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6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
struggle has not ended, nor light finished its work ; but the darkness has never overcome it.” Gradually, slowly, but steadily, is “ the bright and Morning star scattering darkness and heralding the new day.
III. THE VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS HERALDING THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, vs. 6–8. Since John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus, preparing the way for Him, is made more prominent in the next lesson, we need in this lesson simply to present him as giving his testimony that Jesus was the real Son of God, the divine Saviour from heaven.
6. There was (Am. R., came”) a man sent from God. “ The verb carries the sense of sending an envoy with a special commission.' Prof. M. R. Vincent.
Whose name was John, the Baptist. The story as told in the other Gospels shows how he was sent from God.
7. The same came for a witness (Am. R.," for witness”) of the Light, the Word that brought life and light to man. John was to open the eyes of men to see in Jesus the Light from heaven, the promised Messiah. That all men through him might believe in the light, first by his witness, and then by seeing for themselves. Illustration. Many were like the “ Owlet Atheism ” described by Coleridge :
“The Owlet Atheism
Cries out, 'Where is it?!” 8. He was not that (Am. R.," the ") Light. Some thought at first that he might be the promised Messiah. This he denied, for he was far from it. He was only the witness to the real Light. He was“ a burning and a shining light,” or rather, lamp,” (John 5 : 35) ; for the words for light in the two passages are different. Jesus was the Light (Gk. phòs), like the sun shining forth with his own original rays, and lighting all other fires on the earth ; but John was a lamp (Gk. luknos), which we often call a light ” but is a lamp holding a light.
9. That was the true, the genuine, Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Jesus is the light for every man, every race, for every age, every nation, just as the sun lights all men everywhere, if only they will open their eyes, and come into
He is the light of the whole world. And the fact that he is thus universal, adapted to all, as is proved by what he is doing all over the globe where the Gospel is preached, is one of the strongest proofs that Christianity is the true religion. The Am. R. connects the coming into the world with the true Light –
There was the true light . coming into the world.” In the margin it is still clearer, “ The true light which lighteth every man was coming into the world.” “ He had been coming into the world from the first, advancing towards his Incarnation by preparatory revelations (Westcott), and was not fully come till made manifest to Israel by the baptismal act of John.” — Cook.
IV. THE WORD MADE FLESH AND DWELLING AMONG US, ver. 14. The point of view in verses ro to 13 is that of the “ Word made flesh” in the person of Jesus, when he had reached manhood, at the age of 30 years. It may be therefore of some advantage to the younger people to begin this section with verse 14 which presents the divine Word as becoming filesh in the person of the child Jesus born in Bethlehem. The story of his birth as recorded in Matthew and Luke is familiar to children, but they do not always realize the divine side of his being as told in the Gospel according to John.
14. And the Word who created all things and revealed the heart of God, was made flesh (Am. R., “became flesh ”) became a human being, “ human nature, as a whole, under the aspect of its present corporeal embodiment.' Exp. Greek Test. Through the Virgin Mary and the miraculous conception, the worthy and fitting way in which the Son of God should become flesh. See Luke 1 : 26–38; Matt. I : 18–25.
10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
II. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
phrase became flesh means more than that he assumed a human body. He assumed human nature entire, having a human body, a human soul, a human spirit.” “He did not cease to be the eternal Word. His divine nature was not laid aside. Retaining all the essential properties of the Word, he entered into a new mode of being, not a new being.” — M. R. Vincent. The divine nature did not simply remain apart from mankind, but expressed and embodied itself in such form as men could comprehend, and came among them.”. Professor Ramsay in The Education of Christ.
So that He who was the brightness of God's glory, and the very image of His person, yet was not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities ; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” “For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” (Heb. 4:15; 2 : 18.)
Illustration. Without attempting the impossibility of explaining this mystery, we can at least show that it is reasonable and possible by means of a similar mystery in ourselves, which we all believe to be true, whatever the seeming contradiction. Each one of us is a union of spirit with body in one person. Yea, more than that, each one of us is a union of the human soul with the animal life in a body, making one person. To one who did not know the fact it would be contradictory, unthinkable, that the immaterial spirit should unite with matter, and with the animal life of that matter, and that while the different elements were distinct, yet all should form one per
But this is simply a fact, unexplained, but true; and every difficulty involved in the union of
Permission of Methodist Book Concern. God with human nature, body and
A Blackboard Study. spirit, forming one person, Christ Jesus, sometimes spoken of sepa
Christ, the light underived, is to the souls of men what the sun
is to the physical universe. There is no life apart from him, rately, sometimes as a whole, some- for it is he, the Word of God, who originates, energizes, and times as divine, sometimes perpetuates all. From him emanates the glory which he had human, is repeated, illustrated,
with the Father before the world was; and in beholding him and shown to be solvable by our
we behold God. own persons, that being said of the whole which is true only of the soul (as that we are immortal), or, again, true only of the body (as that we are sick, or die),
“ We cannot divide the activity of Christ into two sections and say “ This the divine nature did, and this the human nature did ;' the human and the divine were inextricably blended in one." — J. R. Miller.
