THE LIVING EXPRESSION

Jn.1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

Jn.1:1 – TPT – In the very beginning the Living Expression was already there. And the Living Expression was with God, yet fully God.

What does God look like? Basically, that is what the Apostle Phillip had said to Jesus, “Show us the Father”. That’s when Jesus responded with one of His most blunt and shocking statements, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father”. This is one of the Lord’s most blatant claims to deity. God was standing right in front of Phillip; he obviously didn’t quite get it yet. That’s what is so powerful about today’s verse. In the Passion Translation John said that Jesus was the Living Expression of the Father. Jesus is the Father’s expression of Himself. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory expressed in a human. That kind of revelation can literally take your breath away. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this verse.

“The Greek is logos, which has a rich and varied background in both Greek philosophy and Judaism. The Greeks equated logos with the highest principle of cosmic order. God’s logos in the Old Testament is his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation, and redemption. In the New Testament we have this new unique view of God given to us by John, which signifies the presence of God himself in the flesh. Some have translated this rich term as “Word.” It could also be translated “Message” or “Blueprint.” Jesus Christ is the eternal Word, the creative Word, and the Word made visible. He is the divine self-expression of all that God is, contains, and reveals in incarnated flesh. Just as we express ourselves in words, God has perfectly expressed himself in Christ.”

We see God’s love revealed in Christ. He was moved with compassion and healed the sick or taught those who were like sheep without a shepherd. He displayed His love when He washed His disciple’s feet. Love was in full bloom as Christ was nailed to the cross. It was His love for sinners in full view of the whole world. We see God’s wisdom unveiled through the teaching of Christ and also in God’s plan of redemption which culminated in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is the unveiling of the Father, when you catch a glimpse of Him you are looking into the blazing glory of God.

THE BLOOD AND THE SPIRIT

Jn. 1:29 – The very next day John saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized, and John cried out, “Look! There he is—God’s Lamb! He will take away the sins of the world!

Jn.1:33 ……..when I was commissioned to baptize with water God spoke these words to me, ‘One day you will see the Spirit descend and remain upon a man. He will be the One I have sent to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

One of the questions Jesus was often asked was about John the Baptist. Before Jesus began His public ministry John had thrown all of Israel into an upheaval. When John’s ministry diminished and the ministry of Jesus began to flourish everyone wanted to know about John. Jesus called John the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Think about the magnitude of that statement. Moses basically started the Jewish faith, he wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. He also led the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt to the brink of possessing their land that the Lord had given them. Then you have to remember Isaiah and his profound prophetic passages describing the birth, the death, and the reign of Christ. Abraham fathered a nation by faith. And there was also Elijah who had a life filled with the miraculous; fire from heaven, supernatural provision in drought, even raising someone from the dead. So what could Jesus mean. John had not written any books, nor fathered a nation, and he had performed no miracles. John was simply a preacher.

So what was Jesus getting at? This is it – John had a revelation of Christ that others hadn’t received. First, he saw Jesus as the Lamb of God. He was saying that the entire levitical system pointed to Christ. Actually, all of the sacrifices before were just shadows of the real. Christ was the Lamb and His sacrificial death destroys sin in our lives. The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was culminated at His death.

The second prophesy is just as profound. He said that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit. This is probably the most radical thing John could say. The Jews were terrified of God’s presence. They knew that the glory in the holy of holies was unapproachable. One false move with the ark of the covenant and you were dead. After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven He took His place on God’s throne exalted above every other Name or being. From this place of exaltation Jesus begins His heavenly ministry to us. He is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.

So that is why Jesus called John the greatest Old Testament prophet. He had a revelation of Christ sacrificial death on the cross for all mankind and he also saw Jesus as the Baptizer in the Spirit.

CHRIST CARRIERS

Jn.1 :1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The story of Christmas never gets old to me. Angelic visitations, supernatural dreams. Ancient prophecies; these are the things when left out leave our hearts empty. One of those stories is Mary’s visitation. Probably just an ordinary day when it became anything but ordinary. An angel came to visit her. Not just any angel, mind you, it was Gabriel himself; fresh from the presence of the Lord. Gabriel came with a message about a supernatural pregnancy and birth, the messianic prophecies fulfilled, and the most shocking thing of all; Mary would give birth to the very Son of God. Nine months later the angels showed up again singing over the shepherds. This time they were announcing the birth of the One who would be the Savior of the world. These are the stories that make our lives come alive.

