"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:5)
This lesson explains the meaning of John 1:5.
Consider. What does this verse (John 1:5) mean to you? How would you explain "The Light shines in the darkness" to an inquisitive believer or to a person who does not know Christ?
Scriptures in this lesson are taken from the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB) on the Bible Gateway website (Ref. 1) unless indicated otherwise.
1. The Light shines in the darkness
a. What is "The Light"?
Throughout the New Testament, "light" figuratively denotes truth and knowledge together with spiritual purity (Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Ref. 2). In John 1:5, the "Light" is God's divine illumination to reveal and impart life through Jesus Christ. The Light that shines in the darkness is the life-giving, saving truth embodied in Christ and by his love and effort imparted to mankind (Ref. 2).
b. Was the "Light" only in the past or is it ongoing?
The Light of Christ is perpetual. It always shines, and it never ceases. The life-giving, saving truth of Christ shining in the darkness was an on-going truth for the Apostle John and is an ongoing truth for us today -- not only for us, but also for us to share with others.
The verb "shines" in John 1:5 is in the present tense (Englishman's Concordance, Ref. 3). A Greek verb in the present tense means a present, continued action that is an actual fact (Ref. 4). The Greek verb for "shines" is phainó and means to shed light or appear (Strong's Concordance, Ref. 3). John uses the same word in 1 John 2:8.
c. In John and 1 John, what is the "darkness"?
In John 1:5 the Greek word for "darkness" is skotia (pronounced skot-ee'-ah) (Ref. 5). Skotia [darkness] figuratively means ignorance (lack of knowledge) of divine things, wickedness, and the resultant misery (Ref. 5).
John uses skotia figuratively for "darkness" in John 1:5, John 8:12, John 12:35, John 12:46, 1 John 1:5, as well as 1 John 2:8, 9, and 11. For example, Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life" (John 8:12).
Skotia also has a literal meaning -- dark because of the absence of daylight (John 6:17, John 20:1).
d. How does a person get out of the "darkness"?
Believe in Jesus
Jesus tells us how we (or any person) can get out of spiritual darkness. Jesus said, "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness" (John 12:46). The key for getting out of the darkness and into the light is to believe in Jesus. The Greek word for "believe" in John 12:46 is pisteuó (pronounced pist-yoo'-o). Pisteuó means trust in, have faith in, and put confidence in (Ref. 6). A person who believes in Jesus trusts in, has faith in, and puts their confidence in Jesus.
2. And the darkness did not comprehend it or overcome it
The Greek verb translated as "comprehend" or "overcome" in John 1:5 is katalambanó (pronounced kat-al-am-ban'-o) (HELPS Word-studies, Ref. 7). Katalambanó means:
Let us rejoice! The Light of Jesus Christ is perpetual and is victorious over the darkness. The Light of Christ shining in the darkness gives us hope. As disciples of Christ, let us seek ways we can help provide the Light of Christ to others, to help them "see the Light" so that they will not remain in darkness.
Summary. In John 1:5, the "Light" is God's divine illumination to reveal and impart life through Jesus Christ to mankind. The Light shines perpetually, and it never ceases. Because of ignorance and wickedness, the darkness has not perceived or understood the Light. The darkness has not overcome the Light nor will it ever overcome the Light. As Christ's disciples, we have hope because Christ and his light are victorious over the darkness.
Apply. Think for a moment. In your own words, how would you describe the meaning of "The Light shines in the darkness"? How can you share the Light of Christ with others?
"Jesus is the Light of the World" - John 8:12, John 12:46
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"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23:1-3)
This lesson explains the biblical meaning of Psalm 23:3, "He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
Consider. In your relationship with your shepherd, what does it mean to you that he restores your soul?
David writes Psalm 23 from the perspective of a sheep who is in a close relationship with and is under the protective care of his shepherd. In Psalm 23:1 David confidently writes, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." As followers of Jesus Christ our shepherd, we are his sheep, and we have a close relationship with him. We trust our shepherd, and he protects us and cares for us. He calls our name, and we follow him. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd" and "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:11, John 10:27).
