Sermon series: Hello, My Name Is Jesus
I Said It - John 1:1-2, 6
I Made It - John 1:3
I Show It - John 1:4-5
I'm Here - John 1:9-11
I Am Here - John 1:12
I Give It - John 1:13
I Have Come - John 1:14
Did you hear about the group of scientists who got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God? They picked one of their colleagues to tell God that they were done with him. The learned scientist spoke to God saying, "God, we're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things. So we've decided that we no need for you."
God listened patiently and then said, "Very well, how about this, let's have a man making contest."
To which the scientist replied, "OK, great!"
But God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam."
The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and picked up a handful of dirt.
God stopped him and said, "No, no, no. You get your own dirt!"
Fundamentally everything we see on this planet and in the universe had a beginning and an originator. If so, who is the creator? We start with the facts.
I. The facts
A. Jesus is eternally God (vv. 1-2)
John opening words to his Gospel and introduction of Jesus, "In the beginning," suggests not only the start of the gospel story but the creation of the world as well. John describes Jesus as "existing from the beginning."
B. Jesus is the agent of God (v. 3)
We pick up our study in this message with verse three: "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3 NIV). I am struck by the fact that this is a declaration, not an argument. The Bible does not defend divine creation; it simply declares it.
In this verse we find the next pair of words in our introduction of Jesus: created and made. These words are highly significant. Christianity has always believed in what is called creation out of nothing, ex nihilo. We do not believe that the world began with God and something else. It is our belief that behind everything there is God and God alone. Only God creates something from nothing. He made his own "dirt" out of nothing.
Let's dig deeper into this verse.
John says, "Through him all things were made." Notice that John uses the words through him not by him. That's important. It reminds us that God is the source of all creation; but Jesus is the divine force that brought it into being. The words all things mean totality. Everything owes its existence to Jesus. He is the ultimate source of all things. Everything you see-the stars, the planets, the sun, the galaxies, the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the oceans, the flowers, the animals, the people-all created by God through Jesus. The word made literally means became or has become. It communicates the idea that creation-you, me, and the entirety of the created order-weren't just created but came into being. And the verbs were and was in the next phrase is perfect tense, which means a "completed act." Creation is finished. It is not a process still going on, even though God is certainly at work in his creation; creation as we know it is a finished work.
John continues, "Without him nothing was made that has been made." John often states a truth in negative terms as well as positive, so there would be no misunderstanding to the preceding phrase. The word nothing denotes that not one thing has its existence-much less its significance-except as a creative expression of Jesus. Again, the emphasis is quite clear. Not one single thing was made that he did not make. Everything-everything was made by him.
C. Jesus is the Creator (v. 3)
Let's put verse three in context with verses one and two. Out of the amazing relationship-Word and God-flowed creation. Word and God (first pair of words) created and made (second pair of words). God is the Source, but the Word is the living agent, the vehicle, through whom he creates. In verses one and two the main truth was: Jesus is God. In verse three the main truth (and the third fact) is: Jesus is the Creator. He alone can truthfully say, "I made it."
This fact is not an isolated truth, particular to John. Paul clearly states the same truth. Speaking of Jesus, Paul wrote, "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him" (Col. 1:16 NIV). The author of Hebrews makes this claim, too. "In these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son [Jesus], whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" (Heb. 1:2 NIV).
II. The support
These are the facts. Is there any supporting evidence to verify the facts? In other words, if Jesus is the Creator are there some parallels between what happened at creation and the works of Jesus during his ministry on earth?
Parenthetically, we should not expect to find exact parallels between the miracles of Jesus and what happened at Creation, as Jesus did not come to re-create the universe, but there should be some evidences. With this in mind, let us compare the four aspects of creation with the works of Jesus.
A. Jesus created out of nothing and/or from existing materials
Creation involved the act of God in bringing into being immediately and instantaneously matter which did not previously exist. For example, God spoke and the heavens and the earth came into existence. Creation also involved the shaping, combining, or transforming of existing materials, as when God created Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), and Eve from Adam's rib (Genesis 2:21-22).
