What is #samepagesummer? I was encouraged by a brother in our church to jump on the NT Bible reading train, and ask our church to jump on too. I’m thankful for friends who encourage friends to get their noses in the Bible minds all wrapped up in the truth. So, #samepagesummer is a summer bible reading plan that aims to unite the church and literally get us on the same page of the scriptures. This reading plan practically works out as reading four chapters each day to read through the entire New Testament from June 3rd through August 31st. You can find this plan printed for you in our church lobby, or download the reading plan on any one of four apps (YouVersion App, Bible Reading Plan App, Christ Church App, Olive Tree App).
Who is Jesus?
This is “the” question. This is the question that the apostle John seeks to answer for his readers. Certainly, God’s Spirit through the apostle’s pen will answer a great many questions along the way, but everything else seems to be peripheral in the apostle’s view. John wrote his answer to “the” question for us, and his motive for writing in the end of his work. John 20:31 says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.“
Jesus is the Divine Son
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
The Apostle begins like Moses begun, “In the beginning”. But Jesus’ beginning was not like Adam’s. Jesus eternally existed with the Father and the Spirit. This wasn’t a “beginning” for Jesus at all. The “beginning” that John speaks of is the creating work of the Almighty who made the heaven and the earth ex-nihilo (out of nothing). Jesus was before that “beginning” because he was in fact the maker of heaven and earth according to John. What a bold and beautiful way to begin to answer the question of who is Jesus.
These first three verses of the book bring the reader to attention. Either John is true and I ought to worship this Jesus, or the author is false and ought to reject this Jesus. This is not a mere historical document that chronicles the life of a wonderful man. This gospel according to John the apostle has elevated the stakes because believing that Jesus was a historical figure is not far enough. John wants his reader to see his aim. Jesus is God “dwelt among us”. Hallelujah!
Jesus is the Divine Propitiation
These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
Now our attention is pointed in the first chapter to the motive of John’s gospel, “that believing ye might have life through his name”. John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, but what does that imply? Remember who the Baptizer is and where the Baptizer is. John the Baptist is a Jewish prophet sent from God to the Israelites of the first century.
When John the Baptist spoke about a lamb in connection with taking away sins (atonement), his Jewish audience understood that allusion very well. For thousands of years the Jews had been shedding the blood of lambs to make atonement for their sins according to the law of God given through Moses.
The Baptist’s declaration was shocking due to the uniqueness of the claim. What was so unique? Certainly declaring the world be be sinful wasn’t unique at all. Declaring the need for an atoning sacrifice to appease the wrath of God wasn’t unique either. The unprecedented claim was that a human person was going to be a propitiation for the sins of the world.
However, this wasn’t any human person. Jesus was the God-man who would willingly obey the Father in fulfilling the divine law. Jesus’ active obedience (sinless life) merited for us righteousness. Righteousness is what we lost in the garden through Adam, and all failed to regain due to our own sinful thoughts, words, and actions. Through Jesus’ passive obedience (sacrificial death), He willingly accepted the divine wrath deserved by us for our sin. So now, by the grace of God alone, through faith in Christ alone, sinners are justified (declared righteous) to the glory of God alone. Amen!