The Hebrews really, historically, had through thousands of years come to, in John’s day at the end of the first century, this place whereby they had a lot of faith in their pedigree and in their stock and in their racial identity.
They could look back and they could trace their ancestry from Abraham’s call in Chapter 12 of Genesis, forward to Isaac and to Jacob and to Moses and to David and all of the prophets and all the priests and all of the Old Testament Scriptures and the temple. And God’s provision for them, and the giving them of the land, and the delivering of them from evil in Egypt, and the exodus narrative.
God had done so many things, and the Hebrew people had this propensity to look at their life and believe that because of their ancestry, because of their heritage, that somehow they had a privileged position with God. And within that, at the bottom of their theology, was this understanding of the Word of God.
And for the Hebrews, this was tremendously important. They believed that in a miraculous way, God at certain times would speak through men that he would raise up, called prophets. And in addition, sometimes priests. That God would literally speak through men, and his voice would come right through a man, and that those things would be written down and recorded in a divine way, with authority, as if God were in his very essence speaking directly to a people with authority.
And so, for them, the Word of God was paramount and tantamount, and they would memorize Scripture, and they would study Scripture, and their theologians would commit their lives to understanding the books of the Old Testament. In addition, they understood that the Word of God for them was not just what is found in Scripture, but the Word of God was the active agent through which God accomplished his will in the world.
Chapter 5: Jesus the Word
God’s Self-Revelation in Jesus
We use words to express thought, to let others know our feelings, desires, and will. People know us and understand us by what we say. Our words express our character.
Jesus is called the Word. God reveals Himself to us through Jesus. Jesus not only gave us God’s message in His teachings, He is God’s message to us.
God is spirit. We can’t see Him, hear Him, or feel Him with our natural senses. How, then, can we know Him? How can weak, sinful man understand the all-powerful, perfect, invisible God? How can God show Himself to us? Jesus is the answer. Jesus reveals God to us through a human personality. What is God like?
We can know by looking at Jesus His Son.
John 14:9. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
John 1:18. No one has ever seen God. The only One, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Colossians 1:15. Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God.
God has spoken to people in many ways, but the clearest revelation of His character is in His Son –– God’s living Word. God speaks to us today as we read about Jesus. Jesus life, work, and teachings all express God in terms of man’s experience, in language we can understand.
Hebrews 1:1,3. In the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son . . . He is the exact likeness of God’s own being.
John 1:1,14. Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. The Word became a human being and lived among us. We saw his glory, full of grace and truth.
Jesus not only taught people about God; He demonstrated God’s character. He spoke of God’s holiness, goodness, wisdom, justice, mercy, power and love. Men saw these qualities in Him. He proclaimed the highest moral standard the world has ever known and He lived by it. The wisdom of His teachings still amazes the world. He was God’s love in action as He ministered to human needs and gave
His life for others.
On the cross where Jesus died for our sins we see the clearest expression of God’s justice and love. God’s justice demanded the death penalty for sin. God’s love for sinners made Him suffer death in the sinners place. His love made Him pray for forgiveness for those who were crucifying Him. What love! What a wonderful God we have!
God’s feelings, thoughts, and plans
Jesus expressed God’s feelings, thoughts, and plans in His teachings and His person. Jesus was a great Teacher but He said:
John 8:28. I do nothing on my own, but say only what the Father has taught me.
John 15:15. I have told you everything I heard from my Father.
We can depend, then, on Jesus teachings in the gospels as a true revelation of God and His truth. We see God as all-wise, loving Father in heaven who cares tenderly for His children. He hates sin and hypocrisy but He loves the sinner. He tells us how to be saved and gives us the rules for a happy life. He longs for His wandering children to leave their sins and come back home to Him. He lets us know about the wonderful life He has planned for us in His eternal kingdom. We have these truths in God’s written Word.
Jesus, the living Word, revealed God’s feelings. In Him, God wept over the grief of His friends, the suffering of humanity, and the blind unbelief of a city that rejected Him and was rushing to destruction. God’s anger blazed against pretense, sham, and the commercialization of religion. God’s pity was stirred as He saw people lost in sin like sheep without a shepherd. God let people know He wanted them to be happy and free from sickness, sin, guilt, and fears.
God’s power and will
Jesus showed us what God wants and God’s power to carry out His purpose. Jesus’ life of obedience to God and fellowship with Him shows us the kind of life God wants us to have. Jesus’ miracles are all demonstrations of God’s power and His desire to help people, whatever their need is. Jesus said that He came to do His Father’s will, and that He did the works of His Father. This proves that God wants to heal us, forgive us, and meet all our needs today.
John 5:36. The works my Father gave me to do, these speak on my behalf and show that the Father has sent me.
1 Corinthians 1:24. This message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
God’s Name Explained in Jesus
We find many names for God in the Bible. Jesus the Word helps us understand them because He is the true expression of God.
When God called Moses to lead His people, Moses asked His name. God answered: “I Am that I Am.” He told Moses to tell the people that I Am had sent him. This name tells us that God is eternal, changeless, always present. There is no deceit in Him. He is what He is and does what He purposes to do. We can depend on Him.
