Echoes of the Old Testament in John 1:1-14

The prologue of John’s Gospel is suffused with echoes of the Old Testament.  I would like to make mention of just two echoes which enrich our understanding of the Gospel and also evidence the unity of the whole Bible.  Right at the outset John opens with these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (ESV)  John here is doing several things.  One thing He is doing is affirming the divinity of Jesus Christ (as will become increasingly clearer as the chapter unfolds).  One of the means John uses to build his case for the divinity of Christ is an allusion to the opening words of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning…”  A Jewish reader would undoubtedly think back to the creation account.  But we are not left to our own imaginations.  John’s use of the light/dark dichotomy also suggests the creation narrative.  Finally, as if these were not enough,  John tells us that “all things were made through him…”  The Word, Jesus Christ, was the creative agent through whom all things that are came into being.  Jesus Christ is Creator.

Jesus Christ is also Redeemer.  Not only does the Apostle John  echo the creation narrative.  He also recalls God’s great redemptive acts in the exodus narrative as well.  In verse 14, John tells us that the Word, who created all things, “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (ESV) The Son of God, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created the universe and all that is in it, came to dwell with his people to save them from their sins.  The Greek word behind “dwell” is ἐσκήνωσεν which means “to pitch a tent” and most likely was intended by John to harken back to God’s tabernacle in the midst of the Hebrew encampment where God would be with his people (Exodus 25).  That Jesus in John 2 says that he would replace the Temple (the stationary replacement for the earlier mobile tabernacle) as the center of worship adds weight to the recognition of this echo.

Jesus is, according to John in the first few verses of his Gospel, divine and as such he is both Creator and Redeemer.  What a wonderful savior we have!  The one who brought galaxies into existence came to tabernacle in our midst and as John puts it, “we have beheld his glory, as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  I pray this is as true for you as it was for John and the rest of the disciples who came to trust in this same Jesus.

God has given us a rich revelation.  May we, by the Holy Spirit, grow in our appreciation and understanding of it.

—Jeffrey C. Waddington

Via: Feeding on Christ

A Random Act of Culture

“On Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers from 28 participating organizations to perform one of the Knight Foundation’s “Random Acts of Culture” at Macy’s in Center City Philadelphia. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ – the world’s largest pipe organ – the OCP Chorus and throngs of singers from the community infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” at 12 noon, to the delight of surprised shoppers.”

Via: Reformation Theology

Embracing Our Mission

A church that cares not for truth is a community that rejects its very mission. The person who says, “I’m not interested in doctrine or theology,” is not “of the truth.” He or she has missed the voice of Jesus.

For the church to be the church, she must bow before her King and embrace the mission He has given to her. Yes, we desire a cultural reformation and a restoration of public morality. But that is secondary to and dependent on our mission to bear witness to the truth. Doctrine is important because its central concern is for an understanding of truth, without which there can be no godliness. It is the truth that sets us free, reforms our behavior, and defines us as disciples of Christ.

The world does not see or understand the city of God. It is a hidden city, a concealed kingdom. It is veiled by falsehood, by he who seeks to obscure the truth. The truth is that at this moment Jesus is the King of kings. This world is under His dominion. We are citizens in His realm. We must not negotiate or retreat from that affirmation. The kingdom of God comprises those people who believe what God says and obey when God commands.

Coram Deo: Are you part of God’s kingdom? Do you believe what God says and obey when He commands?

Matthew 28:18–20: “Then Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”

Luke 9:60: “Jesus said to him, ‘ . . . you go and preach the kingdom of God.'”

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

Veni, Domine

Descend O Christ from heav’n on high,
Thy glory set aside,
Save us from death and darkness grim,
And with Your seed abide.

Veni, veni Domine,
Thy people to redeem,
Veni, veni Domine,
fulfill our Christmas dream.

The cradle crude all filled with straw
Awaits Thy visit here,
While shepherds gaze at glory’s light,
Enrapt by awe and fear.

The virgin heeds Thy angel’s call,
She’s made the journey long,

As Joseph tends the holy maid,

He hears the angels’ song.

Glory in the highest realm,
The time of birth has come,
We all arise to follow Him,
That He might bring us home.

—R.C. Sproul

Grace Infinite and Everlasting

We often feel as if grace had done its utmost when it has carried us safely through the desert, and set us down at the gate of the kingdom. We feel as if, when grace has landed us there, it has done all for us that we are to expect.

But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. He does exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. It is just when we reach the threshold of the prepared heavenly city, that grace meets us in new and more abundant measures, presenting us with the recompense of the reward.

The love that shall meet us then to bid us welcome to the many mansions, shall be love beyond what we were here able to comprehend; for then shall we fully realize, as if for the first time, the meaning of these words, ‘The love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord;’ and then shall we have that prayer of Christ fulfilled in us, ‘That the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’

It was grace which on earth said to us, ‘Come unto Me, and I will give you rest;’ and it will be grace, in all its exceeding riches, that will hereafter say to us, ‘Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

—Horatius Bonar
The God of Grace

Via: Of First Importance

The Sum of the Gospel

The gospel of Christ is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.

The second Person in the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

That these souls and bodies shall be raised to that height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live forever enjoying the presence of God and Christ, in the fullness of all good, is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.

—Jeremiah Burroughs
Gospel Conversation

Via: Timmy Brister

The Journey to Mount Moriah

I find it difficult, if not impossible, to get inside the head of Abraham on his journey to Mount Moriah. I have never had the experience of being called to slay my son for the glory of God. The closest thing to it in my own experience pales into insignificance by comparison. It occurred not with my son, but with my dog.

When I began Ligonier Ministries in 1971 I was given a special gift of two German shepherd puppies by the benefactress of our work. Mrs. Dora Hillman gave our family two puppies that had been born on Palm Sunday. She named them Hallelujah and Hosannah. Hallie was the female, and Hosie the male. They were bred of champion stock; the sire of the litter was the Canadian Grand Victor, and the brood bitch was the champion of the noted Mellon family of Pittsburgh. Hosie was an especially magnificent animal, a classic sable German shepherd.

When Hosie was two months old he came into the kitchen through the doggie door one morning with his head swollen to almost twice its normal size. He was staggering and obviously disoriented. I quickly assumed that somehow he had encountered a bees’ nest and had suffered multiple stings to his head. I rushed him to the veterinarian’s office for treatment. When the vet examined him he discovered three deep fang wounds to his head that had obviously been made by a poisonous snake, either a copperhead or a rattlesnake. The snake had injected enough venom to be fatal to the young dog. The vet declared that it was the worst case of snakebite he had ever seen in an animal, and he gave me a grim prognosis. He explained that the ability for poisonous snakes to kill was vastly overrated and that the potency of their strikes depended upon several factors including the physical size of the animal stricken, the area of the body where the venom was injected, and the amount of venom the snake injected. On all these counts the puppy was in serious danger. The vet went on to explain that Hosie would have to go through some serious crisis stages in order to survive.

Continue reading “The Journey to Mount Moriah”