And dwelt among us for his whole life of 33 years, but especially in close contact with his disciples for three years. The Gk. for dwelt signifies“ dwelt as in a tent,” a temporary abode. This figure expresses two thoughts : (1) That Christ really dwelt among us, and did not merely appear to some person or come in a vision, as in
the previous ages. (2) That his abode among us in this form was temporary, only a
And we beheld his glory. The people of Palestine, but chiefly his 12 disciples. His glory was the outshining of those qualities which form the excellency and splendor of his true nature, as the glory of the sun is radiance, the outshining of the very nature and heart of the sun. Glory as of the only begotten of the Father. Glory worthy of the eternal Son, who was the express image of the Father. It was the glory of goodness, of wisdom, of love, of power controlled by these qualities. When Moses saw the glory of God, it was the goodness of God that passed before him (Ex. 33 : 18, 19).
Full of grace and truth. These were his glory. Full, overflowing with, able to bestow them without measure. Grace primarily means that which gives joy, the beauty, loveliness, goodness, which bring delight ; then kindness, favor, good-will. Hence the gifts and favors which are the expression of good-will, and thence, still more fully, the free, loving bestowal of this favor and these good gifts.
And truth. Reality, as opposed to the symbolism of the Law (compare 4 : 23). In the law was a shadow of good things to come ; in Christ we have the good things themselves.” Exp. Gk. Test. The great eternal truths that we all need to know, but which we can know with certainty only when they are revealed from heaven.
The Divine and Human Saviour. Only a Saviour who is both God and man can be the true Saviour of mankind. He must be Divine, or He could not have power to save all men at all times, in all places, under all circumstances. Only God is wise enough, and good enough to save us. Only a divine Saviour can lead to victory over all the forces of evil ; only He could make atonement for sin ; only He could represent God truly to us ; only He be forever before us as our ideal, leading us onward and upward through eternity.
On the other hand He must be Human, visible, manifest, living a human life, making his divinity known by His divine works and teachings and character, the perfect example, with human experiences, and able to help in every time of need.
Note. The teacher needs to make the Saviour very real to his scholars, so that they can trust Him, obey Him, consecrate themselves to Him, accept Him as their teacher, be loyal to Him and His cause.
V. HOW JESUS WAS RECEIVED, vs. 10–13. He was in the world as the expected Messiah, heralded by John the Baptist. He was living among men, inviting, teaching, healing. And the world was made by him. They belonged to him not only by creation, but by his long training of their nation. He was their Creator, and they were his creatures, made in his image, made to be like him in character and destiny, and under the deepest obligations to him. And the world (as a whole) knew him not. Did not recognize him as their Saviour and King, did not understand who he was, and what great blessings he was bringing to them.
II. He came unto his own. (" Own ”is neuter in the Greek.) His own creation, own inheritance. Referring to all people, but with a special emphasis on the Jewish nation, for whom he had done so much, for long ages, recounted in their Scriptures by songs and prophets.
And his own (here masculine in the Gk.) referring to the people.
Received him not. Rejected him, opposed him, crucified him, their Messiah, and Saviour, and King.
12. But as many as received him. Accepted him as their Saviour and King, acknowledged his claims, and yielded obedience to his teachings. To them gave he power (Am. R.,“ gave he the right”). The Greek verb means more than this, Thayer's Greek English Lexicon gives “power of choice, liberty, permission.' Physical or mental power, the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises." As I am writing my attention is called to an act of Congress which states that the President is “ authorized and empowered” to do certain things. It is exactly both these two things that we need, and which the Greek word expresses. God gave those who received him both the authority, and the power to become the children of God. He gave them the right to choose which they would be. He gave them the authority and the ability to overcome all the forces of evil, to use the means, the laws of nature and of spirit; and the right and authority and power to become the children and heirs of God. Even to them that believe on his name ; the name which is above every name. The name is the sum of all that one is.
What is included in being Children of God? (1) We are born again into the nature and character of God, the same kind of spiritual life that he has. (2) We are members of God's family, the holy of all ages and all worlds. (3) We are under his peculiar loving care, dwelling under the shadow of his almighty wings. (4) We have a share in his beautiful home. (5) We are heirs of all things through him, his joy, his love, his character, his blessings ; and the privilege of working with him for the transformation of this world into the new earth where God's will is done as it is in heaven.
13. In spite of all the power and right to become children of God, there are some ways in which it cannot be done. God gives you the power and the right to make a garden in which God makes things grow, but there are some ways in which a garden cannot be made to flourish. God gives you the right and the power to make a useful, happy, successful life ; but people often try to attain this blessing in ways which must end in failure. Hence he warns us against them.
