On my desk, I have some bookends holding up three commentaries I use on a regular basis in sermon prep. I am quite thankful for these bookends, for if I didn't have them, my commentaries would constantly be falling over.
Today, as we conclude our One Thought series through John 1 (don't worry, we'll do more One Thought series in the future from other passages in the Bible), we get to enjoy some "bookends." Just as John began his poetical prelude to his Gospel, he ends the prelude in verse 18 with a critical doctrine of Christianity: Jesus is God.
I typically use the English Standard Version (ESV) when I teach. The ESV translates verse 18 this way:
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.John 1:18 (ESV)
Because the ESV translation team aimed for a slightly more "word-for-word" translation, they ended up with a slightly more stilted sentence than other translations. Here is how the slightly-more-readable New Living Translation puts the same verse:
No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.John 1:18 (NLT)
Whether you use the slightly-more-stilted ESV or the slightly-more-readable NLT, the meaning is the same. The Apostle John wants us to realize that in order to see God, we need to look at Jesus, for Jesus, The Word, was and is God.
While being fully human, Jesus was also simultaneously fully God. Not half-man, half-God; fully man, and fully God! And by taking on human flesh, Jesus made the unknowable God knowable. He made the invisible God seeable. He has done what no one else could do - let us see God and come into a relationship with this perfect, holy, amazing Being.
As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday, may you let the person and work of Jesus show you God's heart and love for you. And may that truth overwhelm you, leading you to worship and give Him thanks.
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