1. "He restores my soul"
The Lord our shepherd restores and refreshes our soul -- our life, our emotions, and our vitality -- all that comprises our inner living being (Ref.1). In Psalm 23:3, the form of the Hebrew verb translated as restore has a dual meaning. In Psalm 23:3 restore literally means to bring back and figuratively means to refresh (Brown-Driver-Briggs -- Ref. 2). The Lord our shepherd restores our soul by bringing us back from our wanderings when we go astray from him (Ref. 2, Ref. 3, Isaiah 53:6).
The Lord our shepherd refreshes our soul when we are wearied, exhausted, troubled, anxious, and worn down with care and toil (Ref. 4, Matthew 11:28-29). The Lord our shepherd brings back our vigor, encourages us, excites us to new effort, and fills us with new joy (Ref. 4, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 51:12, Acts 13:52).
2. "He leads me in paths of righteousness"
The Lord our shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. The Hebrew verb translated as lead means to guide and implies movement (Ref. 5). The Lord our shepherd leads us by calling our name and going before us for the purpose of our following him (John 10:1-4).
The Lord our shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness -- in ways that are right and just, moral and ethical, ways that are in accordance with his word (Ref. 6).
The paths of righteousness lead to life, not to death. Solomon wrote, "In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death" (Proverbs 12:28).
3. "For his name's sake"
The Lord our shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. The phrase, for his name's sake, means to maintain his reputation or character (Brown-Driver-Briggs -- Ref. 7). As followers of our shepherd, Jesus Christ, the way we live should bring honor, not dishonor, to his name. David wrote, "For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me" (Psalm 31:3). David also wrote, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!" (Psalm 143:10-11).
Prayer. Thank you, Lord, for bringing us back when we have wandered away from you. Thank you, Lord, for refreshing our vitality when we are weary, and for giving us new direction and new joy. Thank you, Lord, for leading us in righteous paths for living that bring honor and glory to your name. All this we pray in your name, Jesus, our shepherd. Amen.
Benson Commentary on Psalm 23:3
Barnes' Notes on Psalm 23:3
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5)
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26)
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)
This lesson is written for people who already are believers in Jesus Christ. This lesson teaches 1) Before the foundation of the world, God planned to adopt us as his sons (children), 2) We become God's adopted sons through faith in Jesus Christ, and 3) God has given believers in his Son the Spirit of adoption, not a spirit of bondage.
Consider. Do you believe that God has adopted you as his child?
1. Before the foundation of the world, God planned to adopt us as his sons (children)
In Ephesians 1:1, Paul writes, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus." Paul is writing not to unbelievers but to believers in Jesus Christ.
Paul then writes, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will" (Ephesians 1:3-5, italics added to the text for emphasis).
God's plan to save us through His Son and to adopt us as his sons has been established since before the world began. The Greek word in Ephesians 1:5 for adoption is huiothesia (pronounced hwee-oth-es-ee'-ah), which means literally to place as a son (Ref. 1). Thayer's Greek Lexicon further describes the meaning of the word adoption: "the nature and condition of the true disciples of Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become the sons of God" (Ref. 1). Because of God's kind will and advanced planning, God has adopted us -- believers in Jesus Christ -- as his sons.
2. We become God's adopted children through faith in Jesus Christ
In Galatians 3:26, Paul writes, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Note that Paul is writing to all the believers comprising the churches in Galatia (Galatians 1:2).
There is only one criterion for becoming an adopted son (child) of God -- faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Faith in Jesus Christ means belief, trust, and confidence in Jesus Christ (Strong's Concordance - Ref. 2). Faith is a gift from God, and is not something we earn through our own works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The phrase, "sons of God," in Galatians 3:26 is inclusive, not exclusive. In the New Testament, the phrase "sons of God" equally refers to male and female believers (HELPS Word-studies - Ref.3). The Greek word for sons in Galatians 3:26 means literally a son by birth or adoption and figuratively anyone sharing the same nature as their Father (Ref.3).
