As I stated last week the Apostle John finishes this letter with a summation of what he has been writing. His topic was that of Fellowship with God through New Birth. This condition wasn’t unknown to humanity as we were designed “to walk with God in the cool of the day” but instead was lost at the fall. It was not reinstated by humanities quest through the means of education, environment, or effort. NO, a person becomes a Christian only by being BORN of GOD.
The question that John addresses in the final verses of this letter is hypothetical: “How can a person be confident in this conviction that by trusting in Jesus they have fellowship with God?” What John addresses is the need of humanity to be “certain”. People are always looking for something or someone that will establish “confidence” that the course in life that they have chosen is the right one. God understands humanities need for confidence in our conviction and John reveals that He has given us His “Divine certainty”. John states that our FAITH founded upon a FACT! The rest of the 5th chapter of 1st John we will see that THIS confidence….or “our faith” based upon “a single fact produces “four assurances”! In other words, our “Confidence in this FACT will cause four consequences” in our life:
A. THE FACT: Vs. 6-10 Jesus is God the Son
B. The Consequences: Vs. 11-21
- Vs. 11-13 Confidence in this truth will change our destiny.. Assurance of “Eternal life”.
- Vs. 14-15 Confidence in this truth will change our communication. Assurance of “Answered prayer”.
- Vs. 16-19 Confidence in this truth will change our direction. Assurance of “Continued transformation.”
- Vs. 20-21 Confidence in this truth will change our confidence. Assurance of the “Completion of our race.”
Vs. 6, 8 This is He
The 6th verse introduces the original readers to the TRUE identity of the only person that could restore our fellowship with God. John does this by starting with the words “This is He”. This causes the reader to go back to verse 5 where the Apostle John tied the victorious Christian life to dependence upon our trust in “Jesus being the Son of God!” What John offers the Christian is far more reliable in establishing our confidence as he reminds his readers in verse 8 that there are “Three that bear witness on earth: The Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” It is these threefold testimony to the Deity of Jesus that John offers is a contrast to the Cerinthian Gnostic heresy that taught that Jess was “Only a person, only human and not God the Son. Their teaching was that the divine element the CHRIST came upon a normal human at his baptism and this divine element left Jesus before his death upon the cross.” So, John writes concerning Jesus that: “This is HE WHO CAME by water and blood—-JESUS CHRIST.” This “Jesus, the Son of God CAME INTO TIME AND SPACE THAT WAY!” God the Son was NOT bestowed upon Him at His baptism He had always been God the Son.
Notice the wording of this threefold witness of the Fact of our faith: In verse 6 John after mentioning Jesus coming “by water and blood” informs the reader that it is “The Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.” Then we note his words in verse 8 where we read, “For there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” The words “agree as one” in the Greek are “these converge upon this one truth that Jesus is God and that because of our faith in this fact we enjoy eternal life.” The threefold testimony of the Spirit, the water and the blood agree. The Spirit is truth and was given to bring to remembrance all that Jesus said and did according to John in his gospel 15:26, 16:14. The importance of this is that we weren’t present at the baptism and the cross, but The Holy Spirit was as He is still active upon the earth today as He was when Jesus was physically upon the earth! John uses the words “by water and blood” as the context of this passage is to bring the truth to the Cerinthian Gnostic heresy. What John points out in verse 9 was that there were many “professing Christians” who were quick to trust the testimony of false teachers with regards to the identity of Jesus while not believing the God’s own testimony! We only need to read the gospel accounts to find out what the truth is: There are three times that God the Father gave His testimony of His Son’s identity, and they are at the beginning of Jesus earthly ministry at His baptism, then in the middle of His ministry at Jesus transfiguration and lastly on the cross.
Matt. 17:1-6 Transfiguration
For the purpose of the text, we will look at the one that isn’t referenced in this passage first:
Transfiguration: Matthew 17:1-6 God the Father spoke up on behalf of His Son in verse 5 saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” As you go back to this passage you are at once taken back by the simplicity BUT profound words Matthew writes with when he tells what transpired in verse 2 saying that Jesus, “was transfigured before them..” The word “transfigured” is the word metamorphosized in the Greek and is the same word that describes what happens to caterpillar inside a cocoon. This word describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside. What this means is extremely important as it relates to the text in 1st John and that is that Jesus’ glory was NOT reflective it was radiant. We are further told that His face shown like the sun. Again, Matthew is NOT describing something that was like a spotlight on Him; instead, Matthew proclaims that the light was NOT shining upon HIM it was come from within HIM! In verse 3 we are told that Moses also appeared to the three and bible students will remember that Moses had prayed in Ex. 33:18 “Please, show me Your glory.” To Which in the 20 verse God replies, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” Well here Moses’ request is granted to these three. The miracle of the transfiguration was not this moment rather it was that He did not radiate this glory all the time. John spoke of this moment in his life in John 1:14 where he wrote, “And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” It is interesting whom God brought along to witness to the three: Moses who represented the law and Elijah who represented the prophets. In other words, the sum of O.T. revelation comes to meet Jesus as He was transfigured. That is the testimony given us in Heb. 1:1-3 where we are told that, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Moses is seen as a guy that dies and goes to glory.” I’m sure that Peter did not mean to say that all three of these guys were on the same level but that is what he said and because of this with have God the Father’s correction in verse 5 “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!” The God the Father breaks through everything and reaffirms the truth of His Son. You cannot put anything or any anyone on the same plain as Jesus. Peter would some time latter say that there is no other name under heaven whereby men might be saved. Jesus is the final authority; He is the Alpha and Omega of revelation. It is not Jesus plus the law or works. It is not Jesus plus my experience. It is Jesus as seen in the word of God.