Is there a parallel with Jesus? Several of Jesus' miracles involved the creation of new material. For example in John 2, Jesus was at a wedding reception where the wine had run out. Jesus, on his mother's insistence, instructed the waiters to fill six stone water jars that could hold twenty to thirty gallons each with water. "So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.' They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine" (John 2:8-9 NIV). Miraculously, the instantaneous creation of the carbon atoms and chemical molecules that made up the grape sugar, carbon dioxide, coloring matter, etc., of the wine had occurred.
Another example would be in John 6:5-14 when Jesus fed a multitude of more than 5,000 people from five loaves and two fish. (He did this on another occasion, feeding more than 4,000 people from seven loaves and a few little fish.) He had bread and fish, but not enough by human standards to feed such a large crowd. Jesus either caused these original items to multiply, or after dispensing all the original food he then created new loaves and fishes until everyone was fed. Either way, Jesus created sufficient extra bread and fish, not only to feed many thousands of people, but also to provide twelve basketfuls of leftovers. This involved not just the creation of the appropriate carbohydrate, protein and other molecules, but their immediate arrangement into the complex forms and structures needed to make baked bread and fish (albeit dead and cooked).
Still another example occurred in John 9:1-12 when Jesus healed the blind man. It involved the instant repair of tissues, nerves, muscles, etc., and the instantaneous growth or regrowth of healthy cells. The net result was the creation of healthy eyes that replaced diseased and non-functioning eyes.
B. Jesus gives life
Creation involved the imparting of life to otherwise lifeless matter. Is there a parallel with Jesus? Well, let's see. Jesus gave life to the dead on three occasions: to a widow's son (Luke 7:11-16), to Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:41-42, 49-55), and to his friend Lazarus (John 11:1-44).
In the case of Lazarus, the body had been in the grave for four days, and Martha's words are recorded for us: ". . . by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days" (John 11:39 NIV). This shows that the process of decomposition whereby a dead body eventually becomes dust had already begun. So here we have a parallel with what happened on the sixth day of creation when God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living being. Jesus called Lazarus back to life, and the molecules of matter that were in the process of becoming dust became, again, a living human being.
C. Jesus' method was speaking the word and it happened
As was pointed out in the first sermon, the method of creation was that God spoke and it happened. God said and there was light, night, the heavens, and the earth. All these things were accomplished by the Word, that is, God said or God willed it to happen . . . and it happened.
Is there a parallel with Jesus? Well, see for yourself.
Jesus appeared to use a variety of means in performing his miracles. These included touching lepers, the blind, and the deaf; the use of saliva to heal a deaf mute and a blind man; the use of clay (with instructions to wash) to heal a blind man; and the word of command to heal, to raise the dead, and to exorcise demons.
However, what happened in these and in all of Jesus' miracles was that Jesus willed the event to happen and it did. This fact is illustrated beautifully when Jesus healed the nobleman's son in John 4:43-54. Jesus was at Cana in Galilee and a certain royal official asked Him to travel to Capernaum to heal his son who was close to death. The apostle John records what happened, as follows:
"Jesus replied, ‘You may go. Your son will live.' The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, ‘The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.' Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.' So he and all his household believed" (John 4:50-53 NIV).
Here's what is interesting about this event. Capernaum was about 17 miles from Cana as the crow flies, which means there was no way that the sick son, or anyone else in Capernaum, could have heard Jesus or been influenced by his physical presence in Cana.
Jesus willed the sick boy to recover, at a distance of 17 miles, and he did so. Similarly, Jesus willed the water to become wine, as it was being taken into the wedding feast in Cana, and it did so. He willed the bread and fish to form and they did.
D. Jesus received glory from the miracles
The purpose or motive of God in creation was to display his glory. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1 NIV). Glory means the weighty importance and shining majesty which accompany God's presence. To receive glory is to praise, to recognize the importance of another.
Did Jesus receive glory after working his miracles? Let's see.
After narrating Jesus' first miracle-the turning of water into wine-the apostle John says, "He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him" (John 2:11 NIV). When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick he said, "‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.' . . . Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'" (John 11:4, 40 NIV). Through the miracles that Jesus performed his stature and power were recognized.
