In class last Sunday, I tried to cover a brief history of the Trinity and realized I was trying to get everyone to take a refreshing sip of water from a fire hydrant. We had some really good discussions but each question we talked about could have been its own class. We’ll come back to these discussions later and have a series on the Trinity. This week in class, I want to have a spin off discussion from this last week about Jesus: before, during, and after. What does it mean that he is 100% God and 100% man? What does it mean that he emptied himself of equality with God? What does it mean that the resurrected Jesus now sits at the right hand of the throne of God? I believe it is important as a community to be able to wrestle with hard questions together. This isn’t just for gaining knowledge but for continuing to strive for understanding that leads to transformation.
We’re going to take a break in our Sermon series of “5 Ways of Loving God” to talk about Jesus. From now till the first week of September, we will be in the Gospel of John focusing on the “I AM” statements of Jesus. I want to bookend this series with two sermons about truth. In the Prologue of John’s Gospel (1:14), we see that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…full of grace and truth.” Jesus’ time in front of Pilate ends with a discussion on who Jesus is and where he is from. Pilate, in 18:38, responds to Jesus’ claims on truth with, “What is truth?” At the bottom of this post, I’ve provided the schedule for what we will be talking about each week. I encourage you to spend time with these texts, listening to what God might be telling you.
Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus says a lot about himself. When Jesus talks about himself in John’s Gospel, John uses the common Greek phrase “I am.” There are a lot of ways that John could have written these statements from Jesus. In the other Gospel accounts, Jesus would have said something like, “The Son of Man came to be the bread of life so that all might be filled.” John, in contrast, has Jesus speak directly about himself, “I am the bread of life…” Many believe John, in the voice of Jesus, is echoing God’s introduction of himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14. What does Jesus say about himself when he makes these “I AM” claims?
Colossians 1:15 tells us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. When we look at Jesus, we see the image of God. If you want to understand God, you have to look to Jesus. If you want to understand who we are supposed to be as a church, as Christians, you have to look to Jesus. We were created as the Image of God, but that image has become distorted in us because of sin. We look to Christ to show us who we are supposed to be as the Image of God.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Spend some time this week reflecting on John 1. What does John tell us about Jesus? What does John want you to know about Jesus by starting his Gospel this way? How are you to view the ministry of Jesus by how John sets the stage? I look forward to this journey together as we better understand who we are by better understanding who Jesus is as God in the flesh.
Sermon Series – Jesus According to Jesus, “I AM”
July 15 – Jesus According to Jesus, “I AM”
Scripture – John 1:1-18
July 22 – I AM the Bread of Life
Scripture – John 6:35-51
July 29 – I AM the Light of the World
Scripture – John 8:12-20
Aug 5 – I AM the Gate for the Sheep the Good Shepherd
Scripture – John 10:1-21
Aug 12– I AM the Resurrection and the Life
Scripture – John 11:17-27
Aug 19– I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Scripture – John 14:1-14
Aug 26– I AM the True Vine
Scripture – John 15:1-17
Sep 2 – Jesus According to Jesus, “What is Truth?”
Scripture – 18:28-40