God's adoption of us as his children through faith in Christ applies equally regardless of our ethnic or racial or national background, economic status, or sex. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
3. God has given believers in his Son the Spirit of adoption, not the spirit of bondage
In Romans 8:15 Paul states that God has given us (believers in Christ) "the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" First, the Holy Spirit is a gift by God to believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:28). Second, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of adoption) brings us into a close, affectionate relationship with God as our heavenly Father where we like children call him "Abba," the equivalent of "Daddy" or "Papa" (Ref. 4).
The Spirit of adoption that we receive as God's adopted children is more pleasant than the spirit of bondage which is in the world. In Romans 8:15 Paul says that the Spirit we have received is not the spirit of bondage [slavery] (Ref. 5). The spirit of bondage keeps people in slavery to sin (John 8:34) and in fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). In contrast, through the redemptive work accomplished by Christ (Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:7), we are freed from slavery to sin and death (John 8:31-36, Romans 8:1-2).
Through his Son, Jesus Christ, God has adopted us into a loving relationship with himself as our heavenly Father and us as his beloved children. God has given us -- his beloved adopted children -- the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of adoption.
Prayer. Thank you, Father, for your plan to adopt us as your children through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the redemptive work of Jesus which has freed us from the power of sin and fear of death. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit which enables us to cry out, "Abba! Father!"
"Our Adoption as God's Children" - Galatians 4:4-7
"Becoming a Child of God" - John 1:12
"What is Redemption?" - Ephesians 1:7
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
This lesson is intended primarily for young people -- youth and young adults. You are considering the path or direction for your life. You may be feeling the call from Jesus Christ to commit your life, your way, to him. Yet, the world is attractive to you; its ways are enticing you (1 John 2:15-17). You may be feeling the world pulling you in opposition to the call of commitment to Jesus Christ. You are at a "fork in the road." Which way will you choose?
This lesson encourages you to enter through the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ and to follow Jesus on the path that leads to life.
1. Choose Jesus Christ instead of the world
Make the decision. Choose to enter the kingdom of God by the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ himself.
The broad way of the world may be attractive to you - for example, desire for "success" in the world's eyes, accumulating wealth, and prestige. Yet, Jesus says the broad way leads to destruction -- life cut off from Christ, ruin, or loss (Ref. 1). That ruin or loss can occur during this earthly life, for example, from love of money (1 Timothy 6:9, Matthew 6:24), or at the final judgment (Revelation 20:15). Even though God does love the people of the world and sent his Son to save us (John 3:16), Jesus' disciple John warns us not to love the things of the world such as pride and lust (1 John 2:15-17).
2. Search for and find the narrow gate
Jesus said, "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14, italics added). The implication from this verse is that instead of our choosing the broad way of the world, we should actively search for and find the narrow gate which is Christ. The Greek word for find in Matthew 7:14 means find, learn, discover, especially after searching (Ref. 2). Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).
3. Enter through the narrow gate by faith in Christ
Enter through the narrow gate by placing your faith and trust in God's Son, Jesus Christ. God has ordained that the path to life and the way to God the Father is through his Son. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). Jesus also said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9).
4. Follow Jesus -- the way that leads to life
Jesus himself is the way that leads to life (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14). The life that Jesus leads us to is full in both the physical and spiritual sense (Ref. 3). Jesus promises believers an abundant life (John 10:10) -- a life filled with purpose, growth, work, and service.
Note that as we follow Jesus on the path that leads to life, the path is not easy. In Matthew 7:14 Jesus said "the way is narrow that leads to life." The word narrow in narrow way in Matthew 7:14 means constricted by pressure, and implies trouble and affliction (Ref. 4). Despite the obstacles that we will encounter on the way that leads to life, Jesus promises to be with us always (Matthew 28:20); he gives us the Holy Spirit to help us (John 14:16, John 16:13). Jesus promises that he will lead us as we follow him on the way to our heavenly Father and to our heavenly destination (John 14:6, John 14:2-3).
Apply. Make the decision. Choose the way of Christ instead of the way of the world. Search for and find the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ himself. Enter through the narrow gate by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Choose to follow Jesus on the path that leads to life and to our Father in heaven.
