St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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The Bible: Gospel of John 1

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The Gospel of John is written differently. It has twenty-one chapters that are steeped in theology. John tells the story, but with a heavy emphasis on Jesus’ Divinity. John seems to go off into another world, and yet gives a lot of detail that the other gospels do not catch. This gospel is very symbolic and raises the soul to great heights without the reader really fully understanding what they read.

The beginning of the Gospel of John illustrates to us the weaving in and out of spiritual realities and physical realities. John starts his Gospel Message with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). You can already tell the gospel message is very different. First, John is using a linguistic tool to take us back to creation. The first phrase is, “In the beginning”. That phrase we have heard before in the Old Testament. It comes from the very first words of the Bible in the story of creation. John is backing up his claim that Jesus is God by letting us know that Jesus, the “Word” (notice it is capitalized, signifying a proper name), is God. He makes sure that The Word was there not only at creation, but before anything was created. In fact, this “Word” created all things in verse three; “All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be”.

But how do we know that Jesus is this Word that John is talking about? Because in verse 14, John says, “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” John claims Jesus to be the Heavenly Father’s Son many times (John 1:49, John 10:36, John 19:7, John 20:31 and his letter 1 John 5:20). Even in Matthew, Jesus claims to be the “Son of the Heavenly Father” (15:13 and 18:35).

Jesus does not stop there. Because He claims to be the Son of the Heavenly Father, He is killed. Why? Because if He is of the Father in Heaven, who is God, then He shares in the same nature as His Heavenly Father. Thus, He makes the claim in John, Chapter Eight, in the great “I Am” Discourse, “ For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24)and again in verse twenty-eight, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM”, then ,a third time, in the same chapter, “Amen, Amen, Before Abraham came to be, I AM” (v58). Consequently, Jesus is most definitely establishing His authority as God, not as a person among equals. Notice the capital letters for “I AM”. Again, it is signifying the proper name, but this time it points to the name given to Moses at the Burning Bush (Ex 3:14).

CS Lewis, a famous writer in the early nineteen hundreds, about one hundred years ago, discerned Jesus is either telling the truth or he is a liar or lunatic. You cannot come to the conclusion that Jesus is just a nice guy because of the very fact that Jesus claimed to be God. A person who is just a nice guy, is not someone who would claim that those who do not believe in him are going to hell (Jn 8:24). If it is false that he is God, then he would be a liar and utterly false and not worth listening to. But say if he thinks he is God, but really not, then the person would be a lunatic and in need of some help. But, if what He says is correct, then He is Lord. So, He is either Lord, Liar or Lunatic. What is your decision? Is He Lord, Liar, or Lunatic? – as CS Lewis puts it. We all have to make that judgement call. We cannot treat Jesus and His claims as a side issue. I know what my answer is. Then, we are called to live that answer.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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