John 1:1-5 ESV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
As we learn further on down in this passage of Scripture, Jesus Christ, God the Son, is “the Word.” He was with God in the beginning, and he is God – the second person of our triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). And he is our creator God. He is the one who made us, who gave us the breath of life. And he is the Light – the Way, the Truth, and the Life – and no one comes to the Father except through him. He is the only way to God.
John 1:9-13 ESV
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The light is not only Jesus Christ, but it is truth, it is righteousness, and it is the gospel of our salvation from sin. But Jesus did come into the world and he brought us the gospel of our salvation. For God the Father sent Jesus into the world to take on human flesh and to suffer as we suffer, and to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin, and in order to die on a cross for our sins so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness by his grace and in his power (1 Pet 2:24).
But the people of the world, and even the people of his own faith, and of his own race, and of his own community, and of his own family mostly all did not know him for who he was and/or they did not receive him as their Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
So, let me look right now at what it means to “receive” Jesus Christ, for it is not a formality, and it is not mere words we say in a prayer repeated after someone else, and it is not a mere acknowledgment of what he did for us in dying on that cross for our sins. For when we receive Jesus we accept him for who he is and for what he is about and for what he did for us and all that that entails. We welcome him and all that he is into our lives to be Lord of our lives from this moment forward.
Now, Jesus is righteous and holy, and he taught us that to come after him we must deny self and take up our cross daily (daily die with him to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. So to receive him means we deny self and we die with him to sin, not just once but daily, and that we follow him in obedience to his commands from this time forward. But he isn’t the only one who taught that. The apostles did, too.
For when we believe in Jesus with God-given faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him, now free from our slavery to sin and now empowered of God to become slaves of God and of his righteousness. For Jesus died on that cross to free us from the control of sin over our lives so that we might live holy lives pleasing to God and walk now according to the Spirit, and not by the flesh.
John 1:28-34 ESV
These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
I encourage you to read the whole of John 1, in context, for this writing would have been way too long if I included the whole chapter here. For if you read the whole chapter it will better put this all together for you in your mind.
For John the Baptist, who was Jesus’ cousin, was called of God even from before he was born to bear witness of Jesus Christ and to prepare the people’s hearts to receive Jesus. He was that voice crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” that Isaiah prophesied about.
So, John the Baptist declared publicly to the people that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And he also bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God. And the Apostle John bore witness that Jesus was not only the Son of God but that he is God, and that he was with God in the beginning, and that he is our creator God, i.e. he is the one who made us. Jesus was and is the Promised seed of Abraham through whom all nations are being blessed (Gal 3:16, 26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18).
And Jesus gives us a baptism not of water but of the Holy Spirit, and that baptism is a baptism with Christ into his death and to sin that we might walk in newness of life in him. Our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would become slaves of God and of his righteousness. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our bodies.
And this is basically the essence of the gospel message, that by faith in Jesus Christ, we are to die with him to sin, to forsake our old lives of living for sin, and that we are now to turn to God and to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands and to his ways and to his will for our lives. And this is what it means to receive him, which is not just once, but daily, and continuing in him until the end, and then we will inherit eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Col 1:21-23]
Worthy is the Lamb
By Darlene Zschech
Thank you for the cross Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace
Thank you for this love Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know
Your forgiveness and embrace
Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious
High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Darling of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
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