Thursday, December 12, 2019

Advent Day 12: World


Advent Words Day 12: World

"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." John 1:10-11

Like many of the other words in John's prologue, world is a key word throughout John's gospel. He uses the word 78 times in this book, which is 42% of its usage in the whole New Testament.

In today's passage we see that Jesus was in the world, the world that was created through Him. And yet, that very same world, which He created, did not recognize Him. The Creator was not recognized, not known, by His creation. The Greek word used for "recognize" in this verse is ginosko, it means to know something intimately, to know by personal experience, by relationship.

John goes on to say that He came into the world to his own, but they did not receive Him. The very same people who had received prophecy after prophecy throughout the Old Testament era regarding the coming of the Messiah, didn't even recognize Him when He came. And thus they did not receive Him. Later in the book John gives us a reason for their lack of recognition:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed." John 3:19-20

Sin blinded them to the knowledge of who Jesus really was. Yet, despite this rejection, the Father's love for the world was so great that He sent His Son into it. And this is the Incarnation we celebrate through Advent and Christmas. See God's great love for the world:

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17

"They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:27


"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world." John 12:46-47
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33
Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world! 
Joy to the World, the Lord has come! 





Join me in responding creatively to the Advent Words in John's prologue. You can share your creative response on Instagram using #adventwords2019 or join the Words Challenge Facebook Group and share your creative response there. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Advent Day 11: Light


Advent Words Day 11: Light

"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." John 1:9

In John's gospel, he proves Jesus to be the true Light, full illumination of God. Light illuminates; Illuminate (v) has a number of meanings - 1. To give light; to supply or brighten with light: to make brighter and more visible. 2. To enlighten spiritually or intellectually. 3. To shed light upon; clarify.In every sense and definition of the word illuminate, Jesus demonstrates them all. John makes it clear that God came into the world through the incarnation to bring His light fully to the world.

John tells us that Jesus gives light and is the source of light. 
"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." John 1:4 
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” " John 8:12

John tells us that Jesus came into the world to bring spiritual enlightenment. Light is often used by John as a metaphor for the truth and knowledge of God. It can also bring to light the true nature of man.
"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world." John 8:12
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." John 3:19-21

Finally, John tells us that Jesus is the light that reveals who God is and what He is like. Jesus fully illuminates God and makes Him visible. Commentator Bob Utley says, "We see the Father through the Son."
"Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." John 1:16-18
"The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:45-46
"If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for  us." Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." John 14:7-10
Jesus is the illumination of God, the Father. He lights our way, gives us light, sheds light on spiritual truth, and reveals clearly who God is by illuminating the Father's life in His own. Jesus is the light of the world!





Join me in responding creatively to the Advent Words in John's prologue. You can share your creative response on Instagram using #adventwords2019 or join the Words Challenge Facebook Group and share your creative response there. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Advent Day 10: Witness


Advent Words Day 10: Witness

"He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light."  John 1:7-8


In today's verses we continue to look at John the Baptist. Yesterday we saw that John was sent by God. Today we will see his purpose. The Apostle John tells us that John the Baptist's role was that of a witness. A witness is one who provides evidence and gives first hand eye-witness knowledge. As the verse says John came to "testify concerning the light". Light in Jewish tradition was one of the names of the Messiah. So John the Baptist's role as a witness was to prove Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. The goal of John's testimony concerning the light was that "through him all might believe". We come to faith through belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; we believe in Him through the witness of others.

John the Apostle makes it clear that John the Baptist was a witness to the light and not the light itself. It would appear that this was a common misconception in John's day. John the Baptist was a great man, but he continually made sure people knew about the One who is greater.

"John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” John 1:15

"He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” John 1:27

"This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " John 1:30

"He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
"Believing in the Light happens through a witness to the Light...Without a witness no one believes." ~John Piper


You can read full accounts of John's witness in John 1:19-34 and John 3:22-36.





Join me in responding creatively to the Advent Words in John's prologue. You can share your creative response on Instagram using #adventwords2019 or join the Words Challenge Facebook Group and share your creative response there. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Advent Day 9: Sent


Advent Words Day 9: Sent

"There was a man who was sent from God; his name was John." John 1:6

Our verse today brings John the Baptist into the Christmas story in John the Apostle's gospel. John the Baptist plays a significant role in the coming of the Messiah. His arrival and purpose in the story was foretold by the prophets:

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty." Malachi 3:1

"This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matthew 3:3 quoting Isaiah 40:3
The apostle John tells us in today's verse that John the Baptist was "sent from God". This phrase was used in the Old Testament of the sending of the prophets whose role was to speak for God. John the Baptist was sent from God to speak for God and prepare the people for the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. His role, as stated in Luke 1:17 was "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The Greek word John used for sent is apostello. It means more them simply being sent. It holds a special meaning of one who is commissioned to be a representative. One who is sent by God then is sent with the power and authority to speak for God, because he belongs to God and has been commissioned by God. Apostello is used in John's gospel more times than in any other book in the New Testament. It is used most often to remind us that the Father sent the Son.
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3
The word is then used in John's gospel by Jesus to his followers:
"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." John 17:18
"Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21

The father sent John the Baptist as a voice to prepare God's people for the coming Messiah. The Father sent the Son as a sacrifice to bring salvation to the people. The Son sends us into the world as His witnesses to share the One who brings salvation to the world.

You can read the story of John the Baptist's birth and commissioning in Luke 1:5-25, 57-80.





Join me in responding creatively to the Advent Words in John's prologue. You can share your creative response on Instagram using #adventwords2019 or join the Words Challenge Facebook Group and share your creative response there. 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Advent Day 8: Darkness



Advent Words Day 8: Darkness

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." John 1:5

There is a theme throughout the Bible of the contrast of light and dark. As we have already seen in the previous verse, Jesus is the source of light, and that light is the spiritual illumination that He shines in the hearts of mankind. Darkness, then, symbolizes the opposite. Darkness in Scripture symbolizes our fallen nature, darkened by sin and unbelief. Darkness describes the gloom and despair of those living without the presence and favor of God, of times when God seems far away.  The word light in this verse is present tense in Greek, which means that the light continually shines. The Light - Jesus - continually illuminates and reveals the darkness in the world and in our hearts and minds.

John uses this stark contrast between darkness and light throughout his writings. Here a  few examples:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

"Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going." John 12:35

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5

"Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining." 1 John 2:8

Isaiah prophesied that the Light that brings salvation would come and shine on God's people and free them from the darkness.

"The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." Isaiah 42:6-7

During the Advent season we look in expectation and anticipation for the arrival of the Light that brings salvation - Jesus Christ. He is the light who continually shines in the darkness and frees us from our sins. 

In the darkness, we need the light of Advent candles to remind us that our Light has come!





Join me in responding creatively to the Advent Words in John's prologue. You can share your creative response on Instagram using #adventwords2019 or join the Words Challenge Facebook Group and share your creative response there.