The Apostle John finishes this letter with a summation of what he has been writing. His topic: Fellowship with God through New Birth. Such fellowship is not gained by education, environment, or effort. John teaches that a person can only come into fellowship with the Living God by New Birth or if you will by being BORN of GOD. Having established this truth John then addresses the hypothetical question of: “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”. It seems as though John looked at this issue intently and discovered the reality that God understood humanities need for confidence in our conviction as John reveals that as such God has given us His “Divine certainty”. The 5th chapter of 1st John shows us that “our faith” is based upon “a single fact that will bring forth “four assurances” that when trusted continually by the believer 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.”
The 6th verse of chapter 5 introduces the TRUE identity of the only person that could restore our fellowship with God through New Birth. John does this by starting with the words “This is He” and 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!” John offers the Christian 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 this 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.” John contrasts this heresy by writing 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. In verse 8 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 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. 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.
- 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! John had previously wrote of this 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.”
- 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 with regards to Jesus’ baptism is the reason for it?: This was something that we notice in the words of John the Baptist in verse 14 of Matt. 3 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. The reason for these three events is best understood in the context of the coronation of a King. The Gnostics claimed that Jesus wasn’t the King of Kings and that he only received a temporary anointing for a brief time. John reveals Jesus as always being the King and that His Baptism isn’t as the Gnostics claimed an anointing of an ordinary man for a special work but the coronation of a King for what He had always been the King. So, as we examine Matthews words we note the three aspects of this moment 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.
At Jesus’ baptism we see the King coming to claim what was always His: 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.
At the cross
The last of the three times that the Father testified publicly concerning the true identity of His Son is Found In several locations: The statement of the Father in John 12:28 prior to the Cross, then the threefold Supernatural evidences found in Matthew 27:45-53. As the above examples these were in view due to the Gnostics false claims that Jesus lost his special anointing at the cross. John’s points out that the cross was not when Jesus “LOST” his temporary anointing but rather when the Father proclaimed the victory of what had been planned before time. The author of Hebrews interprets Isa 6:8 in light of this in chapter 10:5-7 when he writes of a conversation of Jesus with the Father before time began saying, “When He (Jesus) came into the world. He (Jesus) said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I (Jesus) said, Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me (Jesus)—To do Your will, O God.” To illustrate this, we will examine the text of John 12:28 which was the Father’s response to His Son, Jesus’, prayer of Glorifying the Father’s name when Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem on the final week of His earthly life at the “Triumphal entry”. We will then look at three “Supernatural evidences” in Matthew 27:45-53 that demonstrated Who Jesus had always been. And finally, we will see that this “three Supernatural evidences” were clear enough to illicit the proper response from even a Roman Centurion in Matthew 27:54.
- John 12:24-28: The incident in which Jesus delivered the parable of the “grain of wheat” occurred around two days before Jesus’ experience in the garden. This reveals, that Jesus clearly saw beyond the crisis of the cross to the Glory of obedience. Jesus used the image of a seed to illustrate the great spiritual truth that there can be no glory without suffering, no fruitful life without death, no victory without surrender. Notice that Jesus didn’t say “What shall I do?” but “What shall I say?” He knew what His purpose was, and it was that which guided Him not anything else. In Jesus words He is honest, “now My soul is troubled” as Jesus pondered the reality of the cross He realized its implications that becoming man’s sin offering brought a momentary separation from loving fellowship with the Father as sin separates from fellowship with God. Jesus clearly had a choice, “what shall I say? Father save Me from this hour?” “Shall I put My desire above My calling and obedience?” Then instantly comes His own reply, “But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Jesus describes this “purpose” in His conversation with the Father as He says, “Father, glorify Your name.” What follows is the third time the voice of the Father thundered from heaven. Those around Jesus just heard thunder but Jesus heard the words and so Jesus must have conveyed the Fathers words to them. What Jesus does is proclaim that the outcome was not in doubt the moment the decision to go to the cross was made, sin and satan were going to be defeated. This isn’t as the false teaching of the Gnostics said was a time that the anointing departed Jesus but the time that victory was WON! This is demonstrated by “threefold Supernatural evidence” found in Matthew 27:45-53.