The greatest part of this story is right there in the message of the angels to the shepherds. They said, “today, in the city of David, is born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord”. Thats it, a Savior, this supernatural birth was about saving us from our sins. Here are some thoughts from Augustine on this amazing miracle birth.

“We were mortals. We were weighed down by our sins. Our sufferings we carted after us. From the moment we were born, we’ve been nagged by misery. No need to consult the School of Prophets on this account. Just put the question to the newborn, and you’ll see. Babies cry right from the start.

So this is the comedown God experienced when He came down to earth, and this is the comeuppance the earth experienced when the Day of days did finally arrive. “Truth has sprung from the earth.”….What’s the conclusion?

We should let mercy enter our hearts.

A mother carried Him in her womb—may we carry Him in our hearts.

The Virgin was made heavy with the Incarnation—may our breasts grow heavy with the faith of Christ.

The Virgin gave birth to the Savior—may our soul bring forth salvation, may it produce praise.”

That’s it in a nutshell, the whole point of the angels, dreams, and prophetic words was salvation. We are sinners in need of a Savior and that’s why Christ came. The Creator took on a body like the rest of His creation. From this amazing act of humility we become carriers of this amazing Lord.

PORTAL TO HEAVEN

Jn.1:14 – And the Word 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.

Jn.1:51 – And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

The glory of Christmas, God taking on a human body, is impossible to fathom. We catch glimpses of it that take our breath away but far too often we are yawning at glory as the Christmas madness continues. Thinking about His birth can tie our brain in knots. Thinking about things like Mary giving birth to a fragile, vulnerable infant yet at the same time He is orchestrating all the events of Mary’s life. Or maybe sharing the feeding trough of an animal while He still fed all of the animals of the world. Then there is Jesus being nourished by the bosom of His mother knowing He formed His mother’s bosom in her mother’s womb. Take a moment and let Augustine take you on a journey gazing at the eternal invading His own creation.

“The Lord has made all things, and yet He takes His stand among the very things He’s made.

He’s the Revealer of His Father, and at the same time He’s the Creator of His mother.

He’s the Son of God born of the Father without a mother; and He’s the son of man born of a mother without a father….

He made the sun with His own hands, and yet He Himself was made under the light and heat of the sun.

He regulates human history from the bosom of His Father; and yet He consecrates this one particular day from the womb of His mother.

He remains with His Father, and yet He goes forth from His mother.

He’s the Creator of the heavens and the earth; and yet He takes His own rise under the heavens, that’s to say from the earth.

As God He has more Wisdom than He can mouth, and yet as a babe He hasn’t enough mouth to utter the Wisdom He knows….

He sets the stars in motion, and yet he sucks His mother’s breasts.

He’s so great as a God, yet so small as a slave….

He didn’t abandon His divine agenda when He picked up His carpenter’s tools.”

So Christmas is the bridge between eternity and this world encompassed by time and space. Living in this created world it is impossible to grasp eternal things. The humanity of Christ is our only portal into that beautiful world. Hope to see you there.

IN THE BEGINNING

Jn.1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I remember dealing with Christian culture shock when I first became a Christian. This new Christian community that I was suddenly thrust into spoke a whole different language than what I was accustomed to. I remember dealing with things like “the Lord spoke to me” or “the Lord spoke to my heart”. I wasn’t sure how to even take these statements, did God Himself say something out loud or was I missing something? After a while I figured out that most of this “speaking” was from impressions people had when reading the written word of God. Another phrase people used was “I feel a check in my spirit”. I really had no idea what that meant and I’m not sure I have that figured out yet. Could that mean simply “I don’t agree with what you are saying?” Another phrase was one that comes from today’s scripture verse. Jesus is actually called the Word of God. No one ever seems to explain what that means, maybe because no one has even taken the time to try to work out what it does mean. If Jesus is the word, whose word is He? The only possible answer is the Father because the Father, like Jesus and the Holy Spirit, are the only eternal beings that exist. If Jesus is the word He has always been the word. What exactly is a word? It is a vocal expression of an idea. If that is true, then Jesus must be the Father’s vocal expression of Himself. Jesus is the Father’s word. Here is how Martin Luther describes this.

