- Sermon Notes
What You Need to Know About Jesus
December 5, 2021
ILLUS – Who is the most influential person in history?
1. If you could travel back in time, to any period, and meet any person who is historically significant, who would you want to meet?
2. Tonight, as we embark on a new study through the Gospel of John, I am going to share with you why Jesus of Nazareth is the most influential person in all of human history, what we need to know about Jesus.
3. And at the end of my message, I am going to give you the opportunity to know Jesus personally because, as we will discover, to know Jesus is to know God.
1. The Gospel of John is one of the most beloved books of the Bible for in it we learn about Jesus Christ in a more personal, intimate way.
2. The Gospel was written by the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James. (Matthew 10:2)
3. John was a fisherman by trade who lived in Capernaum and fished on the Sea of Galilee.
4. John was one of the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:17) and was in Jesus’ inner circle which included Peter, James, and John. (Mark 5:37-38; 9:2-3; 14:33)
5. James and John were quite the dynamic duo.
a. Jesus called them “The Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17), perhaps because they requested permission from Jesus to “call down fire from heaven to consume” the Samaritans for their failure to welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:53-54) Jesus rebuked them and denied their request.
b. James and John also upset the other Ten Apostles when the brother’s mom asked Jesus to grant that her boys sit next to Him on His throne, one at His left and the other at His right. Again, it appears the request was denied. At the very minimum, no divine promise was given. (Matthew 20:20-28)
6. In spite of these character shortcomings, Jesus loved John and John knew His Savior’s heart for him.
a. John openly confessed that he was beloved by Jesus. (John 21:7)
b. During the Last Supper, it was John who was seated next to Jesus and reclining on His chest, asked our Lord for clarification as to who would betray Him. (John 13:23-24)
c. And when Jesus Christ was on the Cross at Calvary, dying for our sins, He turned to John, the “disciple whom He loved,” and told him to look after His mother, Mary, saying, “Behold, your mother!” John testified that “From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” (John 19:26-27)
7. It was John who outran Peter to the tomb after some women told them, early that Resurrection Sunday morning, that Jesus’ tomb was empty. (John 20:1-7)
a. John testified that Jesus’ tomb was empty and believed the women’s report.
b. But he also confessed that Peter and John did not understand the significance of the empty tomb because “they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:8-9)
8. After Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and was seated at that right hand of God the Father (Mark 16:19), John became one of the leadership pillars of the Jerusalem. (Galatians 2:9)
9. Eventually, John settled in Ephesus and ministered at the church founded by the Apostle Paul. (Acts 19)
10. According to Church history, John wrote this Gospel while living in Ephesus, thus making the Ephesian Church the first recipients of this Gospel.
11. John would go on to write three Epistles, 1, 2, and 3 John along with the Book of Revelation while exiled on the Isle of Patmos.
12. The date for the writing of the Gospel of John is between 85-95 AD.
13. John does not mince words when he declared the purpose for his Gospel. In fact, it can be summarized by one word, “believe.”
John 20:31, but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
14. When someone believes Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, they receive life in His name.
a. But how can we be sure Jesus is the Christ?
b. How can we be certain that Jesus is the Son of God?
c. And how can we be sure that believing in Jesus will mean that we will have life, eternal life, in His name?
Transition – What do we need to know about Jesus so that we may believe it is so?
• John spells it out for us in the first few verses of his Gospel.
• You see, if you want to know who Jesus is and why He did what He did and said what He said, then you must know that. . .
I. Jesus is God
• All four Gospels place Jesus within a historical context.
• Matthew begins his Gospel with Jesus’ genealogy which connects Him to King David and Abraham.
• Mark begins his Gospel with John the Baptist preaching and preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
• Luke begins his Gospel with a dedication to Theophilus followed by a prophetic announcement of John the Baptist’s birth.
• But John begins his Gospel with a theological prologue.
• In essence, John is telling us, “If you want to understand Jesus in the fullest sense, what He did and said, then you must first know who Jesus is, Jesus is God.