"Jesus is the Door" - John 10:7, John 10:9
"Jesus is the Way to the Father" - John 14:6
"Do Not Love the World" - 1 John 2:15
"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'" (John 4:10)
This lesson explains the meaning of living water in the Bible, and provides examples of living water -- physical and spiritual -- from the Old and New Testaments.
Consider. What does "living water" mean to you? How would you explain "living water" to someone else?
"Living water" in the Bible refers both to flowing, fresh, pure water that satisfies our thirst in the physical sense and to perpetual, God-given spiritual blessing and life-giving power that satisfies our thirst in the spiritual sense.
1. Living water is flowing and fresh
"Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing [living] water" (Genesis 26:19, brackets added, Ref. 1). Read Genesis 36:18-22 for context.
"Living water" in the physical sense is water that is flowing and fresh as from a running stream or a perennial spring. Its motion and freshness resembles life, in contrast with stagnant water or water that is turbid (muddy or sediment-filled) or salty.
The Hebrew word for flowing in Genesis 26:19 is chay (pronounced khah'-ee). Chay is an adjective which means alive or living (Strong's Concordance - Ref. 1). When chay describes water, it means flowing and fresh (Brown-Driver-Briggs - Ref. 1). Also see Zechariah 14:8.
In the Bible, living water in the physical sense implies freshness, movement, and life.
2. Living water is spiritual blessing and life-giving power
Living water in the spiritual sense is spiritual blessing and life-giving power. God is the source -- the fountain -- of living water for his people. Jesus, the Son of God, is the giver of living water. Unlike the idols, lusts, and material things the world seeks to satisfy its thirsts, the living water that Jesus gives us satisfies our thirsts perpetually and springs up in us to eternal life. The living water that Jesus gives us overflows in us and blesses others.
a. God is the source -- the fountain -- of living water
"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13). Also read Jeremiah 17:13, and Psalm 36:9.
In Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 17:13, and Psalm 36:9, the Hebrew word for fountain is maqor (pronounced maw-kore') and means figuratively a spring (Ref. 2).
God, the fountain [or spring] of living water, provided the Israelites every blessing they needed. Yet, the Israelites deserted God, practiced idolatry, and sought after gods that would not profit them (Jeremiah 2:8-11). Today, God, the fountain of living water, provides us every blessing we need. That brings up the question -- Are you seeking God who can truly satisfy your thirst, or are you trusting in "broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13)?
b. Jesus Christ -- the Son of God -- is the giver of living water
"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water'" (John 4:10). Read John 4:1-15 for context.
Jesus Christ -- the Son of God, the Messiah -- is the giver of living water (John 4:10, John 4:14). However, in John 4:10, early in his conversation with the woman at the well, there were two impediments preventing the woman from receiving the living water that Jesus gives. First, she did not know [Greek word eidó means perceive] who it was who was speaking to her (Ref. 3). At first she thought Jesus was an ordinary Jew (John 4:9). Later in the conversation she did understand who Jesus was -- the Messiah, the Christ -- and she proclaimed Jesus to the people of her town (John 4:25-26, John 4:28-29) resulting in their coming to Christ (John 4:39-42).
Second, when Jesus began the conversation with the woman at the well, she did not know [perceive] what the gift of living water really was (and still is). When Jesus first mentioned living water to her (John 4:10), she thought of living water only in the physical, flowing sense (John 4:11). Moments later in the conversation, Jesus helped her to think of living water in the spiritual sense. In John 4:13, Jesus said (referring to the physical well water), "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again." Jesus then explained the spiritual benefits of living water. "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14).
When Jesus described the spiritual meaning of living water -- perpetual, life-giving power that springs up to eternal life (John 4:14) -- the woman then expressed her desire to have that living water. She said, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water" (John 4:15).
So, note the two conditions from John 4:10-15 for receiving the life-giving living water that Jesus gives:
1) Perceive who Jesus really is (the Messiah, the Christ), and
2) Desire to have the living water that Jesus is willing to give.
c. The living water that Jesus gives us satisfies our thirsts perpetually and springs up in us to eternal life
"Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life" (John 4:14).
