6.  John 1:15-18  Jesus, the Eternal, Gracious, Declaring, Savior


Introduction:  John wrote these words that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name.  We will see in this text today that Jesus has always existed and that He is God indeed. We shall learn of his grace and that He declares to us the God whom no one has seen.


I.  John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake,”.

        This John is John the Baptist and the Him is Jesus Christ.  John’s job was to prepare the way for Jesus.   The prophet Isaiah had foretold of one who would come and be a voice crying in the wilderness. Isa 40:3  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Notice that Isaiah referred to Jesus as God in this verse.  There can be no doubt according to Matt. 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4 that Isaiah was speaking of the work of John the Baptist.  The one he bore witness of was Jesus.  Isaiah says that the one whose way is made strait is the Lord our God.  This should erase all doubts about the Deity of Jesus Christ. 

        John sets a good example for believers today.  We are also to bare witness of Jesus Christ.  John prepared the hearts of men by preaching repentance of sin.  Salvation of the soul requires repentance of sin and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel is defined for us as “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.  Like John we should bare this message to all men that they might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing they might have life through His name.

        John cried.  This is the opposite of keeping silent.  He cried out loud and clearly so that all could hear and understand.  He was not ashamed of Jesus.  Baring witness of Jesus was his life.  He lived to share the Gospel with those who were lost.  All of God’s born again children ought to have witnessing as their highest priority.  Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to tell others that you are a Christian and that Jesus is the reason you live and breath.


II.  He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” 

        John began his public preaching during the time Jesus was living in Nazareth.  John preached in the wilderness of Judea about 50 miles south of Nazareth.  He began his ministry at least 6 months before Jesus began His public ministry.  John refers to Jesus as the one who would come after him.  Jesus would soon come on the scene after John and John would soon after be killed by King Harod.  Jesus thus would be the one who would come after John.

        John referred to Jesus as the one who is preferred before me.  If you heard me play the piano and you heard my wife play the piano you would most definitely prefer her playing to mine.  This illustrates the meaning of the words preferred before me.  Jesus call John the Baptist the greatest man to ever live.  Yet he was not to be preferred over Jesus.  John the Baptist was just another frail, sinful man.  Jesus is God in human flesh.  Jesus never sinned.   John the Baptist did no miracles.  Jesus did many miracles.  Jesus is the only one who can save men.  He has always existed and will always exist.  The John who wrote this Gospel was a disciple of John the Baptist but when Jesus came on the scene John preferred to follow Jesus because Jesus was His savior not John the Baptist.

        John let us know the main reason Jesus is preferred before him.  It is because Jesus was before him.  John was born six months before Jesus.  John from a human point of view was in age older than Jesus.  John tells us here a great truth.  Jesus existed before John.  Jesus existed before Adam.  Jesus has always existed.  Jesus is eternal God.  He thus should have the highest position in our lives.  Higher in priority to us than any human being and certainly higher than any material possession.  


III.  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

        The sense of this phrase is this:  “We have all received those things of which He is filled.  What ever Jesus was filled with we have also received.  He is full of Grace.  We have received the grace of God.  He is full of truth and we have received His truth.  God has not hidden from man His truth but has revealed it and made it available to all. Not all believe the truth but they certainly have received it.  Not all avail themselves of the benefit and the free gift God has provide through His grace.  But all men have been dealt with according to God’s grace.  They have benefited by God’s grace and thus have received that of which Jesus was full.  God gives us life and we do not deserve even our next breath.  Men, whether they accept the fact or not have all received the grace of God.  Only those who repent and believe in Jesus receive salvation of the soul which comes to us by grace through faith.

        The phrase “grace for grace” can be best understood in two ways.  First we receive grace because of grace and second we receive grace upon grace.  Both of these help us to understand that we have this unmerited favor because of a gracious God and it is abundant and freely offered to men.  It is a Grace that is greater than all our sin.


IV.  For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

        There is set forth here, by the Apostle John, a contrast.  There was first the law which was given by Moses.  This Law was given to point out the sinfulness of men and their hopelessness.  The Law point men to Jesus.  It was strict and caused those who were under it to throw themselves upon the mercy of God.  It made man’s sin so apparent that he had no choice but to plead for mercy and receive by faith the Lamb of God which would take away the sin of the world.

        Jesus came on the scene giving grace and truth.  He did not come to condemn men but to save them.  The Law condemned and Grace saved.   The law and its devices and ceremonies were only a shadow.  The real thing, the truth came in Jesus Christ.  Jesus kept the Law.  Jesus fulfilled the law.  Jesus shed His blood and died to pay our sin debt.  God offers eternal life to every man and is just in so doing because the debt has been paid.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”


V.  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].”

        Moses did not see God.  Moses saw a manifestation of God.  No man  has seen God at anytime.  God is a spirit and can not be seen.  I have seen young people try to draw a picture of God.  Some of these were cute and some profound.  God can not be seen.  We shall see Jesus and when we see Jesus we see the Father.

        The word which is translated “declared” in this text means to reveal, explain or interpret.  We get the word “exegesis” from this Greek word.  Exegesis is the detailed, critical explanation or interpretation of scripture.  Jesus came to show us the Father.  He spoke the words of the Father.  He did the works of the Father.  Everything we need to know about God the Father is declared to us through the Son.  Jesus said “no man cometh unto the father but by me.

        Jesus is said to be in the bosom of the Father.  This denotes a position that is reserved for the favored Son.  This is a closeness to the Father that non other can claim.  God the Father proclaimed “ this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.  When God the father saw the travail of His soul he was satisfied.  Jesus is the only one who could pay the price for our sin for He was the chosen one of the Father to be the sacrifice for our sins.


Conclusion:  John wants you to read this book and to believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing you might have life through his name.  Will you accept the fact that Jesus is God, that Jesus is the Christ, the savior of men?  If you will believe you will have life through his name.  By His marvelous grace He offers to you pardon for sin and life everlasting.  Will you turn now to Jesus and ask Him to forgive your sin and have mercy on your soul and save you from the fires of hell?  If you will believe He will give you everlasting life.