John 1:1-2, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
• These first verses are so packed with wisdom, insight, and truth that libraries of books could not contain them.
• The words, “In the beginning,” should immediately remind us of Genesis 1:1 which states. . .
Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Transition – From this we understand that. . .
A. Jesus is eternally God the Son
1. Science has confirmed what the Bible has always declared; that the universe is not eternal but began at a definite point in time, what has been called “The Big Bang.”
2. Theoretical physicist, Steven Hawking, once wrote, “[A]lmost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang.”
3. But the one question that scientists are unable to answer is, “What was before ‘the beginning?’”
4. The impotence of science to uncover the answer to this question led astronomer and planetary physicist, Robert Jastrow, to note a strange and unexpected development, “The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation. This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but theologians. . . They have always accepted the word of the Bible; ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
5. In John 1:1-2, the Apostle John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, offers additional insight about the One who was “in the beginning” before the Big Bang, when he penned Jesus Christ was in the beginning, meaning Jesus is eternally God the Son.
6. This is one of those key verses that help us understand the nature of the Godhead, the Trinity.
a. There is one God.
Deuteronomy 6:4, Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
APPL – There are several progressive religious movements, they used to be called “Cults,” that say there are many gods.
ILLUS – The Mormon Church’s false teaching about God.
b. This One theistic God is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
c. John declared that Jesus is the Word (Logos) who was in the beginning, who was with God, who was God.
APPL – There are other progressive religious movements, “Cults,” which deny that Jesus is eternally God the Son.
ILLUS – The Jehovah’s Witnesses false teaching about the Trinity and Jesus Christ.
• So John affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ, in essence, stating “what God was the Word was.”
• Scholars who worked on the NET Bible note, “The translation ‘what God was the Word was’ perhaps the most nuanced rendering, conveying that everything God was in essence, the Word was too. This points to unity of essence between the Father and the Son.”
• As God the Son, Jesus is eternal, without beginning, without end, and without cause.
• So, Jesus did not come into existence because He always existed.
• And Jesus did not become God because He was, is, and will forever be God.
• To deny the eternal deity of Jesus Christ is to commit heresy for the one who does so has misrepresented the very nature of Jesus.
• But Jesus is God the Son and as the Son of God, He died on the Cross for our sins so that all who place their faith in Him might have their sins forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.
Titus 2:11-14, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Transition – The next thing we need to know about Jesus is. . .
B. Jesus is God the Creator
1. As the Word, Jesus was the Agent in creating all that exists.
John 1:3, All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
2. Another verse that affirms the eternal deity of Jesus Christ while also describing the relationship of Jesus Christ to creation is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Colossae.
Colossians 1:16, For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
3. As the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, Jesus created the universe and all that it contains.
4. As our Creator, Jesus did not work independently of God the Father but worked under the authority of Father God and created all according to the Father’s blueprint.
5. Therefore, as Thomas Constable notes, “Jesus’ work of revealing God began with Creation because all creation reveals God.”
APPL – The splendor of God’s creation!
Psalm 19:1, The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
• And yet physicists tells us that the entire universe can be collapsed down to a point smaller than the period after sentence.
• Would you agree that creation gives us a new perspective about our lives and our problems?
Psalm 8:1, 3-4, O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!. . . When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?
• And Jesus did it all! From nothing, Jesus, the eternal Word, spoke and creation exploded into existence.
Transition – Can you see why there are important truths that we need to know about Jesus? Here is the next truth that we need to know about Jesus. . .
II. Jesus is Our Sustainer
• Starting from verse four, John begins to make it personal.
• If God designed us, it was intelligent design.
• Therefore, it was with a purpose; that we might have relationship with Him and give glory to Him with our lives.
• Speaking of Jesus, this means. . .