But what is it that God is? What will He do? Jesus answers these questions in His sermons recorded in the Gospel of John. Eight times He applies God’s name. I Am, to Himself. Once He used it to describe His own eternal nature, telling us that He existed before Abraham. The other times, Jesus used this name of God to explain God’s character and His own –– to show what God does for those who come to Him. The great I Am will meet all of our needs.
1. I am the bread of life. John 6:35.
2. I am the light of the world. John 8:12.
3. Before Abraham was born, I am. John 8:58.
4. I am the door. John 10:9.
5. I am the good shepherd. John 10:11.
6. I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25.
7. I am the way, I am the truth. I am the life. John 14:6.
8. I am the real vine. John 15:1.
Jehovah means the Eternal or Self-existent One. It is linked with other words to form several compound names. These are all based on personal revelations of God and tell who He is and what He does for people. Jesus –– the Word who reveals God to us –– demonstrates the truth of these names of God.
1. Jehovah-jireh –– the Lord will provide.
Genesis 22:8. And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.
1 Peter 1:19,20. You were set free by the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or spot. He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world.
Jesus is the lamb God has provided to take our guilt and die in our place.
2. Jehovah–rapheka –– the Lord Our Healer
Exodus 15:26. I am the Lord that healeth thee.
Matthew 8:16. Jesus drove out the evil spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.
Jesus, the Great Physician, heals the body, mind, heart, and broken spirit.
3. Jehovah–shalom –– the Lord Our Peace
Judges 6:24. Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it
John 14:23,27. Jesus answered . . . .Peace I leave with you; my own peace I give you.
Jesus gives us inner peace that doesn’t depend on circumstances –– peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with other.
4. Jehovah–rohi –– the Lord my Shepherd.
Psalm 23:1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
John 10:7,11. Jesus said . . . I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd is willing to die for the sheep.
Jesus –– the Good Shepherd –– died to save us and lives now to take care of all who follow Him.
5. Jehovah–tsidkenu –– the Lord Our Righteousness
Jeremiah 23:6. And this is his name whereby he shall be called. THE LORD
2 Corinthians 5:21. Christ was without sin, but God made him share our sin in order that we, in union with him, might share the righteousness of God.
There is only one way to have a clean heart and life. We can have the right kind of life and right relationship with God only by union with Jesus. He is our righteousness.
6. Jehovah–shammah –– the Lord is present.
Ezekiel 48:35. The Lord is there.
Matthew 1:22. He will be called Emmanuel (which means, God is with us).
Jesus has promised to be with us always. He is always near to help us.
7. Jehovah-nissi –– the Lord our Banner
Exodus 17:15. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah–nissi.
John 16:33. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!
This title means that Jesus is our Leader, our Victory, and Strength. With Him we can be strong and victorious in the daily battle of life.
What do these names mean to you? They mean that if you have Jesus as your Savior, the Lord will provide for you. The Lord will heal you. The Lord will be your Peace. The Lord will be your Righteousness, present with you, and your Victory. All this Jesus will be to you, if you submit your life to Him, confessing your sins and accepting Him into your life.
Now answer a few questions to test you knowledge.
1. What title does John use for Jesus in John 1:1,14?
a) The Lamb of God
b) The living Word.
c) The Word.
2. How does Hebrews 1:1-3 say that God has spoken to us in these last days?
a) Through His Son.
b) Through the prophets.
c) Through nature.
3. What kind of moral standards did Jesus proclaim and live by?
a) Those common to His day.
b) The highest ever known.
c) New morality of situational ethics.
4. Where do we see the clearest expression of God’s justice, mercy, and love?
a) In the Lord’s prayer.
b) In the Sermon on the Mount.
c) On the cross.
5. Which of the following made Jesus angry? Choose all that are true.
a) commercialization of religion
b) sham and pretense
c) the sufferings of mankind
6. Which of the following caused Jesus sorrow. Choose all that are true.
a) unbelief and rejection
b) sufferings of mankind
c) the grief of his friends
7. Read 1 Corinthians 1:24 and fill in the blanks. This message is Christ, who is the __________ of God and the __________ of God.
a) messenger and Savior
b) power and wisdom
c) son and spirit
8. Jesus’ life of complete obedience to God and communion with Him reveals. Choose all that are true.
a) God’s pattern for our lives.
b) God’s power to help those who give their lives to Him.
c) our need of God’s power in us in order to do His will.
9. Jesus has shown us that God can and wants to: (Choose all that are true.)
a) heal the sick
b) forgive sinners
c) meet all our needs
10. What does the name Jehovah-jireh mean
a) God will save
b) Jesus is God
c) The Lord will provide
11. What does the name Jehovah-ropheka mean?
a) The Lord our healer
b) The Lord our provider
c) The Lord our Peace
12. What does Jehovah-rohi mean?
a) The Lord our Shepherd
b) The Lord our Peace
c) The Lord is Present
13. What does Jehovah-nissi mean?
a) The Lord will provide
b) The Lord our Banner
c) The Lord our Peace
14 What does Jehovah-shalom mean?
a) The Lord our Banner
b) The Lord our Peace
c) The Lord will provide