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Apr 27

John’s Opening Statement

Read: John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (2) This one was in the beginning with God. (3) All things through him came into being, and without him not one thing came into being that has come into being. (4) In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. (5) And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overtake it. (6) There was a man, having been sent by God; his name was John. (7) This man came for the purpose of testimony, so that he might testify concerning the light, so that all might believe through him. (8) That man was not the light, but so that he might testify concerning the light. (9) He was the genuine light, who enlightens all people, coming into the world. (10) He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, and the world did not know him. (11) He came to his own, and his own people did not accept him. (12) But as many as received him, he gave to them power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, (13) who, not from blood or from the will of the flesh or from the will of a husband but from God, were created. (14) And the Word became flesh and encamped among us, and we wondrously gazed at his glory, glory as a uniquely begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (15) John testifies concerning him and he has cried out saying, “This one was he whom I said, ‘The One coming behind me ranks ahead of me, because he was before me.” (16) That from his fullness we have all received, even grace upon grace, (17) because the law was given through Moses, but the grace and the truth came into being through Jesus Christ. (18) No one has ever seen God; God the uniquely begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, that One explained (him) in full!”

REFLECT

Imagine that John is the defense lawyer who is standing before you, the jury, and he is making his opening statement. The prosecution has charged Jesus with making false claims about his identity because he claims to be the Messiah, the Son of God. John clearly establishes in his opening statement that the prosecution is correct in its charge that Jesus indeed claims to be the “only begotten” from the Father. However, John asserts that it is not a false claim but that Jesus is indeed the Word who became flesh.

This is the claim that John, in his gospel, sets out to prove. In John 20:30-31, John writes, “Therefore, many other signs Jesus also did in the presence of his disciples, which have not been written in this book. But these things have been written in order that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you might have life in his name.”

John is not concerned with providing a biography of the life of Jesus, nor a compendium of his teachings. Rather, like a good defence attorney, he pieces together teachings, miracles and personal interactions from Jesus’ ministry and masterfully arranges them in the best possible way in order to prove his premise – in order to convince you that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God.

It will be up to you to listen as objectively as possible to the evidence presented and then to make a decision. Is Jesus who he claims to be, the Lord of all, or was he a liar (someone who knew he was not the Son of God), or a lunatic (someone who really thought he was the Son of God, but wasn’t). John’s presentation of the claims of Jesus doesn’t leave us with any other option (e.g., he was a good man who was simply misunderstood). Either he was (and is) the Son of God, worthy of our commitment, or he was a con man, worthy of our condemnation, or insane and worthy only of our pity.

REASON

If you’ve already made up your mind that Jesus is not who he claimed to be, then there is no point in you being on the jury. If you’re like most people in our world then you’ve already heard, directly or indirectly, the case against Jesus. However, again, if you’re like most, you’ve probably never seriously considered the case for Jesus. Are you ready to be an objective juror? Will you listen intently to the totality of John’s defense of Jesus’ claims before making a judgment? If you are an unbeliever, are you willing to lay aside your preconceived notions about Jesus so that you can clearly consider the witnesses whom John calls to the stand? If so, you are about to begin a journey that will challenge your mind and your heart and just might change your life!

RESPOND

Will you remain on the jury, striving to be as objective as possible?

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