Text: John 14:8-12
In the next couple of weeks we will see manger scenes and folks will associate the birth of Jesus Christ with the Christmas holiday. To most, Jesus Christ is religious icon. Maybe someone they tip their hat to, but not a friend. Maybe a very influential person, but not God.
John chapters 14-16 describe the work of God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Three parts, one God – trinity. Now, you are a triune being as well because you have a body, a soul, and a spirit. 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh. The Father is the soul, the Holy Spirit is the spirit of God, and the body of God is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philip’s understanding of God
- Philip’s comment is pretty normal.
- You don’t think of God being in a body. Because of how our sight affects our faith, had we been in Philip’s shoes we probably would have a real hard time physically seeing Jesus Christ and realizing he is God manifest in the flesh.
- You think of God being everywhere at once – omnipresent – not limited by space.
- You think of God being all powerful – omnipotent – not vulnerable or weak.
- You think of God as being self sufficient, not needing help.
- You think of God as giving orders, not taking them as He did when he made Himself a child.
- It is difficult to grasp the idea that God might have been limited. That He would allow himself to be wrapped in diapers as a baby. Philip seems to have a point.
- On the one hand you have Jesus Christ dying, which is very human. On the other the Lord Jesus Christ resurrects, which is divine.
- On the one hand you have Jesus Christ growing up as a boy, maturing and learning. On the other hand you have him impressing the doctors of the law at twelve years old with his questions and answers. His has a holy mind; clear, sharp, not slowed or clouded by sin, but holy and precise.
- It might make sense to say he was a good teacher, but then why was he so hated by the teachers of the law? Would a good teacher say, I and the Father are one? I’ve had a handful of good teachers in my life, but if any one of them ever said they were God, they would immediately go on my insane list. Jesus Christ never left you with that option to say He is a good teacher. He claimed to be God in the flesh.
- It might even make sense to say He was an outstanding religious man, but how do you account for an empty tomb? Mohammed was influential, but he’s dead and has been in a grave for over 1300 years. Buddha was influential, but he’s been dead for 2500 years.
- What we read in these verses puts you in a place where a decision has to be made about Jesus Christ. The imaginary Jesus folks create to tip their hat to is eliminated in these verses. What Jesus Christ says makes him one of three things.
- He is either insane. As one man put it, to make these claims and think they are true he must be crazy and on the mental level of a poached egg.
- Or he is a deceptive liar. Another option is that he knows nothing he says is true about him being God, but he is preaching it anyway to lead many astray. If he is a liar, he is not a good moral teacher.
- Or what he is saying is true. He is exactly who he says he is.
- The only option the Lord Jesus Christ leaves you with is to either believe He is God manifest in the flesh or reject Him. All other thoughts about Jesus Christ are mythical. Either He is God or He is nobody.
- Know Jesus Christ, know God (vs 7)
- See Jesus Christ, see God (vss 8-9)
- Hear Jesus Christ, hear God (vs 10)
- Believe Jesus Christ, believe God (vss 11-12)
God took on a body to reveal the mind of God in the flesh (vs 7)
- He learned how to serve
- Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
- The Lord became a man and a lowly man at that. He didn’t become a King, not at His first coming. God knew the wisdom of humility was superior to the foolishness of pride. While the devil took the position that pride was the fast track to power, the Lord God proved the truth that humility is actually much more powerful and enduring.
- Pride cometh before destruction…
- By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life.
- In heaven he was subject to no man, but He humbled Himself
- Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered:
- Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
God took on a body to become the intangible aspects of God in the flesh
- Jesus Christ is the express image of God
- Righteousness is a man – 1 John 2:1 And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
- Eternal life is a man – 1 John 1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
- Truth is a man – John 14:6
God took on a body to remove sin
- Destroy the work of the devil – 1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
- Carnal vs Spiritual
- Flesh vs Spirit
- foolishness vs wisdom
- The old nature is called the body of this death by Paul
- When the devil got Adam and Eve to sin death entered the world through their flesh.
- Sin at work in the body
- Blood shed was necessary for redemption because sin was in the body
- Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
- This body has to be destroyed, but if you destroy the body, the life is gone.
- Hebrew 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
- Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
God took on a body in order to be an advocate for man
- His temptation
- Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
- weakened by fasting and tempted by the devil in Matthew 4
- got tired, but God never gets tired – Matthew 8:24, he’s sleeping during a storm
- got hungry, but God doesn’t get hungry – Matthew 21:18
- got thirsty, but God doesn’t get thirsty – John 4:7
- Isaiah 53 …man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…
God took on a body to redeem man
- 1 Peter 1:18-19, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
- 1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Continuation of God’s work through the Holy Spirit and through His people
- Greater works, God has spoken, he doesn’t need a new message.
- He’s looking for a voice. Vessel needs preparing, not prepare the message, prepares messenger.