I’ve been steeping in the gospel of John these past several months. As I’m nearing the end of the book, the account of the crucifixion and resurrection are filling my mind. But I’ve been interested by how much these closing chapters reflect the opening chapters.
Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and brought before authorities. Then He came before Pilate – one of the bloodiest governors of his time. Pilate questioned Jesus about His claim to being the King of the Jews.
For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. John 18:37 NASB
At the end of His earthly life, Jesus takes us back to the very beginning of His ministry; His birth.
For this I was born…
He came. With a purpose. Wrapped in flesh.
The One who was with God in the very beginning (John 1:2), came.
Not just for a visit.
Mary wrapped her arms around what she would never fully be able to wrap her mind around.
He made His residence here. Having masterfully created The Beginning, Immanuel came at the very tiniest of beginnings. To identify with His creation. To be their representative before His Father.
We were His purpose; His Father’s purpose.
Satan introduced humanity to death. Christ introduced humanity to life – eternal life. Life that was born in humility and lived in obedience.
We need this pure, spotless, perfect LIFE.
And Jesus could never have died in the flesh had He not first been born in the flesh.
And for this I have come into the world…
He didn’t have to come. After all, He didn’t belong here.
Those whom He dwelt among knew there was something different about Him. They begged Him to prove Himself, though He already had. They cried for a show of power, but He knew that time was yet to come. He waited; they waited. 33 years.
He was, and still is, Life – Life that is Light to all humanity (1:4).
33 years spent living the life we should have lived. 33 years obeying the One we should have obeyed. 33 years of undeserved ridicule and humility.
His own did not know Him (1:10-11).
Time after time John records in his book Jesus telling the disciples and the multitudes and even His mother that His time had not yet come. He was waiting. He was obeying. He was living the life we should have lived.
His life replaced ours in the sight of the Father. And His death and resurrection are ours; we are the manifestation of the miraculous.
He came to live; as important as His death was, He is encircled on either side of death by life. And that life was lived for our sake. And He lives now so that we can be born. Born new. Born to eternal life (1:13)
He came to live more, I think, than He came to die.
Life was always the purpose.
He came to shine a light into darkness. “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; the light of the world is Jesus.”
We need this eternal Light to scatter the darkness that surrounds us and to lead us to His eternal Life.
to testify to the truth…
He was born, to live the truth, not just to speak it.
He came to be the standard by which we can discern what is right and wrong – what is truth and what is lie.
He is the Word – the only true Word (1:1).
Every word, every action, every expression, every movement, was motivated by truth and righteousness and love.
He came so we could behold His glory – full of grace and truth (1:14).
We need the truth He embodies, through His Word and His example; to be our standard and our example of true Life.
Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.
If we abide in lies, whispers of Truth are unrecognizable. If we abide in The Truth, The Way, and The Life, then nothing rings clearer or is more precious than the gentle beckoning of our Good Shepherd.
Those who had even the smallest understanding of Christ on earth were those who first chose to believe the truth that He proclaimed and lived. And then hung on His every word.
We need, oh so desperately, to hear His voice. Amidst the piercing yells and shouts of our enemy, the world, and our own sinful desires, we need that constant and loving call of our savior. And the call is clear to those who are listening for the distinctly familiar tones of the One they love (John 10:4).
None of this season of celebration is of any consequence without the truth. We celebrate because the Way, the Truth, and the Life came. Was born. Walked and talked the Truth. Died in love. Rose in power and new life.
He who has no beginning was born of a woman and born again from the grave, so that we might be born again in His New Life!
I’m reminded that the more I get to know Him, the more I will love Him, worship Him, trust Him, and follow Him.
And that is what we all need to live an abundant life in the midst of a dark world – the way we can continue to shine the Light that He began to shine all those years ago.