NEW YEAR, NEW DECADE, ETERNAL SAVIOR
With the slower pace during the Christmas-New Year break, I have had more time to immerse myself in Scripture. It has refreshed my soul, deepened my joy, and increased my hope for what lies ahead. Jesus is going to return. He is coming back. Literally. Physically. For real. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians that the Lord Jesus will be “revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thess. 1:7). Great ready!
But before Jesus returns, we have a task to complete. Our ministry with Global Training Network is all about lifting up Jesus. It’s all about Him. We want people to know Jesus. We want them to follow Jesus as His disciples. We want people to grow in their relationship with Jesus. We want them to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of them (Philippians 3:12). The Bible is all about Jesus. Every book of the New Testament points us to Jesus. One such book is the First Epistle of John (1 John). I recently tracked what John says about Jesus in this Epistle. Here is what I came up with:
I JOHN CHAPTER 1
- He was from the beginning (1:1).
- He is the Word of life (1:1).
- He appeared physically so that John and others in the first century could hear Him, see Him, touch Him, and proclaim him (1:1-3).
- He existed with the Father before He appeared on earth (1:2).
- He is eternal (1:2).
- The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from all sin (1:7).
I JOHN CHAPTER 2
- He speaks to the Father in our defense if we sin. The Greek word is psarakaleos and means called alongside like an advocate or defense attorney (2:1).
- Jesus is the Christ or Old Testament promised Messiah (2:1).
- He is the Righteous One (2:1).
- He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…and for the world. The Greek word here is hilasmos. This word was used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible by 70 Jewish and completed by 132 BC) to translate the Hebrew word kippur. The kippur was the mercy seat where the high priest sprinkled blood once a year on Yom Kippur to atone for the sins of Israel. To say that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins is a big, big deal. He is the once for all sacrifice that annual ritual of Yom Kippur was a picture of and pointed to (2:2).
- God’s love is made complete in us when we obey His (Jesus’) word (2:6).
- He is from the beginning (2:13, 2:14).
- Jesus is the Christ…those who deny this are liars (2:22).
- He is the Son of God. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also (2:23).
- He promises us eternal life (2:25).
- We receive an anointing (the Holy Spirit) from Him (2:27; 3:24; 4:13).
- By continuing in Him, we can be confident and unashamed at His coming (2:27).
- He is righteous and everyone who does what is righteous has been born of Him (2:29).
I JOHN CHAPTER 3
- We are children of God because of Him (3:1).
- The world doesn’t know us because it didn’t know Him (3:2).
- When He appears we shall be like Him (3:2).
- He is pure (3:3).
- He appeared so that He might take away our sins (3:4).
- He is the Son of God and appeared to destroy the devil’s work (3:8).
- This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us (3:16).
- This is His command(s): to believe in the name of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us (3:23).
- We know that He lives in us by the Spirit He gave us (3:24).
I JOHN CHAPTER 4
- Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (4:2).
- Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God (4:3).
- This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him (4:9).
- This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice (same Greek word as in 1 John 2:2; see also Romans 3:25).
- He has given us His Spirit (4:13).
- The Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world (4:14).
- If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God (4:14).
- Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (5:1).
- Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (5:5).
- This is the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ (5:6).
- God testified…about his Son (5:9).
- And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (5:11-12).
- By believing in the name of the Son of God we may know that we have eternal life (5:13).
- We know that the Son of God (Jesus) has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life (5:19-20).
IN AWE OF JESUS
Of course, John says much more in his five-chapter epistle, but what he says about Jesus (and of course what the Gospels and other Epistles say) is the center of our faith and our message. Jesus is eternal. He existed as the Son of God before creation. He was predicated by the Old Testament prophets. He took on our humanity and then our sin. He was real flesh and blood. He was both God and man. He took upon Himself the punishment we deserve in order to connect us to God. He rose bodily from the grave. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God. He is coming back— literally and physically. He will be “revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.”
I know I didn’t catch everything John says in his five chapter letter, but I am in awe of that which I did. I am in awe of Jesus. I am in awe that He saved me and called me to be one of His followers. I am in awe of how He put Sharon’s and my marriage back together. I am in awe of how He has guided and empowered us over the years.
In a world that seems out of control, I trust Jesus to make all things right when He returns. I trust Him to put evil away from us. I trust Him to make sense out of that which seems senseless. Between then and now, it is a joy to know that He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is a joy to be assured of His presence in our lives. It is a joy to experience his presence, empowerment, and guidance.
It is a joy to enter 2020 and the decade ahead with Jesus as our anchor with a goal to lift Him up before those near and far.
Because of Jesus,
Linus and Sharon