The Gospel according to John is one of the most intimate accounts of Jesus’ life because John was one of Jesus’ best and closest friends. He is in fact called “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. For the most special moments in Jesus’ life, John was always invited. John knew Jesus like no one else. So when John writes this gospel and tells us “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31) we can be sure that John saw with clarity that Jesus is the Messiah and that Jesus is God. In this blog we will explore how John points us to the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.
John starts by pointing to Jesus’ genealogy. What genealogy you may ask? Well, the fact that He was in the beginning, that in the beginning He was with God and that He is God. The first sentence points us directly to Gn. 1:1 (In the beginning, God…) where God created. Well, John now links Jesus to this creative enterprise that God started and then tells us that this God, the God who created, the God who started everything became flesh and “tabernacled” or lived among us.
Then we see in John 1:29-34 the baptism of Jesus in which we see the Trinity appear. More importantly, we see that “the Spirit of the Lord is upon Jesus, because the Lord as appointed Him” (Is. 61:1a). You will see the link between John and Isaiah in the next paragraph. As a side note, Jewish tradition tells us that the number 7 was the number of God, the number of perfection, and in John’s attempt of showing that Jesus is God, John will constantly display Jesus’ life in groups of 7.
John 2-10 tells us 7 specific miracles. At first these may see completely unrelated but they are all rooted in pointing Jesus as the awaited Messiah. So we need to turn to Lk. 4:17-21 (Is. 61:1-2a). Jesus goes to the Temple and reads from the scroll of Isaiah. Then Jesus says that today, this has been fulfilled. Isaiah was pointing to specifics that the coming Messiah would accomplish. John is pointing us to how Jesus, the Messiah, has fulfilled these credentials by the miracles John is telling us about.
The first miracle- water into wine (Jn. 2:1-11). For the Jewish people water was an inanimated object, dead. However wine was alive because of the process of fermentation. So Jesus takes something dead and gives it life. This is exactly what He does to us when we believe in Him. We pass from being dead in sin, to being alive in Christ! But this also points us to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Is. 61:2b). And as we saw, this year of favor brings life to men.
The second miracle (John 4:46-54) is where Jesus heals the official’s son in Capernaum. The main character here is not the son who was ill but the official, the father whose heart was broken for his son’s illness. This broken heart points us to Is. 61:1c. The Messiah was coming for that and this miracle points us that Jesus has come to bind up the broken-hearted…our broken hearts with His hope.
The third miracle (John 5:1-15) is where Jesus heals the paralytic at Bethesda. This paralytic had been like that for 38 years. He had spent 38 years in this captivity. He was a slave, depending on others for everything, not being able to fend for his own. But Jesus heals him. This miracle “proclaims liberty to the captives” (Is. 61:1d). He breaks that chain and gives this paralytic his freedom, just like He can break our slavery of pornography or drugs or alcohol or our work addiction or…He sets the captives free.
The fourth miracle (John 6:5-14) is the feeding of the 5000. People that followed Jesus were hungry and Jesus feeds them with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. This is great news to the poor (Is. 61:1b) who now have access to this abundant life that satisfies. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy us as the living water (John 4:14) and the bread of life (John 6:35).
The fifth miracle (John 9:1-7) is where Jesus heals the man who was blind from birth. According to Isaiah 42:7, the Messiah would give sight to the blind and so Jesus does in this case and to us still in the spiritual way. We are born blind, we don’t get our need for a Savior but when Jesus comes and opens our eyes we understand our sinful nature, the judgement that we deserve and the Good News of Jesus so that now we are able to see. As that John Newton hymn Amazing Grace states: “I once was blind but now I see”.
The sixth miracle (John 11:1-45) is the resurrection of Lazarus. Isaiah 26:19 said that the Messiah would bring life to the dead. Jesus as the resurrection (John 11:25) is able to give life. The biggest miracle still done today is taking people from death to alive in Christ (John 5:24).
The seventh and last miracle comes in chapter 20 and is the resurrection of Jesus Himself. We will talk more about this amazing miracle in the next post.
For now, you can see how John points us to Isaiah to show us how Jesus fulfilled the credentials that the Messiah would do. He is pointing us to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah.
So now what? John has shown us that Jesus is in fact The Messiah who we have been expecting and Whom we’ve seen how each book of The Bible points us. What are we supposed to do now that we know that Jesus is the Messiah and that He has come? Well, if all what we have studied is true, it is only through Him that we can be saved.
God is holy (Isaiah 57:15). We are sinners and we have all sinned (Ro. 3:23). Therefore we all deserve the punishment from sin (Is. 59:2). We can not access God by being good (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-7). But there is good news! “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro. 5:8). So when we believe in Jesus Christ, God forgives us and adopts us into His family (Ro. 1:4, Ro. 4:25, 1 Pt. 3:18). We receive this Salvation by believing (John 1:12, Acts 16:31). But believing means following not just saying we believe and not acting like we believe. When we believe Jesus will give us the strength to see fruit in our lives. As we abide in Him we will see how that abundant life He promises takes life in our hearts and in our lives. And so today, just as we have seen through the Gospels, you can have 3 reactions to this Good News. You can get angry and reject Jesus, you can doubt and stay where you are, in unbelief or you can believe in Jesus and be reconciled with God by His blood. So I ask you today, what will you do? Will you recognize and believe that because Jesus is The Messiah, He can save you? And if you do, will you walk with Him in obedience and trust so that others may see and also believe in Him?