City Review” will be posted on Facebook, GETTR, Parler, and on my website when completed. My main area of discussion will be on the basics of the Christian faith but will also deal with prophetic issues and other topics as the Lord impresses upon me to handle.