Friday, February 27, 2015

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 1, 2015

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(Telling others about JESUS)
(John 1)

In John chapter 1, verses 1-14, the Apostle John seeks to put the Word of GOD into perspective, and to show us the true power of its meaning, and, its effect upon the world. Here John reminds us that the “Word of GOD” is already here, and in fact, has been with us since the beginning of time, and it simply cannot be, nor, will not be disregarded. We cannot ignore GOD’s Word and get away with it. It has always been, is now, and will forever be synonymous with life. It is effective and penetrating, and it absolutely scrutinizes all of our thoughts, desires, and intentions.
In the biblical Greek, the term used for “word” is “logos” (log-os), and it, more or less, emphasizes the message of that which is spoken. Here John expresses to us that our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST personifies the Word of GOD, in the flesh. He is trying to get us to understand that one of the key reasons for JESUS’ “first advent” was and is, for “communication”. JESUS is the “Spoken Word”, and “Living Expression” of all which GOD ever sought to communicate to us about HIMSELF. John is saying, particularly in verse 1, that, JESUS is both, “identical to” the GOD of the Old Testament concept, and yet, is “distinct from” HIM.
One can imagine how stunning this must have been to the people of the first century. Even today, many people have a problem with embracing this concept, which has now become familiar, and yet still remains just as mysterious as it ever was. Here though, we can see that, while the concept may be difficult, John’s teaching seems to be very clear. He is saying that JESUS existed eternally with GOD the FATHER, as one GOD, yet, with a distinct and separate personality. Those of us, who understand the concept which unity in a family and marriage represents, can certainly grasp the concept of “unity as one” between the FATHER and the SON.
In John chapter 1, verses 6-34, the Apostle John writes of the fulfilling of the role of the “witness”, John the Baptist, that had first been prophesied by Isaiah some 700 years earlier (Isaiah 40:3), and then again by the prophet Malachi 300 years later (Malachi 3:1). John the Baptist was born to be the “forerunner” for JESUS’ ministry, and he fulfilled his mission well. He came to announce the coming of the “bearer” of the gift of Salvation.
It is true that in human society, if someone hands someone else a gift, and that person doesn’t perceive that gift to be real, then they probably aren’t going to reach out and accept it. Our believing in GOD, in all of HIS fullness, can be likened to that. GOD is giving us the gift of eternal life through HIS only begotten SON, JESUS the CHRIST. Believing in HIM involves seeing HIM as real, and, as coming from GOD, and then, reaching out and accepting HIM. By accepting JESUS, one also accepts GOD the FATHER’s wonderful gift of eternal life in Heaven, and, at one and the same time, becomes what they weren’t before, and that is, quite simply, “a child of GOD”.
JESUS came into the world to teach us how to live our lives perfectly under GOD, and, to teach us how to die and live again with GOD. HE taught us how to give and forgive, and, HE taught us how to love, and how to give thanks. John points to JESUS as being the LIGHT of the world, a true light for all people. In HIM we see exactly what GOD is like, and only HE can usher us into GOD’s OWN glorious presence, without fear, without guilt, and, without shame.
The initial contact that JESUS made with men who would later become HIS disciples was made when John the Baptist pointed CHRIST out to two of his own disciples by saying, “Behold the LAMB of GOD”. The two men curiously followed after JESUS, and when the MESSIAH looked around and saw them, HE asked them what it was that they wanted. The two men requested to know where it was that JESUS was staying, and JESUS invited them to come and see.
It was about four o’clock in the afternoon, and they went with JESUS and abided with him for the remainder of the day. One of these men was named Andrew, and he was the brother of Simon Peter. After spending the afternoon with JESUS, the first thing Andrew thought about doing was bringing his brother Peter on board, by giving him the good news about CHRIST. He runs and tells his brother that he has found the long-awaited MESSIAH, and he then takes him back to meet JESUS.
Those three men were the first to get to know JESUS in the literal sense. Today we get to know JESUS through HIS written word, and by associating with HIS people, or those who genuinely believe on HIM. The word, “know”, in John 1:31 means to “recognize”. John the Baptist knew JESUS spiritually, (He saw the doves descend on JESUS and remain with HIM) and because of that, he recognized JESUS was without sin. That is why John initially refused to Baptize JESUS (Matthew 3:14). It was because John’s baptism was for sinners, and he knew JESUS, WHO was without sin, had no reason for repent, and thereby, had no need for his baptism. He probably felt that, to baptize the MESSIAH, at best, would be an insult, and at worse, would be blasphemous.
The next day JESUS decided to go to Galilee, where HE found Philip and invited him to be HIS disciple. Philip was a native of Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Now the first thing Philip does, is, go and find Nathanael, who was an honest man, to tell him the good news about CHRIST. After learning that JESUS was from Nazareth, a curious Nathanael asks, “Can anything good come from there?”
After coming face to face with JESUS, JESUS shows Nathanael a bit of HIS supernatural knowledge by telling him of HIS knowledge of Nathanael’s character and reputation of being an honest man. JESUS also discloses to him that HE had already seen him “underneath a fig tree”, an expression that often meant “in a place of safety and leisure”.
Impressed by JESUS’ knowledge of him, Nathanael was prompted to confess JESUS as both the “SON of GOD” and the “KING of Israel”. Throughout Scripture, JESUS refers to HIMSELF as the “SON of Man” more than 80 times, and in this particular passage, we are presented with one such occasion. It is a term that speaks of HIS humanity and suffering, and, of HIS work as the ideal man. In other words, HE sought to convey to us that HE had come to be a living, human example of what the life of every man, who wishes to worship GOD in Spirit, and in Truth, should be like.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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