“God, too, in his majesty and nature is pregnant with a Word or a conversation in which he engages with himself in his divine essence and which reflects the thoughts of his heart. This is as complete and perfect as God himself. No one but God alone sees, hears or comprehends this conversation. It is an invisible and incomprehensible conversation. His Word existed before all angels and all creatures existed, for subsequently he brought all creatures into being by means of this Word and conversation. God is so absorbed in this Word, thought or conversation that he pays no attention to anything else.”

In the beginning was the Word, the Father’s expression of Himself. John goes on in this chapter to take it one step farther. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Wow!! This is the greatest of all mysteries, the unveiling of God in the person of the Son.

GRACE HEAPED UPON GRACE

John 1:16 -TPT -And now out of his fullness we are fulfilled!

And from him we receive grace heaped upon more grace!

This verse comes from someone who has drunk deeply from God’s fountain of grace. Grace not only introduces us to the Lord, it brings us to a place of drawing from His bounty. Grace is about more than a ticket to heaven when we die, it is free access into His abundance of life now. John said that he had seen Jesus, the author of this grace. Now he says that grace was heaped upon him all throughout his life. Matthew Henry, the great Puritan expositor, had also drunk profusely from this fountain of grace. Here is something Henry says about grace upon grace.

“The blessing received. It is grace; the good will of God towards us, and the good work of God in us. God’s good will works the good work, and then the good work qualifies us for further tokens of his good will. As the cistern receives water from the fulness of the fountain, the branches sap from the fulness of the root, and the air light from the fulness of the sun, so we receive grace from the fulness of Christ.”

We are drinking and drinking continually from this fountain of life. We are totally satisfied and sustained by grace. Because of grace I can now drink, and frankly love to drink, from this fountain of life. The more I drink the more I want, the more I drink the more I lose the taste for the things of this life. The more I drink, the more I change. This is the amazing work of grace, I am not only justified, I am sanctified by drinking from His cup. Here is another thought from Henry on today’s verse.

“Grace for grace is one grace to improve, confirm, and perfect another grace. We are changed into the divine image, from glory to glory, from one degree of glorious grace to another.”

Many today don’t take this message of grace far enough. They think that grace covers us so we can continue to derive our satisfaction from the pleasures of this life. How tragic! Grace doesn’t just cover our past, it introduces us to this new life where Jesus is making all things new. I think I will join John and drink again from this fountain of grace until I can also say, I have received from Him, grace heaped upon grace.

ONE WITH US

John 1:14 – And the Word 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.

We can never really come to the end of the power of this verse. What was in the mind of the Lord when He became one of us? He gave us glimpse inside the veil in His prayer in Gethsemane. John’s account is much more detailed and intimate. These words are really beyond comprehension, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20–21

He prayed that we could enjoy the intimacy with Him and His Father that He Himself enjoys. Unthinkable!!!! He became one of us to redeem us from our fallen condition and bring us into this oneness with the trinity. Eternity will be an unfolding of this incredible intimacy bursting with indescribable joy. Here is a glimpse of this truth from Jonathan Edwards.

“Such was the love of the Son of God to the human nature, that he desired a most near and close union with it, something like the union in the persons of the Trinity, nearer than there can be between any two distinct [beings]. This moved him to make the human become one with him, and himself to be one of mankind that should represent all the rest, for Christ calls us brethren and is one of us. How should [we] be encouraged, when we have such a Mediator! ’Tis one of us that is to plead for us, one that God from love to us has received into his own person from among us.”

Salvation is bigger than any of us realized. We were looking for help in this life and an escape from eternal damnation. We got way more than that when Jesus became a man. We have been brought into the heavenly places. Paul said we are seated with Him in heavenly places. So this is what the humanity of Jesus was all about, it was about oneness. Now our commission is to enjoy this new life and bring as many others into it that we can.

JACOB’S LADDER

Jn1:51 – And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

The ways of God are really quite amazing. Jacob was literally running for his life because of the deception he had spun against his brother Esau. Esau vowed to kill Jacob so Jacob took off. Forty miles later (remember Jacob was on foot) Jacob, exhausted from the journey, found a rock for a pillow and laid himself down to sleep. This was the night everything changed for Jacob. He had a dream in which the Lord appeared to him. He realized several amazing things that day. First, the God of Abraham was very real and very personal. Second, God had a plan for Jacob. Third, that if Jacob would follow the Lord; the Lord would protect him, bless him, and bring His purposes to pass in Jacob’s life. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this passage.

