By Tim Sullivan


For all who love the truth, the Gospels are a veritable feast of wisdom and spiritual knowledge. The testimony of the life of Jesus Christ – what the book of Hebrews so aptly calls “the days of his flesh” (Heb. 5:7) – nourishes the soul and rejoices the heart.

1 Timothy 4:6a:
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine ...

Jeremiah 15:16a:
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart ...

Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels. “They provide the same general view of the life and teaching of Jesus. They narrate almost the same incidents, often agreeing in the order of events, and use similar phrasing. In many instances they use identical phrasing” (Gospel; Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99).

John’s gospel was penned with a singular purpose: to make known the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

John 20:31:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This is the Christ that John was determined to make known: the Sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2); the Son of the Highest (Lk. 1:32); the Son of God.

Jesus Christ was and is much more than a perfect man. Begotten of God, he is divine. He is the only creature ever born with a dual nature, of man and of God. In his humanity, he was “in all points tempted like as we are.” But in his divinity, he was “yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15b). In this definitive way, Jesus is set apart from all of mankind.

From its very onset, John’s gospel commands a special place in the Bible. The Gospel of John and the book of Genesis are the only books in the Bible that commence with the words, “In the beginning.”

Genesis 1:1:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

John 1:1-2:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.

From the moment of its Creation, the natural world has been governed by time. However, time will not always be. The book of Revelation tells of a time when “there should be time no longer.”

Revelation 10:6:
And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

The words "in the beginning" point us beyond the finite world and into the realm of the infinite world, the spiritual world. Beyond the reach of time sits he who precedes the beginning. Therefore, to comprehend the things of God, we must think “outside of the box” of the three dimensions, the length and depth and height. Ephesians points us to this fourth dimension.

Ephesians 3:17-19:
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

The fourth dimension is time. The creation is governed by time, but the God of Creation is not. He is not subject to a timeline. He sees the future as clearly as he sees the past.

Psalm 90:4:
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

He knows our going out as surely as he knows our coming in.

Psalm 121:8:
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Before time began, God’s plan for the salvation of his people was as good as fulfilled.

Revelation 13:8:
... the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Christ lives in that realm that supersedes time. He is the Word that was with God in the beginning. That is why the shepherds in the field and the wise men from the east have no part in John’s narrative. The mother of Jesus is mentioned only at the wedding in Capernaum and at the Cross. The singular reference to Jesus’ nativity is that the Word was made flesh (Jn. 1:14).

To be sure, there is good reason to celebrate the birth of our Savior in the city of David. His earthly birth was essential to our salvation. If Christ did not come in the flesh, then mankind is without the possibility of salvation. Praise be to God, he did.

Romans 8:3:
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Controversies over the person of Christ have beset the Church throughout the centuries. The Gnostics were among the first to deny the humanity of Jesus. They asserted that “Christ, the divine spirit, inhabited the body of the man Jesus and did not die on the cross but ascended to the divine realm from which he had come. The Gnostics thus rejected the atoning suffering and death of Christ and the resurrection of the body” (Gnosticism; Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99).

2 John 1:7:
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

We know that Jesus is come in the flesh. Our salvation depends upon it.

1 Corinthians 15:17:
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

However, to truly know Christ is not to know him after the flesh.

2 Corinthians 5:16:
... though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

We must know him beyond the confines of flesh, and space and time. In order to see him as he is, we must see him in the beginning.

John 8:58:
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Colossians emphatically declares that all things were created by him, and for him.

Colossians 1:16-17:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Christ’s role in the Creation cannot be rightly refuted.

Ephesians 3:9:
... which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Note the Father’s words to the Son:

Hebrews 1:8:
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

The phrase "God the Son” cannot be found in the Holy Scriptures; however, the implication is plain to all but those who are predisposed against it. The Father refers to His Son as "O God" and then speaks of himself as "Thy God." This is reminiscent of David’s 110th psalm: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (verse 1).

v. 9:
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

In verse 10, it is written that Christ was in the beginning with God when the heaven and earth were created, effectually bridging Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1!

v. 10:
And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.

