THE ULTIMATE JESUS
Scripture: John 1:15-18 08 NOVEMBER 2020
PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH
THREE BOLD STATEMENTS Jesus is the Ultimate. Jesus Gives Full Grace. Jesus Shows Us God.
Sometimes people make bold statements or bold predictions that end up making them famous for various reasons and sometimes that fame is well deserved and sometimes it is unfair. Big statements are big news and have large repercussions.
On 11 March 1942, during World War II, General Douglas MacArthur and all US forces left the Philippine island of Corregidor which was surrounded by the Japanese. They traveled in PT boats through stormy seas patrolled by Japanese warships. After arriving in Australia, he made his famous speech in which he declared, "I came through and I shall return". He did return in March of 1945. What a bold statement from a charismatic leader!
As wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory, the birthplace of the Manhattan Project, Robert Oppenheimer is rightly seen as the “father” of the atomic bomb. “We knew the world would not be the same,” he recalled. “A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent.” Oppenheimer, watching the fireball of the Trinity nuclear test on July 16, 1945 said: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” That is a bold statement from someone who saw the results of his work and the world has experienced the death and destruction of atomic weapons and nuclear fallout.
In our passage today, we have some big statements being made. Unlike statements by politicians or entertainers, these are big statements by true prophets and Apostles of Jesus Christ. We can trust in these big statements and what they mean to us and for us. In verse 15, we have a big statement. In verses 16-17, we have a big statement. And in verse 18, we have a big statement. These are three big statements which perfectly illustrate the ultimate Jesus.
READ John 1:14-18
Big Statement #1 – Jesus is the Ultimate (verse 15)
John the Baptist is the herald and witness of Jesus Christ. He paved the way first before Jesus arrived on the scene and is the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. John the Baptist is this Elijah-looking Old Testament bold cowboy prophet who carried the authority of God’s prophecies in his finger and pointed that finger right at Jesus.
John came first, but Jesus was greater. The Angel Gabriel brought a message about John’s birth to John’s parents before the same angel’s message was given to Mary about Jesus. John was about six months older than Jesus and so was born first. John’s ministry in the desert preaching, teaching, and baptizing happened first and then Jesus came on the scene. John had followers before Jesus. John came first, and yet John the Baptist makes it very clear that Jesus took precedence over him. Jesus came after John, but existed before him because Jesus is God. Jesus ‘surpassed’ him meaning he is first. Jesus was ‘before’ John because He was more important. Jesus is simply greater. Jesus is the ultimate.
Now, when I make the big statement echoing what John the Baptist says that ‘Jesus is the ultimate’… what do I mean? Jesus is the ultimate… what? I would say that Jesus is the ultimate… everything!
Matthew 7:29 and John 21:25 and other passages tell us that Jesus was the ultimate TEACHER.
Matthew 9:36-37 and other passages show us Jesus is the ultimate expression of COMPASSION.
Mark 14:36 and other passages that describe the Garden of Gethsemane show Jesus’ ultimate
Luke 6:18-19 and other passages tell us that Jesus was the ultimate HEALER.
John 13:4-5 shows Jesus as the ultimate SERVANT when He washed the disciples’ feet.
John 14:7 and Hebrews 1:3 and other passages tell us that Jesus is the ultimate PICTURE OF GOD.
John 15:12 shows Jesus as the ultimate EXAMPLE OF LOVE.
Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that Jesus is the ultimate EXMPLE OF HOLINESS.
Hebrews 4-8 tells us that Jesus is our ultimate HIGH PRIEST who intercedes for us with God.
Hebrews 9-10 tells us that Jesus is the ultimate SACRIFICE for our sins.
Revelation 1:18 and other passages tells us Jesus is the ultimate AUTHORITY over death and judgement.
Over and over again the Bible shares with us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He takes His ultimate place in… everything! I would say for you and for me that we should be most thankful that Jesus is the ultimate.
Because He is the ultimate revelation of God we can know God.
Because He is the ultimate sacrifice for sin we can be forgiven.
Because He is the ultimate High Priest we need not worry about our souls.
Big Statement #2 - Jesus Gives Full Grace (verses 15-16)
Verse 16 ties directly with the second part of John 1:14 which says, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” As believers in Jesus, we are reminded that full grace has been given to us through Jesus Christ.
Grace in Christ is never exhausted.
Grace in Christ covers all sin.
Romans 5:20-21 is very clear by the Apostle Paul. Romans 5:20-21 says, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” John 1:17 mentions that the law was given through Moses. The Old Testament points out very clearly what sin is and the results of sin. The Old Testament actually does nothing about sin. Jesus full of grace came to take care of sin… which is why we need Jesus! God did not just point out where we sin and point out our shortcomings and leave it at that, but rather had a plan for us to be made right again. That plan was Jesus. That grace-filled plan was Jesus.