“The mediation of Christ. He is this ladder, the foot on earth in his human nature, the top in heaven in his divine nature: or the former in his humiliation, the latter in his exaltation. All the intercourse between heaven and earth, since the fall, is by this ladder. Christ is the way; all God’s favors come to us, and all our services go to him, by Christ. If God dwell with us, and we with him, it is by Christ. We have no way of getting to heaven, but by this ladder; if we climb up any other way we are thieves and robbers. To this vision our Saviour alludes when he speaks of the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man; for the kind offices the angels do us, and the benefits we receive by their ministration, are all owing to Christ, who has reconciled things on earth and things in heaven, and made them all meet in himself.”

This dream was Jacob’s introduction to Christ. In this dream Jacob became aware of the incredible calling that was on his life. He was being called out of all his relationships that kept him from dependency on God. He was introduced into a supernatural life, “God was in this place and I didn’t even know.” Jacob was also launched into God’s purpose of redemption, “your seed will be like the dust of the earth and the stars of the sky”.

Maybe you feel like you are on the run like Jacob. God’s plans are way different than you would ever expect. Jacob went to sleep one way and woke up another way. What made the difference? He found himself at Bethel, the house of God.

THE SHEPHERD KING

Jn.1:10 NLT – He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.

If you think about what John is saying in today’s verse it is actually something that goes way beyond our ability to understand. How could the creator of all things enter into His own creation? The first few verses of John 1 describes the Word as God, the Word as being the creator of all things, and now the Word enters into the very world He created. John says it like this in vs.14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth”. What this is like is the author of a play entering his own play or a artist entering his own work of art. Creators live outside of their work, especially the One Who created all things. He created time and space and matter and everything else that exists. For Him to become part of His own creation is unthinkable. That is the story of Christmas. Here are some comments by C. S. Lewis about authors and plays.

“When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else—something it never entered your head to conceive—comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side.”

What Lewis is describing is actually the second Advent of our Lord. When the Creator enters into this creation again it will be over. The time for decisions and picking sides will be over, that’s what this Christmas season and this world are all about. Have you stopped and acknowledged the coming of our Lord? Has His birth effected you and caused you to see this world from a different perspective. That’s what happened to those shepherds that first Christmas. Two kingdoms collided as the Creator of all things took on a human body. The glory shone, the angels sang, and the shepherds bowed before this Shepherd King.

FILLED TO OVERFLOWING

John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Have you ever been so filled that there is no other option, you have to overflow? I guess what is really important is this question: what exactly are you filled with? In today’s verse John is describing an overflowing kind of filling. He describes fulness or overflowing as grace upon grace. So much love poured on us that it is impossible to contain it, we have to overflow. John is talking about God’s love for us and how it fills us until it begins to spill out all around us. Here is a quote from Spurgeon describing the overflowing joy that comes with being filled.

“Bunyan tells us that Mercy laughed in her sleep, and no wonder when she dreamed of Jesus; my joy shall not stop short of hers while my Beloved is the theme of my daily thoughts. The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delights of his society.”

The amazing thing about Bunyan’s words, they were written from prison. He was overflowing with a joy bigger than prison walls. It is striking that John who was exiled and later martyred and Bunyan who was imprisoned for preaching Christ both spoke of a fulness of God that transcended the rest of their lives. Nothing this world could throw at them could disrupt their joy, it was supernatural and untouchable. John Trappe also talks about this fulness found only in Christ.

“Grace for grace – “Which is both repletive and diffusive; not only of plenty, but of bounty; not a fulness of abundance only, but of redundance too. In Christians is an abundance of vessels, but in Christ, is the fount, these differ (say the schoolmen) as fire and that which holds the fire. Take a drop from the ocean, and it is so much the less; but the fulness of the fire is such, that light a thousand torches at it, it is not diminished.”

This word repletive means to satisfy, satiate, or provide something in abundance. So this fulness is provided in extreme measures and diffused everywhere we go. Redundance describes an excessive amount, way more than necessary. Trappe is describing overflow as pouring out in extreme measures everywhere we go. This is the story of Christmas, the Word took on human flesh that I can be filled to overflowing with the fulness of His grace. Merry Christmas !!!!!