When Christ presented himself to the Jews of that era, they were highly offended. They believed that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, for they believed that a man had made himself God.

John 10:33:
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

It would be blasphemous indeed for a man to make himself God. But herein lies the fantastic reality of the mystery of godliness: Jesus did not make himself God. God made himself a man.

1 Timothy 3:16:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Hebrews 2:16:
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

The Jews knew that if a man were to declare himself begotten of God, he would be making himself equal to God.

John 5:18:
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Christ knew that it did not belittle God to say that the Son is equal to the Father.

Philippians 2:6:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

God and Christ are equal because they are one.

John 10:30:
I and my Father are one.

John 14:9b:
... he that hath seen me hath seen the Father ...

Colossians 2:9:
For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Now, the Gospel of John does more that simply state that Jesus is the Son of God. The Gospel of John is a book of proofs. These divine proofs come in groups of seven, seven being the number of spiritual perfection. In this Gospel, there are seven WITNESSES that Jesus is the Son of God:

  1. The witness of the forerunner, John the Baptist (5:32-33)
  2. The witness of the works He did (5:36)
  3. The witness of the Father (5:37)
  4. The witness of the written Word (5:39)
  5. The witness of the Son Himself (8:14)
  6. The witness of the Holy Spirit (15:26)
  7. The witness of the disciples (15:27)

There are seven INDIVIDUALS who testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God:

  1. John the Baptist (1:32-34)
  2. Nathaniel (1:47-49)
  3. The Woman at the Well (4:25-29)
  4. The Samaritans (4.39-42)
  5. Simon Peter (6:66-69)
  6. Martha (11:25-27)
  7. Thomas (20:26-29)

There are seven MIRACLES that testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God:

  1. Jesus turns water to wine (2:1-11)
  2. Jesus heals the nobleman’s son (4:46-54)
  3. Jesus heals the lame man of Bethesda (5:1-16)
  4. The miraculous feeding of 5000 (6:1-14)
  5. Jesus walks on water (6:19)
  6. Jesus heals the man born blind (9:1-41)
  7. He raises Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45)

There are seven DISCOURSES expounding upon the significance of those miracles (certain miracles are called signs because of their significance):

  1. That a man must be born again (3:1-21)
  2. That Christ is the Living Water (4:3-27)
  3. That Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (5:19-47)
  4. That Christ is the Bread of Life (6:37-71)
  5. That Christ offers living water (7:14-39)
  6. That Christ is the Light of the World (8:12-59)
  7. That the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep (10:1-18)

When God appeared to Moses in Horeb, Moses asked, “When I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” “I AM THAT I AM,” said God, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Ex. 3:13-14).

In a manner of speaking, “God the Father” began the sentence, and “God the Son” finished it. God said, “I AM” and Jesus answered SEVENFOLD.

  1. I AM the bread of life (6:35)
  2. I AM the light of the world (8:12)
  3. I AM the door of the sheep (10:7)
  4. I AM the good shepherd (10:11)
  5. I AM the resurrection, and the life (11:25)
  6. I AM the way, the truth, and the life (14:6)
  7. I AM the true vine (15:1)

Sincere and God-fearing men and women have long sought to understand the person of Christ, a study widely known as Christology. Unfortunately, they often succumb to formulas and dogmatic posturing rather than Scriptural proofs. Let the Word of God be the bedrock of our Christology. Let our prayer for understanding be as that penned by C.S. Lewis, “Not to what I think Thou art but to what Thou knowest Thyself to be.”

He is, he was and he will ever be. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Heb. 13:8). He is our Lord, the Son of the Most High God, our Savior. As you celebrate the festivities of Christmastime, may you be reminded that even as he came in the flesh the first time, so will he come again.



From the December 2003 issue of The Vine & Branches