Understanding the Nature of Christ
This week’s key memory verse comes from the Gospel of John:
John 1:1 (NASB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This verse is one of the high-points of Scripture. In fact, it probably reaches the highest of human thought. What is the thought that reaches the height of human concepts? It is this: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is…
- the Word of God
- the Creator of Life
- the Very Being and Essence of Life.
In this verse and the four that follow, three truths should be deeply thought about to understand their meaning. A quick reading of this passage leaves a person confused, not even close to understanding what is being said. However, the importance of the truths lie at the very foundation of life. They cannot be overstated, for they determine a man’s destiny. If Jesus Christ is the Word of God, then men must hear and understand that Word or else be lost forever in ignorance of God Himself.
- Christ is eternal (v.1-2).
- Christ is the Creator (v.3).
- Christ is Life (v.4-5).
Christ was preexistent. This means He was there before creation. He had always existed. “In the beginning “does not mean from the beginning. Jesus Christ was already there. He did not become; He was not created; He never had a beginning. He “was in the beginning with God” (cp. John 17:5; John 8:58). The word “was” in the Greek imperfect tense of eimi which is the word so often used for deity. It means to be or I am. To be means continuous existence, without beginning or origin.
The testimony of John is that Jesus Christ was the Word, the One who had always existed. He was the Son of the living God. Christ was coexistent. He was and is face to face with God forever. The word “with” has the idea of both being with and acting toward. Jesus Christ (the Word) was both with God and acting with God. He was “with God”: by God’s side, acting, living, and moving in the closest of relationships. Christ had the ideal and perfect relationship with God the Father. Their life together—their relationship, communion, fellowship, and connection—was a perfect eternal bond. This is exactly what is said: “The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2).
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us)” (1 John 1:1-2).
John did not say that “the Word” was the God. He says, “the Word” was God. John is saying that “the Word,” Jesus Christ…
- is of the very nature and character of God the Father, but He is not the identical person of God the Father.
- is a distinct person from God the Father, but He is of the very being and essence (perfection) of God the Father.
When a man sees Christ, he sees a distinct person, but he sees a person who is of the very substance and character of God in all His perfect being. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).
The testimony of John was that Jesus Christ was the Word, self-existent and eternal, the Supreme Majesty of the universe who owes His existence to no one. Jesus Christ was the Son of the living God. (aseity)
Jesus Christ is eternal. This says several critical things about Christ. Christ reveals the most important Person in all the universe: God. He reveals all that God is and wants to say to man. Therefore, Christ must be diligently studied, and all that He is and says must be heeded to the utmost. Christ reveals God perfectly. He is just like God, identical to God; therefore, when we look at Christ we see God. Christ reveals that God is the most wonderful Person. God is far, far beyond anyone we could have ever dreamed. He is loving and caring, full of goodness and truth; and He will not tolerate injustices: murder and stealing, lying and cheating of husband, wife, child, neighbor, brother, sister or stranger. God loves and is working and moving toward a perfect universe that will be filled with people who choose to love and worship and live and work for Him.
The very nature of Christ is…
- to exist eternally.
- to exist in a perfect state of being, knowing nothing but eternal perfection.
- to exist in perfect communion and fellowship eternally (cp. 1 John 1:3).