The Coming Christ…The Gospel of John
Why did Jesus come to mankind?
This is a question that needs to be considered, especially during the upcoming Easter season. Each of the four gospels represents a different aspect regarding the life and mission of Jesus, the Christ. This is not surprising since the gospels were written to specific people groups. Yet, in each of the gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying why He came (Greek erchomai) from heaven to earth. The erchomai statements of Jesus are distinct in defining the purpose of His ministry. Thus, each gospel calls the believer to move toward a specific aspect regarding the Christian life. I would like to take a brief look at the reasons for the first advent of Christ according to John. John presented at least three reasons for Christ’s appearing.
Jesus came to reveal the light of truth that removes spiritual blindness
John 9:39 says, “And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”” Jesus came for judgment. Jesus was not sent to condemn the world (John 3:17; 12:47). He came to pronounce a decision on the ungodly as a judge (John 5:22, 27). The coming of Jesus was to be viewed as a moment of truth. The rejection of Him and His mission meant that condemnation was inevitable (John 3:18). The love and grace of God removes the camouflage of evil and sin (cf. John 3:19).
One writer has said, “As life (light) reveals the Father to man, so the absence of light, or darkness, indicates the state (death) wherein man does not know God.” Thus, the blind (those who do not see) are those who admit their helplessness and inability. They therefore trust Jesus for salvation and are made to see. Those who think they see rely on self-trust and pride which ultimately blinds them regarding the wonders of Jesus. In essence, they blind themselves (2 Cor. 4:4). The light of Christ transforms human blindness into spiritual sight and dynamic life. Yet, the light of the truth only makes the blind blinder.
As long as Jesus was in the world, He was the light of the world (John 9:5). In that capacity, He came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). Once He departed, those whose eyes were opened by the light became the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). The purpose of the light is to reveal the Father to Man. The absence of light indicates that man does not know God. To be in the light means the blindness to the Father is removed and the result is life, i.e. salvation. To remain in the darkness is to claim self-righteousness that results in spiritual death. Rejecting the revelation of eternal life through Christ leads to eternal separation from God (John 3:19-21). As the light of the world, the Christian disciple is responsible for bringing the truth to the world (John 14:6).
Jesus came to provide an abundant life for the sheep of His fold
According to John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The thief might be considered the “false shepherd”. He steals, kills, and destroys the flock. These false shepherds are actually Jesus’ evil opponents who threaten the security of the flock.
Jesus, the “true shepherd” cares for the flock; He came to give life, but not just ordinary life. He gives life that exceeds necessity. Jesus becomes the protector of the flock. He is the agent of wholeness, of eternal life, of secure pasture, and of release from the realm of darkness. In addition, He is the Savior of the world (John 4:42) and He provides life to the fullest (John 10:10).
In his gospel, John presents Jesus’ concern for life (see John 3:16; 5:40; 6:47; 10:10, 28; 11; 14:6; 17:2). It has been pointed out that “…Jesus is concerned with the celebrations of life. As John points out he is concerned not only with the future but with true life now, with abundant living in joyful relationship with the Father.” This should not be considered unusual since Jesus is the basis of created life in the universe. Jesus sustaining force of created life…He is the agent of life within the universe. Because there is life in the Word (John 1:1 ff.), there is life on earth. Life does not exist spontaneously; it exists because of Him. Because of this life of His all created beings have life…and that in abundance!
Jesus came to bring light into the world
Perhaps one of Jesus’ favorite illustrations He used to describe Himself was that of light. He used the concept again in John 12:46. Here He says, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” Added to Jesus as a light to the world, John introduces the concept of abiding or remaining. The Christian is not to remain in darkness, but he should be moving into the light. Abiding is, therefore, the key word of discipleship.
Now that the light has come, those who willfully reject it have no excuse (John 15:22). To hate Jesus is to hate God. To love Jesus is to abide in Him (John 15:7) and to be His disciples by bearing much fruit (John 15:8).
The world’s lack of knowledge concerning Christ is not because the people did not see or hear Jesus. Jesus did come. The gospel was presented. The people purposely rejected the message through disobedience. Therefore, they are guilty of sin. However, those who did receive the message did so by faith. Jesus is the light of the world. His words are the words of God. Faith in Him alone brings us to the truth and to eternal salvation (John 3:16-17; 5:24; 14:6).
The Christian’s response
Truth is foundational to Johanine writing. Truth is not an intellectual concept only dealing with substantiating facts. Truth is involved with life-oriented integrity (John 14:6). Jesus gave Himself to His disciples. The primary purpose of Jesus as a light in Johanine gospel is:
- To bring people to Himself and God, and in the process, bring them to integrity of life
- To integrate truth into life
- To provide men with correct thinking (one can be correct intellectually and theologically, but still lack integrity of life).
Nothing is more important to any of us than God’s gift of salvation. And salvation rests in truth. By God’s design, we can enter into a new relationship with God when we trust in His provision for us…His Son Jesus Christ who died as a substitute for us. Our condition without Christ is terrible. We are sinners living in hostility toward God and under the wrath of God. Our penalty for our sin is death…eternal separation from God. But God provided us the way of salvation.
Salvation is spoken of in the Scriptures in the past, present, and future tenses.
- The past tense has to do with salvation being wholly past or completed for the one who has believed. Salvation is so perfect that the saved one is safe forever.
- The present tense of salvation expresses the power given to the believer to defeat the reigning power of sin in his life. Through the Spirit, the believer is no longer under the law and the believer is free from his slavery to sin.
- The future tense of salvation assures the believer of full conformity to Christ. 1 Peter 1:5 tells us we are kept by the power of God through faith.
Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that any feature of salvation depends upon the faithfulness of man. God alone is faithful, and having begun a good work, He will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. John assures us of the security of our salvation in 1 John 5:11-13. There he says, “And this is the testimony: that 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. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…”
Do you know for certain that you have eternal life?
If not, trust in the truth that Jesus is the Christ who brought light into the world…He died for you so the penalty of your sin has been paid.
If you are sure of your eternal life, then share that with someone else as you prepare for celebrating the greatest gift ever given…the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross for your sins and mine. People are searching for answers to the question of their spiritual destiny, especially during this time of year.
With whom can you share your faith this week?