Life Application Study Bible Devotional
Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus by Tyndale , Livingstone, and David R. Veerman
Setting the Scene
Many believe that the apostle John, writer of the Gospel bearing his name, had first been a disciple of John the Baptist, who had pointed him to Jesus.
Then John must have become an intermittent disciple of Jesus, for Scrip- ture details another time when Jesus called John along the Sea of Galilee, where he had returned to his fishing trade with his brother, James, and their father, Zebedee.
This time when Jesus called, John and James left every- thing, father and boat included, and followed him (Mark 1:19-20). At this point Jesus had already turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), cleared the Temple the first time (John 2:13-22), and been visited by Nicodemus at night (John 3:1-21).
This calling of John and James also occurred after Herod had imprisoned John the Baptist (Luke 3:19-20), Jesus had spoken with the woman at the well (John 4:1-26), and Jesus had been rejected at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30).
So John and his brother James became two of Jesus’ original twelve disciples and, along with Peter, enjoyed a special relationship with Jesus. At times Jesus called just the three of them to see an important event, such as his Transfiguration.
John, therefore, was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life and teachings. In his letter to the church, John wrote: “We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands” (1 John 1:1, nlt). As one who had seen Jesus up close, John wanted everyone to understand Jesus’ true identity.
We learn in John 1:14 that “the Word” refers to Jesus. Theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks, used the term “word” (in Greek, logos) in a variety of ways.
In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, “the Word” is described as an agent of creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God’s message to his people through the prophets (Hosea 1:1-2), and God’s law, his standard of holiness (Psalm 119:11).
For Greeks, “the word” could mean a person’s thoughts or reason, or might refer to a person’s speech (the expres- sion of thoughts). As a philosophical term, logos was the rational principle that governed the universe, even the creative energy that generated the universe.
In both the Jewish and Greek conceptions, logos con- veyed the idea of beginnings, as in Genesis where the expression “God said” occurs repeatedly (Genesis 1:3ff ).
John may have had these ideas in mind, but his descrip- tion shows he was speaking of Jesus as a human being he knew and loved, who was at the same time the Creator of the universe, the ultimate revelation of God, and the living picture of God’s holiness, the one who “holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:17, nlt). Jesus as the logos reveals God’s mind to us.
Clearly, John wanted everyone to know Jesus was not merely a man. Jesus was the eternal, all-powerful God who existed before time, created everything, and gave life.
What qualities of Jesus convinced John that Jesus was divine, God in the flesh?
Why is Jesus’ divinity crucial to the Christian faith?
If Jesus had been just a very good man, his life and death would have provided a great example of how a person should live. We could honor him and learn from his lifestyle.
If Jesus had been only a great human teacher or orator, we could be motivated and inspired to work and achieve. But a great moral leader and powerful speaker can’t save us from our sins, can’t change us on the inside. Jesus can. As the divine Creator, he has the power to make us new.
Dave Veerman is the author of more than sixty books, including Tough Parents of Tough Times, When Your Father Dies, and Letting Them Go, and he was a senior editor of the Life Application Study Bible. He holds a B.A. from Wheaton College and an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.