Christmas isn’t all about gift giving and getting but it certainly has become a beloved cultural tradition. Whether you absolutely love it or stress out about it, it’s here to stay. In this short series let’s talk about the first and best gift and how that gift has changed the world and should change your life.
Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23
3 reasons why Jesus is the best gift ever
- He stooped to us
- He lived with us
- He showed God to us
- John 1:18
Big Idea: You are the best gift you can give
This Christmas give…
- your time
- your attention
- your self
The “Word” (logos)
Many different ideas have been offered for John’s referent for using the Word to describe Jesus. This was a word that carried a number of connotations in the 1st century. Some have suggested Gnosticism, Stoicism, Philo, and others as possible sources for his use of the Word. The best and most defensible explanation is that John carried the idea of the Word from the Old Testament to describe the revelation of Jesus.
- In the Old Testament the word is connected with God’s…
- activity in creation (Gen. 1:3; Ps 33:6)
- revelation (Jer 1:4; Is 9:8; Ezk 33:7; Am 3:1-7)
- deliverance (Ps 107:20; Isa 55:11)
- Summary – God’s powerful self-expression in creation, revelation and salvation and is regularly personified, making it an easy connection for John to make in describing God’s ultimate disclosure of himself in Jesus Christ
- the wisdom of God personified in (Pr. 8:22)
- Early church’s experience of Jesus
- They experienced Jesus and his life then looked for categories that accurately described who he was
- Christians could then take that term and sort of shape it into what they wanted it to convey
- John 1:1 – the Word was both with God and God
- in this construct John is allowing the Word to be distinguished from God the Father in person but also saying that the Word has the qualities of deity – Sounds like the Trinity
“One and only” or “only begotten”?
Maybe you memorized this verse or grew up hearing it out of the NKJV Bible and you remember it saying “only begotten” here and in John 3:16. Why the change to “one and only” in the more modern versions like the ESV and NIV?
The word is monotones (μονογενής) it is a construct of mono = one and either genes (γένος) = kind or ginomai (γινομαι) = born, begotten. Lexically it could be either one.
Extensive arguments in the 3rd and 4th centuries ended up with the “eternal generation of the Son” language which really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Many modern scholars believe it to be referring to Jesus uniqueness as God’s one and only Son, meaning there is no one else like Jesus.
- cf. Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38 and Hebrews 11:17 – all references are to an only child – none of them necessitate the “begetting” language.