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In John 20:30-31 we find the purpose or theme of the Gospel of John.
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Very simply stated John’s purpose in writing this Gospel is to persuade people to believe in Jesus and he adds this which points back to our passage of study and says that by believing you will have life in his name.
Now, let’s look at the first 13 verses of John 1. It’s here John begins encouraging us to believe in Jesus.
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Life — it’s a concept John points to frequently. We see it in John 20:31, that by believing you may have life in [Jesus] name.
We began noting last week seven names for Jesus seen here in John 1. The first name, seen in verse 1, is that Jesus is the Word. Jesus, the Word, because He reveals the mind and heart of God; God in human flesh, God incarnate come to be the sacrifice for sinners.
Now we come to verse 4 and we see another name for Jesus in chapter 1.
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John says, In him was life. What is it that characterizes this life?
Here in verse 4 John says that this life is the light of men. Jesus: The Light. That’s the next name we see here for Jesus.
Why is Jesus the light? Because life comes from light. Light is life. Jesus is the creator and sustainer of life. Verse 3 points to this when it says that All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
So we’re told in verse 4 that, In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Light is life. That’s a common theme we see in the Bible. Light is Godly wisdom, righteousness and life. It’s also something we know from nature, God’s creation. You know that if you want your plants to grow and flourish they need light. Turn over a rock and you won’t find any green, flourishing plant life because light is needed.
The other side of this common theme in the Bible of light being life and righteousness is that darkness is often associated with sin and death. In John 3:20 John says:
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
Isaiah 29:15 puts it like this:
15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
God says in Jeremiah 16:17:
17 For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.
And this is just what John is pointing to in John 1:5 when he says:
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Light out-shines darkness. Jesus says in John 8:12,
…“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Light is life; light out-shines darkness. Later in John 12:46 Jesus points to this as the reason He came — to outshine the darkness as the Light of Life.
John 12:46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
Here’s the point. The darkness of sin is overcome by the righteousness of Christ. That’s why Jesus is the Light.
Darkness is overcome by the light. Light conquers darkness. Darkness will never overcome light. Light means life, and Jesus the light means life for those who believe in His name.
We also see here that God sent a witness to come before Christ proclaiming this truth.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The Apostle John writes here in verse 6 of John the Baptist. Once again we see the grace of God revealed in the sending of a witness to proclaim the good news of Christ Jesus.
7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
John wasn’t the light himself, he was a witness about the light. Why? Verse 7 says, that all might believe through him, through Christ.
Now, we know that John the Baptist was not the first witness to the Light of Life, Jesus Christ. He was not the only witness to the Light. There were others that preceded him. He also was not the last witness. But just as there have been others who point to the Light of life, John the Baptist’s was also to bear witness about the Light.
Why bear witness about the Light? Again in verse 7, that all might believe through him.
This is the same reason for which Jesus confronted Paul on his journey to Damasacas. Jesus tells Paul, then Saul, that He’s sending him for the purpose of telling others about Christ, the light. Why?
Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Here’s the grace of God at work. God sent messengers to point to the light. And God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, the Light, so that people would turn from the power of Satan to God. And those who believe in the Light receive forgiveness of sins.
And that’s John’s appeal in verses 9-13.
Receive the True Light. You need forgiveness of sins, so believe and be saved. Look at verse 9 again. All those who bear witness to the Light of Life, Jesus Christ point to this true light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
There’s a sobering truth here that to followers of Christ is hard to grasp. Jesus the true light, the life saving, life changing light, that saves all who believe, is not believed by all.
Not everyone then was willing to believe. Not everyone now is willing to believe. Even his people as a whole wouldn’t receive Him. Later in John 3:19, John says,
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Why would you not believe in Jesus? How could you not believe in the One who gives life to everything?
For some who won’t believe it’s because they love their sin. They think they’re having more fun living like the devil than they would have living for Christ.
For some the reason is the fear of man. They don’t believe in the Light of Life because they’re afraid of what others will think of them.
Some who won’t believe have been deceived. Others are hardened in their ways. And in some measure this is true of all who won’t believe; because they love darkness rather than light.
But then we find this in verses 12.
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
To all who do receive the True Light, to all who believe in the name of Jesus, they all become children of God.
And just so we don’t think this is any doing of our own we have this reminder in verse 13.
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
You see, becoming children of God is no doing of our own. We’re born again by the power of the Light of Life, Jesus Christ and through His death on the cross for our sins.
We do not become children of God by blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man.
I take this to mean that you become a child of God, not by way of your heritage, not by your parents faith or the faith of their parents, not by your standing in this world, not by your apparent “goodness” by the world’s standard. But you become a child of God by your belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
You come to Christ not by your own means or schemes but only by faith in the one Son of God, the Light of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the one and only Light of life, the True Light.
Jesus Himself said, in John 14:6
…“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Through His shed blood, Jesus gives the way of salvation; He’s the light of Life which brings grace and truth to those in sin and error.
How tragic to be among the many in the world who will not believe and waste their lives stumbling in darkness without the True Light.
But as John writes,
John 20:31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.