A. Jesus is Life
1. In Jesus we have life.
Colossians 3:4, When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
2. When God breathed life into the first man, Adam, it was not simply to ignite his DNA.
3. God breathed life into Adam so that he would live out the image of God in relationship with God.
4. And Jesus is the Sustainer of our lives.
Colossians 1:17, He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Acts 17:28, for in Him we live and move and exist
APPL – This means Jesus not only gave us life, He intimately sustains us every moment of every day of our lives; every heartbeat, every breath is the doing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 73:26, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Transition – And since life is intimately linked to the presence of light, John unites the two themes together in the person of Jesus. . .
B. Jesus is the Light of men
John 1:4, In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
1. What does it mean to say Jesus is the Light of men?
2. Light refers to God’s holiness; that He is Author, Source, and Standard of holiness.
1 John 1:5, God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
3. God’s heart is that we walk in His light and no longer walk in the darkness.
4. What is darkness? It’s the absence of light.
5. Darkness is not good, just as blindness is not good.
APPL – How do you battle darkness?
• Can you take a Louisville Slugger and swing away?
• The answer to darkness is to open your eyes and let light into your soul.
• Ask Jesus to open the eyes of your heart.
• If you’re walking in darkness, you’re missing out on all that’s glorious; all that is found in God.
Luke 11:34, The eye is a lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.
• The sadness of blindness is the sadness of darkness; you’re missing out on the glory of God Himself.
ILLUS – If someone is blind they cannot see what God has done. When someone is spiritually blind, they cannot comprehend the glory of what God wants to do in their lives either.
John 8:12, Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
• Can you imagine the glory of what God will reveal to us in heaven?
1 Corinthians 13:12, For now we see as in a mirror dimly, but then we will see Him face-to-face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Matthew 5:8, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
APPL – Unfortunately, some people prefer darkness.
6. The world was made through Jesus, yet the world did not know Him. (10)
7. Verse 11 adds, “He came to His own, but those who were His own did not receive Him.”
8. How tragic are those words and yet the same tragedy is played out each day in our dark world; whenever someone rejects Jesus’ gift of salvation.
APPL – There is an old saying that contains a great truth, “There is none so blind as he who refuses to see.” People prefer darkness because it hides what they do.
ILLUS – When Adam sinned in the Garden he hid from God in the shadows.
John 3:19-21, This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
APPL – Light brings accountability because it reveals the truth.
9. In verse 13, John tells us how not to be saved.
a. We are not saved by blood, meaning, we are not saved because our parents were saved. God has no grandchildren.
ILLUS – You can’t add your salvation to your will.
b. We are not saved by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man. In other words, it’s not by our own efforts that we are saved. A man can’t earn his way to heaven.
c. We are born of God because God is the One who makes our salvation possible.
ILLUS – Has anyone here been born?
10. Verse 12 states, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.
APPL – What do we need to know about Jesus?
• Jesus is God.
o Jesus is eternally God the Son.
o Jesus is Creator God.
• Jesus is our Sustainer.
o Jesus is our Life.
o Jesus is our Light.
• By receiving and believing in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into God’s family and inherit all God’s blessings, the forgiveness of our sins, and the gift of eternal life.
APPL – Now, can you see why Jesus is the most influential person in all history?
• I cannot guarantee that you will meet Aristotle in the next life.
• Nor will I promise that you will meet Muhammad.
• But I can guarantee this, you will meet Jesus.
• The question is, “What will that meeting be like?”
• How will you be received by Jesus, the eternal God-man, Creator of Life, Sustainer of Life, Light of men, and Savior?
o Will Jesus welcome you because you have received and believed in Him?
o Or will Jesus tell you, “I never knew you” because you preferred the darkness to His marvelous light?
• I invite to become a child of God by receiving and believing in His Son, Jesus Christ.
John 1:1-13 NASB
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 [a]He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him [b]not even one thing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. 5 And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [c]grasp it.
6 A man [d]came, one sent from God, and his name was John. 7 [e]He came [f]as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 [g]He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 [h]This was the true Light [i]that, coming into the world, enlightens every person. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and yet the world did not [j]know Him. 11 He came to His [k]own, and His own people did not [l]accept Him. 12 But [m]as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who [n]believe in His name, 13 who were [o]born, not of [p]blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.