Which were born. Received the new life into the Kingdom of God. Not of blood, physical descent, inheritance of parents. The best of parents cannot bestow it upon their children. The Jews were not children of God merely because they were descendants of Abraham. Nor of the will of the flesh. Not by their own efforts or exertions, their mere desire and decision to have the blessings of the children of God, without using the means or having faith in the Saviour. Nor of the will of man. “Pointing to the noblest and wisest powers of man; not by or in consequence of the advice, wisdom, or highest power of man, or anything that man by wisdom and intellect could do.' G. W. Clark. But of God. He alone can impart the new life, for it is a spiritual divine life like his own. “ The writer is speaking of the origin or source of Christian character, not of the instruments by which it is developed. Good parentage, will-power, and education are all means for the development of divine sonship ; the original cause, without which a true son of God is never produced, is the creative act of God himself.". Lyman Abbott.
Note. This lesson is so full of blessed truths, that verses 15 to 18 will be considered in connection with next Sunday's Lesson. Let us make this first lesson of the New Year, with its wonderful story,
A DECISION DAY EXPERIENCE. A Decision to receive this Son of God as our Saviour, if we have not already done so.
A Decision to love Him more fervently, to serve Him more faithfully, to follow Him more closely.
LESSON II. — January 14.
PRINT 1:19, 23–34. MEMORIZE vs. 32, 33. GOLDEN TEXT. Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! – JOHN 1: 29.
THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. useless it was to get men to listen to apIn the spring of 1915 there was a re- them. This gave a scientific basis for
peals unless they are energized to act on ligious revival in Yale University, which registered decisions. As soon as John R. in its interest and efficiency is without a
Mott and G. Sherwood Eddy dared act parallel in the University since 1831. Over 1000 students, including most of on this, the results were so remarkable
that the conservatives no longer opposed the social leaders, athletes, and scholars,
it.” attended each of four successive meetings, of which G. Sherwood Eddy, was the for decision. Hundreds of the students
At Yale two of the meetings were held speaker, the man who has done such registered their decision which was of this magnificent work among the students of India, China, and Japan. And he worked general nature : It is my purpose, with the on the same principles at Yale as with the help of God, to pay what it costs to be a students in those countries.
sincere follower of Jesus Christ. I speak of this to call attention of the Sunday school teachers to one of the
LEARN BY HEART. greatest sources of their success. William James of Harvard showed how Matt. II : 28–30 ; Rev. 22 : 17.
THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING. ing to the Gospel of John (pp. 86–94), is Time.
very illuminating. - John began his public ministry in the summer of A.D. 26. The Bap
On the scene of John's ministry, see tism of Jesus, A.D. 27, January. The George Adam Smith's Historical Geogdelegation from Jerusalem toward the raphy of the Holy Land, pp. 261, 312– last of February.
317, and Thomson's Land and Book, I., Place. The Wilderness of Judea, and 366. at Bethabara (Am. R., “Bethany”), on On preparing the way, Trumbull's
Studies in Oriental Social Life, · The Voice of the Forerunner” and “ Primitive Idea of ‘The Way,'” is excellent.
The Lamb of God in the Writings of John, by Dr. Nicoll.
Peloubet's Suggestive Illustrations on John.
Robertson's Sermons, Series
Pharisees and Sadducees at John's Baptism,
is very suggestive. Wilderness of Judea near Dead Sea.
Dr. Geo. Dana
Boardman's The the eastern shore of the Jordan, at some | Divine Man, chapters on The Baptist's place where there was much water and Heraldry,” and “ The Baptism of Jesus.” seclusion.
THE LESSON IN LITERATURE. THE ROUND TABLE. FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION.
Longfellow's Poems, “ Vox Claman
tis.' John the Baptist. Grace for grace.
Pope's Messiah, lines 29–32. How Jesus enables us to see God.
Ben Hur and Quo Vadis give vivid Bethabara.
pictures of the times. The voice in the wilderness.
On the moral condition of the world Why John baptized. Jesus the Lamb of God.
into which John and Jesus came, see UhlHow John was enabled to recognize Jesus as the horn's Conflict of Christianity with Messiah.
Preaching of John : Longfellow, The
Divine Tragedy, “ First Passover,” Part SUBJECT : The Witness of John to 1. Milton, Paradise Regained, 1 : 18–22, Christ.
270. I. JESUS IS THE REVEALER OF God, Cookman, “ Washed in the Blood of the
Poem on the dying words of Alfred
Illustrations on John.
God, vs. 19–28.
THE LESSON IN ART.
John the Baptist, by Da Vinci ; Dolci ;
Memling ; Sarto ;* Titian ;* Doré.* THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.
Behold the Lamb of God, Bida.* All the Commentaries on John.
Fords of the Jordan.* Riggs, The Messages of Jesus Accord- * In Wilde's Bible Pictures.
I. JESUS IS THE REVEALER OF THE FATHER, THE MIRROR IN WHICH WE CAN SEE GOD, vs. 15-18. John the Baptist, when the time came for him to