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Isaiah 62:1-3 1
1For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 2The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. 3You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Background

God is assuring His church of His unfailing love, and His pleading for her under all trials and difficulties. His church will be called by a new name, a pleasant name, such as the church was never called by before.

The state of true religion in the world, before the preaching of the gospel, gives us a history and perception that no man seemed to have any real concern for God. By God’s grace, He has determined that in His church, there will be delight. If God rejoices over us, we should rejoice in Him too.

God has made similar promises before about the wonderful future for Jerusalem and its inhabitants but that wonderful future never seemed to come. So Isaiah (his followers) continue to urge God to act as He has originally promised them.

Foreign nations will think seriously about God’s actions on behalf of His people because God will also bring about a new relationship with us. He will change the very character of His people through Christ.

Items for Discussion

  • How do you know that God loves you?
  • Even as Christians, we are impatient, wanting bad things to stop, good things to come quickly – How do we learn to wait and trust during what seems to be taking “forever” to become good news?
  • Change can be a good thing if things are not going well – Why?
  • Where is it that we should get our counsel during hard times?

 

John 1:1-18
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Background 2

The reason why the Son of God is called the Word, is that as our words explain our minds to others. The Son of God was sent in order to reveal God’s mind to the world. We make the assertion that Christ is God because He existed from the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and not as just individual things. They all worked together with Him. Without Christ, nothing was made, from the highest angel to the lowest worm. This shows how well qualified Jesus was for the work of becoming our redeemer and savior. Common Sense and Reason are derived from Him, and depend on Him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness just does not understand Him.

John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men’s minds, than when Christ, the Light, had appeared. Christ was and is the true Light; that one great Light which deserves to be called as such. By Christ’s Spirit and grace He enlightens all that are themselves enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, will perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when He took our nature upon Himself, and lived among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of His own making. Yet the world would never know Him.

When He finally comes as a Judge, the world will know Him then. Many will claim that they are Christ’s own, yet will not really receive him, because they will not give up their sins, or allow Christ to reign over them. All the children of God will have been born again. This new birth is through the word of God and by the Spirit of God as the Author.

By His Divine presence, Christ always was in the world. But now that the time was correct, He became God manifested in the flesh. We must, however, observe His Divine glory, which was part of His flesh. Men discover their weaknesses but it was not so with Christ. We were able to be intimate with Him and yet see His glory. Although He was in the form of a servant, His form was like the Son of God, His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of His doctrine (words), and in His miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us. Jesus was full of truth, fully aware of the things He was to reveal.

As to the order of timing and the beginning of His work, Christ came after John, but in every other way He was before John. The expression clearly shows that Jesus had existence before He appeared on earth as man. All fulness dwells in Him, from which alone fallen sinners have, and will receive, by faith, all that makes them wise, strong, holy, useful, and happy. Our gifts which we receive from Christ are all summed up in this one word, grace; we have received “even grace,” a gift so great, so rich, so invaluable; the good will of God towards us, and the good work of God in us. The law of God is holy, just, and good; and we should make the proper use of it.

But we cannot derive from grace a  pardon, righteousness, or strength. Grace teaches us to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, but it cannot take the place of that doctrine. Since no mercy comes from God to sinners except through Jesus Christ, no man can come to the Father but through Christ; no man can know God, except as Jesus Himself is made known as the only begotten and beloved Son of God.

Items for Discussion

  • The Gospel of John repeats certain words: word, life, light, darkness, believe, know, “his own,” fullness, and bosom – How do you think those words help us understand who Jesus is?  Go through each word.
  • John’s Gospel negates the concept of time.  Why do you think it is important for us to know Jesus was always there?
  • Why do you thing the “darkness” doesn’t understand Jesus?
  • How did those close to Jesus, those who took time to know Him, know He was God?
  • What do we learn about how to live life when we take time to observe the life of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Discussion Challenge

  • If God, through Christ, gives all people a visible Crown, why is it so few can be recognized as wearing one?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=43&c=1
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