The Deity of Jesus Christ - John 1:1-51

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


The Deity of Jesus Christ is the heart of the Gospel and the very foundation of the Christian's faith. No truth of God's Word is more vital than this, and consequently none has been subjected to more fierce or more bitter attack. But this is the pre-eminent thought in the Gospel of John. Many have recognized and pointed out that each of the four Gospels was written for a distinctive purpose. Matthew teaches that Jesus is King; Mark teaches that Jesus is the Servant; Luke teaches that Jesus is Man ; while John teaches that Jesus is God. Thus in the Gospels we have God's composite picture of His Son. The first chapter of John, which we study in this lesson, clearly teaches the Deity of Jesus from :it least three angles. Herein He is set forth as the Word of God, the Lamb of God, and the Son of God. Jno. 20:31.


John 1:1-18 ; Rev. 19:13

In these verses Jesus is called "The Word" four times. It is significant that He should be called by this name, for all the Bible, God's written Word, centers in Jesus, the living "Word." One receives rich blessing and profit who studies the wonderful analogy existing between what God says in the Bible about the written Word and the living "Word." Jesus is the substance of all revelation. He is the Word of God. Jno. 1:45; Luke 24:44.

1. As the Word of God He reveals God. Verse 18 contains the key thought of this section. It declares that "no man hath seen God at any time." But it also says, "The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." The word translated "declare" in this verse means "to lead forth," "to make known." This is the thought inherent in the name "The Word." Jesus makes God known to men. All that we know of God is revealed in Him. Some have fancied that this passage contradicts the Old Testament passages which declare that from time to time men saw God. But God is three persons in one, and Jesus is the second Person of this Tri-unity. So, when one recognizes these truths, all difficulties disappear. When men have seen God they have seen Jesus, for it is through Him that God reveals Himself. Isaiah 6:1-10; John 12:36-41.

2. These verses (1-18) show five characteristics of God revealed in Jesus. Through what is said of Him we may realize that God is eternal (vs. 1). Contrary to the belief of many, Jesus' existence did not begin in the incarnation. He existed before all created things. He was in the beginning, with God, and Himself was God. The beginning here referred to is the beginning of creation. It cannot refer to Jesus, for He is "without beginning of days or end of life." Then, too, His power shows us the power of God. His power is a creative power (vs. 3), a life-giving power (vs. 4), a light-giving power (vs. 4), and a regenerative power (vss. 12-13). Here we read that Jesus' glory was "glory as of the only begotten of the Father" ; so, because He was glorious, we may realize that God is glorious (vs. 14). In Him we see the grace of God, for He is the personification of grace (vss. 16-17). And He reveals the tri-unity of God, for, though no man has seen the Father, many have seen the Son, and in Him the Father also. These are the five characteristics of God spoken of in this chapter — His eternality, His power. His glory. His grace, and His tri-unity. And all of them are seen through Jesus, the Word of God. Psa. 90:2; Col. 1:13-19; Phil. 2:7-11 ; II Cor. 8:9.


John 1:19-32

When John cried, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," he pointed back to the typical offerings ordained in the Law, and reminded Israel of God's promised Savior, then pointed to Jesus as the One of whom the Law and Prophets had spoken. He also indicated the purpose for which Jesus had come. As the Word of God Jesus shows God's means of revealing Himself. As the Lamb of God He shows God's purpose in revealing Himself.

1. Jesus came that He might take away the sin of the world. The Old Testament sacrifices could never do this. They merely spoke of God's purpose to provide a sacrifice which would remove sin. They made a temporary covering for sin by virtue of which God could pass over and withhold judgment from His people, but could not cleanse from unrighteousness. But when Jesus came, He made an offering which put away sin. God's Word teaches that the sins of every one who believes in Him are washed away and the soul made whiter than snow. Christ died for our sins, and has removed them from us "as far as the east is from the west." Only God could do this, and the fact that Jesus could proves that He was God. Luke 19:10; Heb. 10:1, 4; Heb. 9:26; Psa. 103:12 ; Isa. 1:18.

2. Jesus came in fulfillment of prophecy. Every offering of the Law pointed forward to Jesus. Every incident recorded in Israel's history was given to speak in picture form of Him. Every word uttered by the prophets spoke in some way of His coming. When He came He accomplished the salvation testified by the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. The promise given in the lamb upon the altar was fulfilled in Jesus, the Lamb of God. Acts 10:43; 10:43; Acts 3:18.

3. The Pharisees knew the prophecies hut would not accept the One Who came in fulfillment of them. They spoke with John about the Christ, promised in the prophecies of the Old Testament. "Christ" is the New Testament word for the Old Testament "Messiah," and their reference shows that they knew the promise of His coming. John further emphasized this truth by telling them that he was the "voice crying in the wilderness" which was to herald the coming of the Lord. But, familiar as they were with these prophecies, and with the offering of the sacrificial lamb, they would not receive Jesus, the fulfillment of prophecy and the Lamb of God. So today many hear the truths of God's Word about Jesus' love for them, but reject Him and die in their sins. And we who have believed in Him need to be delivered from the sin of the Pharisees, for though we are saved, many truths about His dealings with the Christian may be learned with the mind but not experienced with the heart. We need to know about His power, promised to the believer, but we need also to yield to Him and let Him manifest this power in our lives. Jno. 3:18; Rom. 6:13; Rom. 12:1-2; Isa. 40:3.

4. Jesus was the subject of John's message. When asked concerning himself John did not stop to talk about himself but pointed at once to Jesus. Here is a great lesson for us. What this old world needs is the message of Jesus, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. God is glorified and souls saved when His children speak less of themselves and more of Him. May He help us to do it. Ma}' Jesus be our conversation always. II Cor. 4:5; I Cor. 1:23; Col. 4:6 ("salt" is the Gospel).


John 1:33-51

Jesus, the Son of God, is God's gift to this needy world. He died that men might have everlasting life. His work is done, and now God wants His children to tell others about Him that they may believe in Him and receive this life. This is His method of revealing Himself. He uses the testimony of His children. Jno. 3:16; Matt. 4:19.

1. Jesus' Deity is seen in the testimonies to His Sonship. The descent of the Spirit convinced John and caused him to bear record that Jesus was the Son of God. Here the trinity is manifested. God the Son is accredited through the descent of G'ul the Spirit and by the proclamation of God the Father (vss. 33-34). Nathaniel, convinced by Jesus' insight into his private life, gave the same testimony, and received the promise of greater things to com >. Jesus is the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh. I Tim. 3:16.

2. Because Jesus is the Son of God, and the Saviour of all who believe, we should tell others about Him. The examples of Andrew and Philip are good ones for us to follow. First, they came to know Jesus themselves, and then they led others to know Him. We who have trusted Him as our Saviour have the record that our sins are forgiven and that we have eternal life. However, He did not die for us alone, but for all the world as well. When we have received such great forgiveness and blessing ourselves shall we not, like these early disciples, tell others "We have found Him!" and then invite them to "come and see?" "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16; I John 2:2; Rev. 22:17.