(1). The living water that Jesus gives us is eternal in its duration and satisfies our thirsts completely
Jesus said to the woman, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty" (John 4:14). Jesus recognized that the Samaritan woman was thirsty; however, she was seeking to satisfy her thirst in the ways of the world (John 4:16-18, 1 John 2:15-17). In contrast with the ways of the world which are temporary and cannot satisfy our spiritual thirst (broken cisterns that can hold no water), the living water that Jesus Christ gives us eternally satisfies our thirst.
(2). The living water that Jesus gives us becomes in us a fountain springing up to eternal life
Jesus said, "The water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life" (John 4:14). The living water that Jesus gives us as believers -- spiritual blessing and life-giving power -- is a perpetually flowing fountain within us that is active, dynamic, and vigorous. The Greek word that John uses for springing is hallomai (pronounced hal'-lom-ahee) which means leaping, springing, gushing (Ref. 4). The living water that Jesus gives us provides us abundant life (John 10:10). The living water that Jesus gives us helps us to enjoy the quality of eternal life now with him while we are on earth and as we anticipate being in heaven with him.
d. The living water that Jesus gives us flows from us and blesses others
Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'" (John 7:38).
To discuss this verse, let's consider "three directions" -- to us, in us, and from us to others.
To us -- God is the source, the fountain of living water (Jeremiah 2:13). That living water -- God's blessing and spiritual power -- flows from God to us (Isaiah 44:3).
In us -- The living water that Jesus gives us is a life-giving fountain that springs up in us (John 4:14). The living water that Jesus gives us completely satisfies our thirsts and endures to eternal life.
From us to others -- Jesus said that for those that believe in him, from our innermost being "will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). From God we shall receive an abundance of spiritual blessings not only to refresh us, but also so we can be instrumental in refreshing and comforting others (Ref. 5). As believers, we do not "end" at satisfying our own thirsts, but we become a fount, using the spiritual gifts God has given us, so others may derive refreshment (Ref. 6). As faithful stewards of God's grace, we are to use the gifts, spiritual blessings, and life-giving power that God has given us to bless others (1 Peter 4:10).
Apply. Know "the thirst of your soul, the readiness of the Giver, and the sweetness of the living water that Jesus offers. Fall at his feet and ask, and get the water of life" (Alexander MacLaren - Ref. 7, John 4:15).
"Come to the Waters (Isaiah 55:1)"
"What is Eternal Life?" (John 17:3)
"Do Not Love the World" (1 John 2:15)
Commentary on John 7:38
Commentary on John 7:38
Commentary on John 4:10
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"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil." (Hebrews 6:19)
"When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay." -- Edward Mote (1797-1874), writer of the hymn, "My Hope is Built" (Ref. 1, Ref. 2).
Consider. When the storms of life come, in whom or in what is your soul secure, even when tossed by waves of trouble, grief, or loss? What is the anchor for your soul?
Hope Is an Anchor for the Soul
"This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells]." (Hebrews 6:19 AMP)
For believers in Jesus Christ, our hope -- our expectation for the future and our confident assurance for the present -- is an anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19). Hope accomplishes for our soul the same thing an anchor does for a ship (Ref. 3). In the same way that an anchor holds a ship sure and steadfast through a storm, our hope of heaven and eternal life with Christ holds us firmly and keeps us calm through the difficult storms of life. Our hope of heaven and eternal life with Christ cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it (Hebrews 6:19 AMP). Edward Mote referred to Christ and to hope when he wrote the hymn line, "When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay" (Ref. 1, Ref. 2).
Which enters within the veil
The writer of Hebrews adds that this hope set before us is "one which enters within the veil" (Hebrews 6:19). The Amplified Bible describes the veil as "the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells" (Hebrews 6:19 AMP).