Here is where you and I often have a personal issue with God and grace. You and I give grace to one another, but our grace has limits. Even the Apostle Peter thought initially that 7 times was good enough to forgive someone (Matthew 18:21-22). We have limits when we give grace. I would also say that we have limits to what we will forgive and who we will forgive. That’s why grudges exist. That’s why Jesus talks much about forgiving one another because we don’t want to do it. God’s grace in Christ is not like our grace or our forgiveness or our mercy or our hearts, but full grace for us comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grace in Christ is never exhausted.
Grace in Christ covers all sin.
Bib Statement #3 - Jesus Shows Us God - verse 18
No one has ever really seen the essence of God. God is invisible and eternal. God is other. God is a spiritual being that is unreal to our senses. Our physical eyes cannot see Him. We can only know God if He lets us know Him. God has to make a way for us to detect Who He is because He is so far above us.
Now the Bible does share times when God was revealed to people by an angel or by a voice or a dream or a vision, but God never has fully revealed Himself to people because His holiness would consume us. Exodus 33:11 that says, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” God and Moses had a special relationship and God spoke to Moses and revealed much about Himself, but not fully.
There is a follow up passage one chapter later in Exodus 34:32-35 that describes Moses after he speaks with God. Exodus 34:32-35 says, “Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the LORD's presence to speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.” Moses glowed with God’s glory just because he spoke with God. The Israelites were so freaked out they made Moses cover up. Anyway, just speaking with God made Moses glow.
Jesus shows us God and puts God on display so that we can know Him. The Apostle John lets us know that you and I can know the Almighty God of the Universe because Jesus Christ has made Him known to us. Jesus shows us God. This being who is eternal became Someone we could touch and see and hear and interact with so that we would know Him. Jesus shows us God.
The people who lived in Jesus’ time had the opportunity to see God. Mary and Joseph saw Jesus’ birth, and the shepherds were there to visit Jesus as a newborn. Jesus’ friends and disciples had all kinds of chances to see Him and talk with Him and listen to Him and eat and drink with Him. They saw how He reacted and His attitudes each day. Crowds saw Him feed them and have compassion. The Roman soldiers watched Him suffer and die. Jesus’ life showed anyone who will pay attention about the things that God the Father wanted to show about Himself.
John 1:15-18 makes some big statements about Jesus: Jesus is the ultimate, Jesus gives full grace, and Jesus shows us God. Those three big statements come at the end of John 1:1-18 (which we have been over these past few weeks) and present some bold truths about Jesus. Overall this first section of John 1 has been pretty bold… Jesus is the eternal Son of God and the Creator and is the source of Life and Light and Truth and therefore is God’s visible glory to us because He uniquely explains God.
What is your Big Statement?
Before making your Big Statement you might have a question or two.
You might ask –“So what?” What does this have to do with me? How does this help the person who is struggling with sin or a habit that is wrecking their lives? What is God saying to the person who is lonely or hurting or in grief?
So what? What does this have to do with you? Is God commanding us to do something or calling us to live a certain way? Is there a lesson in all of this for us?
My own big statement is very simple. But it based on reading the Bible, faith, having a relationship with God through Christ, conversations and discussions with fellow believers over the years, books I have read, prayer, and common sense. My statement is based on all of those things. As I said, the statement is very simple and straightforward.
BIG STATEMENT: Jesus Christ is the answer.
* If you are struggling in school or in life not knowing which way to go or what decisions to make, Jesus Christ wants to lead you and give discernment about life’s choices.
* If you are dating someone and temptations to become too intimate are plaguing you, Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and renewal and a way to be God-honoring in your relationship.
* If your marriage is absolutely falling apart, and the struggle seems unfixable, Jesus Christ is ready to redeem the unredeemable and heal what can’t be healed.
* If you find that you are struggling keeping any kind of sin away from your life, Jesus Christ is the answer you are looking for in how to deal with that in your life and how to keep sin away from your heart.
* If your heart is broken because a loved one has died, Jesus Christ is ready to comfort your heart in the midst of grief and give peace beyond your understanding.
* If your child or grandchild is causing worry and grief and sadness because of their reckless decisions, Jesus Christ is the path for them and for you.
* If you feel guilty because of something you did, Jesus Christ offers complete grace.
* If you have a family member you haven’t spoken to in years, Jesus Christ wants to guide you in reconciliation.
You all, individually, can add one or more of your own situations to this list.
Example after example and situation after situation, the big statement I make to us all today is that Jesus Christ is answer to anything that plagues us in this life. He is the way. He is the truth. He is the life. He is Savior. He is Lord. He is God Incarnate. He is the answer to any question you are asking, any problem you are facing, any stress that presses you, and any heart hurt you have.
INVITATION/PRESENTATION OF THE GOSPEL
We have been talking about big statements today, and we need to finish off with one final big statement. Jesus teaches a big statement in John 3:5-7, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'”
What does Jesus say? If you want to be in the Kingdom of God, you must be born again. Being born again means placing faith in Jesus, for Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6), repenting (Mark 1:15, Mark 6:12, Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, 3:19) and being baptized in Him which is for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). If you need to make that decision today, make it. Make a big statement in your life that you need Jesus. Make that statement today!