Accepting the Real Jesus

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The Deeper Truths of Jesus: The Gospel According to John (1-4:42)



John 3:31-36

Cody John Simpson


  • By and large people love Jesus – and almost everyone has something great to say about Him. The problem though as you dig deeper is that the Jesus each person loves is a little different from someone else’s and most importantly different from the Jesus of scripture, or the Jesus we have recorded in history. 
    • In our self-made “identity and lifestyle” culture, we’re pretty much encouraged to guide ourselves to truth, taking bits and pieces of morals & ethics wherever we want. 
  • It happens out there, and it happens here that time and time again we take what we like about Jesus, and reject or ignore what we don’t. 
    • The big mistake isn’t just picking and choosing Jesus’ teachings but ultimately rejecting who He is – which is John’s big message in our passage today. Jesus is God.
  • Again we have John commenting on a story he has recorded: Why must John decrease but Jesus increase? Jesus is above all
    • Jesus being heavenly, is contrasted with those who are earthly. 
    • The word “above” brings us back to John 3:3 and the spiritual birth that comes from “above” Ultimately we see that Jesus is unlike anyone else ever. He is not tainted by a sinful nature, but is the unadulterated truth from God (as we see in next verse).
  • Jesus only speaks about what He has seen and heard (nothing of Himself) and all that He speaks comes from God the Father (v 32 & 34).
    • This is amplified and evidenced by John’s comment that God has given Jesus the Holy Spirit “without measure”
      • Commentators readily point out that the prophets of Israel were given the Holy Spirit for their ministry, but the Spirit’s power was to the degree needed for that ministry. This is contrasted in Jesus, that the Holy Spirit’s presence was immeasurable, or total and without limits. Jesus was exceptional, Jesus’ ministry was completely & purely God directed and God carried out. 
  • The reason John gives for Jesus receiving the Spirit is because of the love that exists between God the Father and Jesus, God the Son. This is the perfect form of love that comes from God. Agape love. 
  • This deeply relational, and real description of the relationship between God the Father and Jesus draws us in for the moment to ponder the inner life of God. 
    • On one hand this can be dangerous, like a kid playing with things that he’s too young to handle, we can go beyond our bounds. God ultimately isn’t understandable to the human mind, we can’t get God into the lab and dissect Him. Rather we peer into the mystery in awe and wonder, we can grapple with the truths we know and learn a lot from what He shows us, but we cannot know God on our own terms. 
    • God is a trinity. A being in which 3 persons “or centers of consciousness” share the same essence and substance. They share the same will and the same attributes equally. Yet they interact with one another – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. 
    • The only difference is in how they relate to one another. The Father is understood as the source or fountainhead, from whom the Son is begotten. The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and Son. This procession, if you will, is part of their eternal existence. It describes who God is in His internal relationship within Himself.
  • What this means, and what John is getting at, is that Jesus is unique among the prophets and messengers of God. Jesus reveals who God is better than anyone before Him: more perfectly, more completely, more clearly. Jesus is the perfect revelation of who God is in human form, because Jesus Himself is God!
  • When we see this we realize that not only does Jesus teach us and show us God, but He does so with authority. V35 says all things are given into Jesus’ hands: that’s dealing with authority. Jesus, being God Himself, is not to be debated with. His revelation of God is undisputed and on that authority His words demand to be believed, embraced, and followed. 
  • But this isn’t how we often take Jesus, is it? A lot of people love Jesus, or like Jesus. There’s lots to like. But we don’t take Him as Lord. 
    • Many people love many of His teachings, and come to Jesus as a good teacher. They scrub their image of Jesus of any God talk, of any divinity, essentially of any reference to Jesus’ authority. Jesus becomes a buffet from which we can pick and choose our ethics and morals as we like and dislike: I like Jesus’ teaching on loving my neighbour, but I don’t like His teaching on divorce (both taken from Matthew 5). – This often happens within the church as it does outside the church. We have no reason here to be proud. 
    • CS Lewis called God the “Trancendental Interferer” in his autobiography “Surprised by Joy.”
    • Even in the church we can “leave Jesus.” We can take hold of the Bible as a bunch of moral commitments and demands and turn it into just another list of rules to live by to be a good person, or maintain favour with God. And in doing all that we can miss the person of Jesus.
  • John repeats the seriousness of this issue from only a few verses ago (we saw this two weeks previous), that if we don’t acknowledge all of Jesus – who He is and what He teaches – then we are “still under condemnation”
    • All of humanity, by nature hating God, has allowed sin and brokenness to flourish in our lives. We stand under a penalty against God for this.
    • But Jesus offers the answer. At the end of His ministry, in dying on the cross, He became our substitute, and if we believe in Him (who He is, what He did), we are pardoned, forgiven, and loved by God the Father. Granted eternal life in communion with God. 
  • Ultimately, we can’t really embrace Jesus and desire His authority until we’ve come to Him through faith in His death and resurrection for us.
    • We fail to see the beauty of God’s love in Jesus, the goodness of His life and teachings until we fully comprehend what His death means, about us (our selfishness) and God (His selfless love in response). 


In what area of your life are you rejecting Jesus’ authority?