Sermon – September 9, 2018
There are many things in this world that are precious and good. We think of the people in our lives: our spouses, our children, our friends. We think of the value of medicine to heal and technology to ease, of governments to promote freedom and books to impart knowledge. But Jesus is better, far better, than all these. Today, as we end John’s prologue to his wondrous Gospel, we hear of the wonder of Jesus, for he himself is the most precious, best, and most awesome thing to behold in all of the world. Friends, let us consider today how Jesus is:
Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, not just the unique Son of God. The early church recognized this reality, not that he came from the Father by birth, or that there was a time when he didn’t exist, but to imply the reality of the shared essence of the two: he is true God from true God. This means that Jesus carries with him the glory of the Father. But, in John’s Gospel, this glory is not how the world wants to see it, in power, authority, fame. Rather, it is through obedience and love, and a man crucified for the world’s sin.
Verse 15 is an odd verse, coming as it does between 14 and 16 that go so well together. Not only does it break the flow of thought, but it gives us a statement of John the Baptist that is essentially repeated in 1:30! But John the Apostle has reasons for this: given the 400 years of silence from the prophets, the arrival of a prophet is important indeed. John stands as the apex of all of the OT prophets, and as such his confession of Jesus’ greatness is incredibly important. Jesus is greater than them all. For none of their words, promises, comforts, or judgments will come true without him. Jesus is no longer the promise, he is the “Yes!” and “Amen!” of God.
Jesus is also the embodiment of grace. Like the miraculous flow of oil for the widow in 2 Kings 4, Jesus overwhelms our capacity for grace. His grace ever flows for those who repent and believe in him. Indeed, the law itself was gracious, but Jesus is the full extent of grace – both telling us what we need and providing it so lavishly for us. For the law tells us what we need to be before God, but has no power to make us that way. Jesus comes to give that to us, so that we who believe might become the children of God. This is indeed grace upon grace.
There is nothing better than Jesus. Friend, nothing that you hope in, nothing that you cling to, nothing that you pride yourself on, nothing that satisfies you, nothing that brings you identity, nothing that gives you peace is better than Jesus. Jesus is better. Jesus is the pinnacle of glory, of greatness, and of graciousness, worthy of your whole life. Yield up your life, that you may find it in him!