Recall that under the Old Testament system, the Most Holy Place, the innermost and most sacred place in the tabernacle and later the temple, was separated from the Holy Place by a veil (a curtain) (Exodus 26:31-33, 1 Kings 6:14-19, Hebrews 9:3). The Most Holy Place contained the ark of the covenant which was the symbol for the presence of God (1 Kings 8:6, 10-11). Only one person, the high priest, entered the Most Holy Place one day a year taking blood to atone for the sins of himself and the people (Hebrews 9:3, 6-7).
During Jesus' earthly life, he did not enter the Most Holy Place in the human-made temple in Jerusalem. However, when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God died sacrificially to atone for our sins, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:37-39). Jesus Christ gained direct access for us to the holy place in heaven, the presence of God (Hebrews 9:24, Hebrews 10:19-21). Now, as believers in Christ, our hope has entered within the veil and is surely anchored in heaven, in the presence of God.
Edward Mote wrote the hymn line, "In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil" (Ref. 1, Ref. 2).
A Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3)
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no anchor for our soul -- no hope, no eternal life. However, because of God's great mercy, and because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we do have an anchor for our soul. God has given us a secure living hope through believing in his Son and in his resurrection (John 11:25-26, 1 Peter 1:3). Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26).
A Hope that Abounds (Romans 15:13)
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).
The Apostle Paul prays for us as believers that God will fill us with joy and peace not just that we will have hope, but that we will abound in hope (Romans 15:13). The Greek word for abound means to overflow beyond measure (Ref. 4). The power of the Holy Spirit fills us with joy and peace, and our hope does abound -- a full assurance of hope until the end (Hebrews 6:11). Our abounding hope in Christ and eternal life is the anchor for our soul that keeps us steady and calm through the storms and trials of life.
Apply. Through whatever storm or trial you are going through, Jesus Christ and his gift of eternal life is your hope, the hope that is an anchor for your soul. Trust him, believe him, have confidence in him. Ask him to fill you with joy and peace by the power of the Holy Spirit so that your hope abounds, overflows without measure, and keeps you steady and calm, with full assurance of hope until the day you are with him in heaven.
"What is Eternal Life?" (John 17:3)
"Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (Job's Question, Jesus' Answer)" (Job 14:14, John 11:25-26)
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"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17)
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
This lesson explains 11 biblical reasons why Jesus Christ came into the world. Ten of these reasons are in the words of Jesus himself.
Consider. If an unbeliever or an inquisitive new believer were to ask you, "Why did Jesus come?," what would you say?
1. Jesus Came to Fulfill the Law and the Prophets
Early in his ministry, it was important for Jesus to establish why he came (Ref. 1). Jesus said to his hearers, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). To Jesus, the scriptures were absolutely authoritative (Luke 24:44). Jesus came to cause God's will in the law (the first five books of the Old Testament) to be obeyed as it should be. Jesus also came to fulfill the prophecies and promises in the writings of the prophets, Psalms, and the other books of the Old Testament (Thayer's Greek Lexicon - Ref. 2).
2. Jesus Came to Save the World
Jesus spoke the following famous words in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Then Jesus continued the thought in John 3:17. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17). The Greek word for saved is sózó (pronounced sode'-zo) and means deliver out of danger and into safety; used principally of God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety) (Ref. 3). Because God in love sent his Son to save the world, Jesus has already delivered you and me -- all those who believe in him -- out of danger into his safety.
3. Jesus Came to Save Sinners
The Apostle Paul wrote, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all" (1 Timothy 1:15). Sinners are hamartólos -- people who "fall short of what God approves, i.e. what is 'wide of the mark'" (Ref. 4). That category, "sinners," actually includes all of us -- "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
4. Jesus Came to Preach the Kingdom of God
When Jesus went out from Capernum to a solitary place (Luke 4:31, Luke 4:42), he told the multitudes who were searching for him, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose" (Luke 4:43). Jesus also used the same word for preach when he quoted Isaiah 61:1 -- "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor" (Luke 4:18). In Luke 4:18 and Luke 4:43, the Greek word for preach is euaggelizó (pronounced yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo) which means to "proclaim the good news" (Ref. 5).
5. Jesus Came Down from Heaven to Do the Father's Will
Jesus said to the people, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:37-38).