A. Matthew 27:45 Darkness: It is interesting to note that throughout the whole time of the trial and crucifixion, God the Father is silent. At Jesus’ baptism He spoke “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Then at the Mount of transfiguration God the Father again spoke and said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, hear Him.” Yet at this time though there was “Supernatural evidence” it was framed in the silence of darkness that fell upon the land. Jesus was put on the cross around 9: AM and at about noon darkness covered the land that lasted for three hours. You can search history in different cultures and find that they all speak of a time when the sky went dark. The Roman historian Tertullian speaks of this darkness at the time of Jesus’ death which is recorded in the Roman archives. What is interesting is that we know that it was a full moon because it was Passover season which always was held during a full moon. This means that this could not have been an eclipse as you cannot have an eclipse during a full moon because the moon is on the opposite side of the sun!
B. Matthew 27:51a Temple Veil: Before we look at the spiritual implication of the veil being torn in two from top to bottom, we need to look at the veil and its purpose. The veil separated the Holy Place which was made up of tables of show bread and the alter of incense from the Holy of Holies which is where the Ark of the Covenant was at. The veil was massive, 60 feet tall, 30 feet wide, and 10 inches thick. It was made of 72 braids, each braid had 24 cords. It was so heavy that it took 300 priests to put it up or move it. Originally behind the veil is where the visible presence of the Lord was seen in the Shkinah glory. This was between the wings of the cherubim over the mercy seat on the Arch of the Covenant. No light was in the Holy of Holies, and no one ever entered the Holy of Holies accept the high priest once a year, on the Day of Atonement. On that day the high priest would go through the veil into the small room called the Holy of Holies and he would sprinkle blood about the mercy seat and intercede on behalf of the nation and its sin. The veil of the temple excluded everyone from God except the High Priest once a year. According to Lev. 17:11 “..it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Heb. 9:22 says, “..without shedding of blood there is no remission.” If there is no remission of our sin then there can be no fellowship between God and us. All the other high priests offered the blood of animals every year for the sins of the people, but Jesus the Great High Priest had just offered Himself as the sacrifice! And what He did He did once for all! (Heb. 7:27) That is why the veil was torn it was torn from top to bottom. It was God the Father who created the access to Himself by the sacrifice of His own Son. Jesus’ death wasn’t when the anointing left Jesus; it was instead, when Jesus opened the DOOR to the Father! God is open, not just once a year, at a certain place, by only certain people. You can come anytime, anyplace, any person as long as you come in Jesus’ atonement!!!
C. Matthew 27:51b-53 Earthquake: In these verses we see the third of three Supernatural evidences. These three things happened in succession.
- The earth quaked, and the rocks split: Earthquakes were not uncommon events, instead it’s the timing of it in light of the words of Jesus a week earlier that make it a sign. In Luke 19:40 as the crowds worshipped Jesus when He entered Jerusalem the religious leaders rebuked Jesus commanding Him to tell them to stop to which Jesus replied, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” The rocks were quaking and splitting out a worship song that was declaring that the curse had been lifted!
- Vs. 52 Second, because of the earthquake the stones that covered the tombs they now opened. The word “raised” in this verse would better be rendered “appeared”. What happened is that the bodies of the some of the believers were made visible! This sign is better understood when we consider 1 Cor. 15:55-58 you read, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God was showing that death could not hold the saints in the grave.
- Vs. 53 Lastly, it says that these same believers came out of the graves after Jesus’ resurrection and went into Jerusalem appearing to many. The word “appear” means to “to exhibit (in person) or disclose (by words), declare (plainly), to inform.” Paul tells us in Eph 4:8-9 that when Jesus “..ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:19 that Jesus “preached to the spirits in prison,” These O.T. saints that had been waiting for the Messiah is who Jesus went to share the liberty of his sacrifice that they had looked forward too, thus they were out there sharing that only through Jesus could you be made perfect!
It is clear in part that according to Matthew 27:54 the Centurion who witnessed the threefold sign understood the Father’s testimony that “Truly this was the Son of God