A Bigger Jesus: Introducing the Gospel of John
by Pastor Gene
Last month (April 27, 2019) my wife Mary and I – along with our grandchildren Jacob and Bella – witnessed the most significant event to occur in Somerset Massachusetts in the last hundred years: the great Brayton Point Cooling Towers implosion. At last, the two uber-ugly cooling towers that had so blighted our skyline came tumbling down.
Just across the river from Somerset, in Fall River, some folks had paid big money to watch the event in style – sitting for a brunch at one of the several restaurants on the water which offered the best possible view of the towers’ demise. Tickets to these parties had sold out quickly and months earlier. So, I chuckled a bit when I saw the news report later that day. Apparently, when the towers came down, many people at the viewing party missed it altogether because they were looking at their phones – either texting or setting up their cameras. After all, it took less than 10 seconds to fell the towers!
I think John feared that many in his generation had missed something too. He was not alone. Jesus Himself lamented that those among whom He walked had ‘missed’ His arrival: “You did not know the time of your visitation,” He cried out (Luke 19:44).
A Bigger Jesus
I think the Gospel of John was written with this in mind. No matter how big a picture of Jesus his hearers may have had, John thinks it’s too small. Jesus – the real Jesus – is bigger than we think, greater than we think. He is God Himself – the “only begotten God” in John 1:18 (μονογενὴς θεὸς, NASB95)!
Oh, yes. Jesus is bigger than we think, no matter how big our picture of Him might be. John wants us to understand this so that we “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you [second person plural] may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
It’s not clear if John had access to Matthew, Mark and Luke when he wrote the Fourth Gospel. Scholars debate the subject, as they love to do. It seems to me that he did – that he wrote his Gospel to supply what was lacking in the other three. That may explain why 93% of the material that John includes in His Gospel is completely unique; it’s not found in any other of the Gospels.
John is far less concerned with presenting us with the “historical” Jesus than he is with presenting us with the Jesus who was before history. “In the beginning,” well, He is there – He is with God and is very God. Much bigger than we think.
So, the Gospel of John is all about broadening our view of Jesus, showing us some things about Jesus that the other Gospel writers may have missed in some way.
This week we want to take some first steps in widening our view. We’re going to do that with the help of Debbie McDaniel of Crosswalk.org. Debbie has listed 50 titles and names attributed to Jesus in Scripture. As we reflect upon each of these names and titles, let’s ask, ‘How has Jesus revealed this about Himself to me?’
And, while we’re at it, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to bless us with a ‘bigger’ picture of the One who gave everything that we might truly live!
In the Victorious One,
50 Names and Titles of Jesus: Who the Bible Says Christ Is
By Debbie McDonald
- Almighty One – “…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
- Alpha and Omega – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13
- Advocate – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1
- Author and Perfecter of Our Faith– “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
- Authority – “Jesus said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
- Bread of Life – “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35
- Beloved Son of God – “And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
- Bridegroom – “And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Matthew 9:15
- Chief Cornerstone – “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” Psalm 118:22
- Deliverer – “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10
- Faithful and True – “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” Revelation 19:11
- Good Shepherd – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
- Great High Priest – “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
- Head of the Church – “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.” Ephesians 1:22
- Holy Servant – “…and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30
- I Am – “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58
- Immanuel – “…She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Isaiah 7:14
- Indescribable Gift – “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15
- Judge – “…he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42
- King of Kings – “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14
- Lamb of God – “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
- Light of the World – “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
- Lion of the Tribe of Judah – “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5
- Lord of All – “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
- Mediator – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
- Messiah – “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).” John 1:41
- Mighty One – “Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Isaiah 60:16
- One Who Sets Free – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
- Our Hope – “…Christ Jesus our hope.” 1 Timothy 1:1
- Peace – “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” Ephesians 2:14
- Prophet – “And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4
- Redeemer – “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25
- Risen Lord – “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- Rock – “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4
- Sacrifice for Our Sins – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
- Savior – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
- Son of Man – “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
- Son of the Most High – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Luke 1:32
- Supreme Creator Over All – “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together …” 1 Corinthians 1:16-17
- Resurrection and the Life – “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25
- The Door – “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9
- The Way – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
- The Word – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
- True Vine – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
- Truth – “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
- Victorious One – “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21
- – 50. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
All this … and so much more. He alone is worthy!
May 24, 2020