In John 6:40, Jesus explained what the will of his Father was in sending him. "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." It is the Father's will that everyone who believes in his Son may have eternal life. If you would like to read more about eternal life, please see "What Is Eternal Life?" (Ref. 6)
6. Jesus Came into this World so that Those Who Do Not See May See
In John 9:1-12 Jesus healed the sight of a man who had been blind from birth. The formerly blind man testified to the Pharisees about Jesus, but they refused to "see" and believe in Jesus (John 9:13-34). The Pharisees then put the formerly blind man out of the synagogue (John 9:22, John 9:34). After the formerly blind man had been put out of the synagogue, Jesus found him, and the man who could now see physically and spiritually worshiped Jesus as Lord (John 9:35-38). Jesus then said in the presence of the Pharisees, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind" (John 9:39).
7. Jesus Came that We May Have Life and Have it Abundantly
In John 10:8-10 Jesus said, "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." The Greek word for abundantly is perissos (pronounced per-is-sos') and means all-around, beyond what is anticipated, exceeding expectation, "more than enough" (Ref. 7). In the words of the Amplified Bible, Jesus said, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]" (John 10:10 AMP).
8. Jesus Came to Serve and to Give His Life as a Ransom for Many
Jesus said about himself, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). When Jesus said he came to serve, the word in the Greek text is diakoneó which means to minister and to care for the needs of others, for example, as a slave waiting on table for guests (Ref. 8). When Jesus said that he came to give his life as a ransom for many, the word in the Greek text for ransom is lutron (pronounced loo'-tron) which was the price to free a slave (Ref. 9). The ransom price that Jesus paid to free us from slavery to sin was his blood (1 Peter 1:18-19, Hebrews 9:11-12).
9. Jesus Came to Seek and Save that which Was Lost
Notice in Luke 19:1-2 that Zaccheus was a tax gatherer, a person despised by the Jews and the religious leaders of Jesus' day. Yet, God gave Zaccheus the desire to see Jesus (Luke 19:3-4). Jesus extended his grace to Zaccheus and said he wanted to stay at Zaccheus' home (Luke 19:5). Zaccheus indicated his conversion, his turning away from sin when he stated that he would repay anyone he had defrauded (Luke 19:8). Jesus then said, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:9-10).
The Greek word for lost, apollumi (pronounced ap-ol'-loo-mee), has a severe meaning, and we need to pay attention. Apollumi (being lost) implies to die with the implication of ruin and permanent (absolute) destruction by experiencing a miserable end (HELPS Word-studies - Ref. 10). "Jesus Christ came to save Zaccheus, you, and me from experiencing ruin, permanent destruction, and a miserable end" (Ref. 11).
For further study on the nature of God to seek and save the lost, read the parables of The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son in Luke 15:1-32.
10. Jesus Came as Light into the World
Jesus said, "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness" (John 12:46). Jesus came as light into the world so that everyone who believes in (has faith in, trusts in - Ref. 12) him shall not remain in (abide in, stay in - Ref. 13) darkness (moral and spiritual obscurity which blocks the light of God when faith is lacking - Ref. 14). Without Christ, man is in darkness. When we believe in Christ, God transfers us from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13).
11. Jesus Came into the World to Bear Witness to the Truth
Early in the morning on the day he was to be crucified, Jesus stood before Pilate. Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" (John 18:37). Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice" (John 18:37). The Greek noun for truth, alétheia, means reality — the opposite of what is false or illusion (HELPS Word-studies - Ref. 15). Jesus came to testify, to be a witness to us about the reality of God's truth. Listen to his voice. He is the Truth (John 14:6).
Apply. Which of these reasons for Jesus' coming would you share with others? Bear witness to others of the truth of Jesus and why he came into the world.
"Biblical Definition of the World" (John 1:10)
"What is Eternal Life?" (John 17:3)
"What is Redemption?" (Ephesians 1:7)
"What Does 'To Be Saved' Mean in the New Testament?" (Acts 16:31)
"Jesus - Witness to the Truth" (John 18:37)
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