Matt. 3:13-17 Baptism
Baptism: Matt. 3:13-17 There are three specific events recorded by Matthew concerning the baptism of Jesus:
- Vs. 13-15 The baptism
- Vs. 16 The anointing
- Vs. 17 The Voice from heaven.
The great question of Jesus baptism is the reason for it: This was something that even the Baptist in verse 14 of Matt. 3 understood as we read, “John tried to prevent the baptism, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” John’s struggle was: Why did the sinless Jesus need to be baptized with the baptism of a repentance? To “repent” means a change of mind which results in a change of direction but Jesus was not going the wrong direction; mankind clearly was. So why was He baptized? The reason for these three events is that they reveal three truths and all of which identify Jesus as God the Son, the King of King’s, and the Lord of Lord’s:
A.) First, Baptism: Here Jesus as KING accepting responsibility for the subjects of the kingdom! In so doing He would be identifying with the people, and their great needs. Jesus’ Baptism was His oath taking on the responsibility to care for His subjects!
B.) Second, Anointing: He was recognized as having the crown of Authority and power to accomplish and execute His office. This always took place after identifying with the people as Jesus is being recognized as having the anointing or power necessary to accomplish what is needed for the good of the subjects of the kingdom.
C.) Third, Voice from heaven: Here we note the declaration from God the Father Himself that His Son is the ONLY One for the job. This would naturally follow the Baptism and Anointing as it is the statement of truth and authority that the Chosen One is not only the right and only One for the job He is ready to go out on the mission to which he has been appointed too.
Jesus was the King the Messiah, coming to begin His earthly reign, that makes His baptism His coronation! By Jesus going down into those waters where the people had acknowledge their sins and failures; He alone takes the responsibility for their failure and commits Himself to the cause of saving them! Verse 16 records the Anointing and it is interesting that the High Priest, upon the day of the king’s coronation would first ceremonially wash the King with water hence (baptized)! Then the king would be “anointed with oil” which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The greater question is how are we to understanding the “anointing of Jesus by the Holy Spirit”?
A.) First, Jesus and the Holy Spirit had a permanent relationship between them, for they had been together for all of eternity.
B.) Second, according to Matt. 1:20 Jesus’ incarnation was a result of the Holy Spirit. Jesus as in no other person was Born of the Holy Spirit into time space and matter. Jesus was “conceived, begotten” physically of the Holy Spirit to enter His mission.
C.) Thirdly, according to Luke 2:40, 52 Jesus’s development, physically as well as spiritually had been under the control of the Holy Spirit. We read that, “..the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
As Jesus came to the baptism He was a Man of the Spirit of God more than any other man that had ever been. He was a man that lived totally dependent upon the Spirit of God, in complete fellowship with Him at all times. He lived under the Spirit’s power, and illumination. Therefore, without question this is a special anointing a public one as He entered His public life. The Spirit of God never appears under the figure of dove anywhere else except here. The dove, like the lamb, are both types of animals used for the sacrifice. The book of Leviticus reveals the types of sacrifices that were used for sin-offerings. Upon reading of the dove descending upon Jesus the Jew’s would think of the sacrifice for sin, the lowest offering for those who could not afford anything else. This was an anointing NOT for preaching but for living in order that He might be sacrificed for our sin offering! NOT just for the wealthiest, but for those who could not afford anything else. Jesus was crowned with power to be our sacrifice! The Voice from HeavenVs.17: It is important to see that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all manifested at the same time. The Holy Spirit descending, upon Jesus the Son, while the voice of the Father is heard. Now according to Deut. 6:4 the foundational teaching of Judaism we read, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” The word “one” is a compound unity 1x1x1. Not three gods, but One God existing in three persons, seen hear. The moment the Jews would have heard this they would have thought of Psalm 2:7 where we read, “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” In this Psalm Gods King is asking for the nations for an inheritance. And at this moment this prophecy was fulfilled on the banks of the river with where the Father declares that Jesus, the Son of God is going to possess the nations as an inheritance. Jesus is the Fathers only choice therefore He is our only choice. At Jesus’ baptism the Father is setting Jesus out on the mission that for all eternity that He was called to, winning back those that trust in Him. At this baptism: Jesus assumes responsibility, for sinning mankind; He is anointed or crowned with power to be that sacrifice, and the Father declares that He is the only right choice for that office.