Monday 18 December 2017

The Incarnation of Christ and John's Gospel

After preaching two sermons yesterday on the incarnation of Christ from John 1:1-18, two things come to mind. One is the majesty of John's Gospel. It is a part of Scripture which just towers over all of us and yet it fills us with delight, joy, with a sense of awe and reverence; something which is rightly the portion of Jesus Christ from His people.

John 1:1-4 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it".

Such simple metaphors are used by John the apostle to describe God's Son. One's such as the Word, Light and Life. In studying for these two sermons, two commentaries on the Gospel of John have impressed me. They are by William Hendriksen and also by Herman Ridderbos.

On the commentary by Hendriksen, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote: "For myself I have to say that it is the most satisfying commentary that I have ever read on this Gospel". To this I concur. It is a commentary that has stood the test of time and rightly so.

Herman Ridderbos offers an excellent treatment also. Neither are a substitute for a careful study of the biblical text in English and for those who are able also, in Greek as well.

The Tyndale House Greek NT offer their assessment of the text of John 1:18, one which varies in some different translations, depending on the manuscript tradition that they use.

It reads, translated into English in my words:

"No one has ever seen God. The Only-Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has explained and made him known".

I have translated monogen─ôs, not as the Only Son but as the Only-begotten. This implies the relationship to God the Father and not only to uniqueness as the use of the translation Only Son, as some prefer to translate this word. The Greek speaking church Father's got it right when they understood this Greek term to refer to Only-begotten. This is how the Nicene Creed also expresses this term.

"I believe ... in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made:". Let us all confess our faith, now and always in "the Only-Begotten".

I commend the reading of John the First Chapter and these two commentaries to all readers and lovers of Holy Scripture.

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