Jesus Christ is the Creator God. Not only does Scripture affirm it, but during his earthly life and ministry he did the very things we would expect the Creator God to do. He did them in the way that we would expect the Creator God to do them-by his word of authority and the exercise of his will. And, through the doing of them, he displayed his glory.
III. The implications
What are the implications of this theological truth?
A. Jesus has a claim on all things
This world is not yours; it is God's. Like the old hymn says, "This is my Father's World." A city girl was taken to the country. When she saw the bluebells in the woods, she asked: "Do you think God would mind if I picked some of his flowers?" That is the pronoun we should use with all of life. It is his. This is God's world. It is his dirt. All things belong to him.
Question: What right do you have to lay claim on anything, since Jesus is the Creator?
B. Jesus is incomprehensible
Consider the breadth and depth of this universe. National Geographic describes the expanse of the universe this way: Imagine that the thickness of a sheet of paper represents the distance from the earth to the sun (93 million miles). Using this scale, the distance to the nearest star is a 71-foot-high stack of paper. The diameter of our own galaxy is a 310-mile stack of paper, while the edge of the known universe is not reached until the pile of paper is 31 million miles high (National Geographic, May 1974, p. 592).
God through Jesus created all that.
Question: How can we think of ourselves as so big and so important and so prideful when the vastness of universe is beyond our intellectual capacity? The Psalmist said, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" (Psa. 8:4 NIV)
C. Jesus holds us together
Jesus says, "I am not only the universe maker, but I will hold you together. I am big enough to be acquainted with all of your circumstances, all of your problems, all of your worries, and all of your situations. I will hold you together."
How do we know that this is true? By looking a little deeper in our bodies.
Have you heard about Laminin? It is a protein molecule in the human body. (Thanks to Louie Giglio for this illustration.) Wikipedia describes them: "Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue." Laminins are what hold us together, literally. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what hold one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. They are the rebar of the human body, the glue that holds us together.
Have you ever seen what Laminin looks like? Here's a picture.
The glue that holds us together is in the shape of the cross. Paul wrote, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col. 1:15-17 NIV, emphasis mine). Note that last phrase, "In him all things hold together." Thousands of years before the world knew anything about Laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very literal standpoint, we are held together, one cell to another, by the cross.
Question: How can we be worried about our struggles, frustrations, setbacks, and life itself knowing that Jesus holds us together? There is nothing in my life that is greater than Jesus. There is no problem he cannot solve. Nothing that baffles me baffles him. Nothing that stumps me stumps him.
D. Jesus left his mark on creation
We see his mark, the cross, within our body as we view the diagram of Laminin. But there is more.
Through the Hubble Telescope we are able to see more of God's creation than ever before. When we look to the farthest reaches of our solar system, through the lens of the Hubble telescope we can see Pluto. That little planet way out there that doesn't get a lot of respect. Notice this picture. It is a picture of Pluto and its moons. Notice the light from that picture portrays a cross. (I know that the camera lens and lighting had something to do with making the cross, but still it is intriguing to me.)
When we look deep within ourselves we see a cross. When we look at the edge of our solar system we see a cross.
But there is more. (Again, thanks to Louis Giglio for this illustration.) The Hubble Telescope has brought us pictures from the galaxies far beyond our own solar system. One is of the Whirlpool galaxy. (The image to the right is called the Companion Galaxy.)
It gets its name from its shape. Peering through a white core of the Whirlpool galaxy into a black hole, the Hubble Telescope took this picture.
Bringing that picture into sharper focus, this is what we see.
Scientists call it the "X structure at the core of the Whirlpool Galaxy." But, it looks like a cross to me.
When we look within, when we look to the edge of our solar system, and when we look to the edge of a distance galaxy, we see Jesus' mark, the cross. The glory, grace, mercy, and love of Jesus Christ are stamped on everything. The imprint of Jesus is everywhere we look in all of creation.
God through Jesus has created the heavens and the earth. He has left his mark on all of creation. Question: Has he left his mark in your heart? Do you know Jesus personally? Have you trusted in his finished work on the cross to save you?