Christ The Life And Light Of Men

John 1:1-5

"He who from the Father forth was sent,
Came the true Light, light to our hearts to bring,
The Word of God-the telling of His thoughts;
The Light of God-the making visible;
The far-transcending glory brought
In human form with man to dwell."-Macdonald.

The Gospel of John has been well called "the Gospel of Eternity," for it is the Gospel of God, John was a specially prepared vessel for this very honourable ministry. He had been from his youth a beloved apostle. "His head had rested on the Lord's breast, he had stood beside the Cross, had witnessed the Ascension, had cherished till her death the Mother of the Lord, had seen the Jewish dispensation closed and the Holy City overthrown, and to him the beatific visions of the Apocalypse had been granted." The great purpose of this Gospel is very fittingly expressed in chapter John 20:31. "These have been written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in His Name." All the keywords of his Gospel are found in this verse. The opening words of this chapter are among the most profound ever penned by the hand of man. They reveal a three-fold relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ in His-

I. Relationship to God. He is called the Word, the "Logos." Christ Himself is the uttered speech and thought of God. He is the visible expression of the invisible God. "For the life which was with the Father was manifested unto us" (1Jn 1:2). This Word was in the beginning. "The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways...I was daily His delight" (Pro 8:22-30). The Word was with God. Yea, more, the Word was God. Man's finite mind cannot grasp the mystery of the Trinity, but the devout believer can bow and adore. That He who was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, should make Himself of no reputation, taking upon Him the form of a servant, and dying on a Cross for the sin of the world, is a mystery of grace that can only be fathomed by the mystery of the Trinity.

II. Relationship to Creation. "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Paul taught the same doctrine, "God... created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph 3:9) It pleased God to bring the old creation into being through the instrumentality of His Son; it has also pleased Him that the new creation should be "in Christ Jesus." By Him He made the worlds (Heb 1:2), and by Him He seeks also to redeem this world lost in sin. He by whom God made all things has also made peace by the Blood of His Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ as the Word of God holds the same position towards the new creation as He did to the old. "Without Him was not any thing made." Without Him God did nothing, so without Him we can do nothing. All things were created by Him and for Him, and by Him all things consist or hold together. He is the centre and support of all, as well as the Maker. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev 4:11). If all things were created for His pleasure, surely He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.

III. Relationship to Men. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." Why is the Life spoken of as the light of men, and not of creation? He has made the Light of the material universe, but He is the Light of men. Man is something distinct from and superior to other created things. He is a personality that needs the Divine Personality to meet his every want. "In Him was life." The source of life was in Him, and God, in giving us His Son hath given to us eternal life (1Jn 5:11). The life manifested in Christ Jesus is the true light which should lighten every man coming into the world. I am come that they might have life. Christ as the Word of God is that living bread which came down from Heaven, that a man may eat and not die. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Then observe-

1. What this light is-"The life was the light."

2. Where this light shines-"The light shineth in darkness." Christ as the Light did not shine on the darkness of the world, but in the darkness. He was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His own words are, "I am come a light into the world" (John 12:46). The purpose of the light is to overcome the darkness. The centre of this darkness is the human heart. The God who commanded light to shine out of darkness is He who hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of God (2Co 4:6).

3. The effect of its shining-"The darkness comprehended it not." Two words are used in the Revised Version-one in the text and the other in the margin- which if taken separately bring out the twofold result of this shining of the true light.

(1) The darkness apprehended it not. The darkness of wilful unbelief remained unconscious of the dawning of this new day-"they knew not the time of their visitation" (Luk 19:42-44).

(2) The darkness overcame it not (R.V., margin). Thank God, that in the case of many the darkness of sin and fear was not able to overcome or resist the bright shining of His truth. No matter how dense the darkness is, it cannot in any way overcome the purity or purpose of the light. The light shines on, but men may condemn themselves by loving the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19).


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