On 1st December we begin reading the book together that many of you have purchased – The One True Light by Tim Chester as an opportunity for reflecting on the person and work of Jesus and what it means for us. The book is a series of 24 Advent readings, starting on 1st December, to take us through the first chapter of the gospel of John.
We will try and write a summary of each reading but would love to hear any observations, thoughts or prayers that you have each day.
Day 1 – In the beginning
The clock ticks backwards until it reaches “the beginning”. Jesus never had a beginning. He was not created, but he is described as the firstborn over all creation, meaning he was there before creation – an eternally supplied pool from the eternal fountain. John is retelling the creation story with Jesus the Word at the centre. The story of Jesus does not begin with his human conception. He was already there. But taking us to creation story also reminds us that creation is fallen and that Jesus comes to mend the brokenness of our world that was ruined in the beginning.
Day 2 – The Word
Jesus is God’s way of communicating with us fully and finally. We can’t see him in the flesh and hear his words but by understanding the whole Bible story, which in the end is all about Christ, we get to understand what God wants to say to us.
Day 3 – With God , Was God
Jesus already existed, there was never a time when He did not exist. He is the eternally begotten Son
He was not created
He did not have deity conferred upon Him
He is not dependent on the Father for His existence
He was not just given the title Son
He is the Word. The creator, revealer and the one who brings salvation
The Word is different from God
The Word is the Same as God – is God!
Listen to Mark Ventham preaching on this topic here
Day 4 – Let there be (John 1:3 “through him all things were made”)
Jesus is the powerful Word. It’s not just about communication it’s also about creation. God speaks the world into existence and the word he uses is Jesus. Father and Son work together on this project. The Father conceives the plan in all it’s beauty and complexity and the Son is the master workman. And the Son delights in the plan of the Father (Proverbs 8). And Jesus will be the one who brings re-creation. When you see the stories of Jesus you are seeing the stories of future of creation, and what a glorious future it is
Day 5 – In him was life (John 1:4)
John has a clear aim that we may believe that Jesus is Messiah (John 20:31). He uses the rest of his gospel to show that Messiah brings life (John 3:16; 5:39; 6:33; 6:51; 10:10; 10:28; 11:25-26; 14:6…). Jesus can give life because he is the source of life, he has life in himself – he doesn’t depend on another for his existence. If we are in Christ the Father eternally gives us life “through the Son.”
When sin departs before His grace,
Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the new-born King.
Day 6 – Light (John 1:4 “that life was the light of all mankind”)
The Word of God speaks and When God speaks he brings light. Now through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to say “Now it makes sense”
O Christ, our Morning Star,
Splendour of Light Eternal,
shining with the glory of the rainbow,
come and waken us
from the greyness of our apathy,
and renew in us your gift of hope.
Day 7 – Overcoming (John 1:4 “that life was the light of all mankind”)
The Light will overcome the darkness. Love always wins.
Day 8 – Witness (John 1:6-8 “he came only as a witness to the light”)
John the Baptist was a special man in terms of his birth and ministry. But the story was not about him. He is sent from God as witness. Only a witness, never more than that but also never less. This is our job too – self promotion gives way to Jesus promotion.
Day 9 – Heaven Opened (John 1:9 “the true light was coming”)
Jesus can lead us to the gate of heaven, but more than that he himself is the gate – the point at which heaven and earth intersects. Jesus has stepped across the divide between heaven and earth and invites us to go with him
Day 10 – Preferring Darkness (John 1:9-13)
Jesus reveals the light (9). A a new creative work is beginning… lighting up our darkness. We naturally reject the light. (10,11). Jesus came to his creation and to his people and they did not recognise or believe in him.
Day 11 – Children of God (John 1:12)
There were people who recognised and received the light and were adopted into his family.
Day 12 – Born of God (John 1:13)
Being re-born into God’s family was God’s choice before it was ever our decision. It transfers our behaviour, relationships, fears and our prayers and our future. See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that it what we are!
To listen to our sermon covering these verses click here
Day 13 – God in a manger (John 1:13)
In Jesus we hear the voice of God speaking to us in words we can understand by a person we can relate to as human, just like us. God takes on flesh, lies in a manger, play with other children, shares our human experiences including temptation. All the splendour of God squeezed into bodily form.
Day 14 – God’s new address (John 1:14 “made his dwelling among us”)
When the word became flesh Jesus moved into our neighbourhood. In Jesus, God pitched his tent right here among us. It connects us to the Old Testament story of God dwelling with his people in the tabernacle. Every time they looked up, wherever they camped they knew that God was with them. Every time we look at Jesus we know that God is with us.
Day 15 – The Glory of God (John 1:14 “we have seen his glory”)
God’s glory is to do with the weight of his majesty the bright God-ness of God. No longer at a distance. Up close and personal, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ – yes there at the transfiguration but right there throughout his life as he displays the loving kindness and faithfulness – that defining characteristic of God’s glory.
Day 16 – The Duty of enjoying God’s glory in Christ (John 1:14)
We need to look at the glory of God and feel differently. John Owen says “On Christ’s glory, I would fix all my thoughts and desires and the more I see of the glory of Christ the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes.
Day 17 – The Perfections of God (John 1:14)
Christ comes with the full glory of God – full of grace and truth. He is full of mercy and love but all his words and his ways are faithful and true
Day 18 – The Perfections of God (John 1:14)
Christ is not just a word from God, he is the word of God.
To listen to the sermon covering these verses click here
Day 19 – The Way Home (John 1:16)
Moses brings the law down but he can’t bring God down. Christ is God fulfilling the law, being the God of grace and truth in all it’s fullness (v15) overflowing and complete in his grace, piling up grace on top of the grace already given
Day 20 – Radiating Glory (John 1:17)
When we share the gospel we are shining the light, the glory of God in the face of Christ, we share grace and truth, love and faithfulness perfectly displayed and fulfilled in Christ (2 Cor 4:5,6).
Day 21 – Loved (John 1:18)
We all want to be loved. Unselfish perfect love is found in the Trinity. Trinitarian love defines the persons of the Trinity and is the fountain of all God’s purposes. When I want admiration of praise I remember only God deserves this but at the same time, to my amazement and eternal joy I am as loved as the Son, as part of the family of God.
Day 22 – The altogether lovely (John 1:18)
Jesus is lovely on his compassion, his patience, gentleness… lovely in his anger (always for the right reasons), lovely in his justice and his love. The Father loves the Son because the Son has submitted to the Father’s will – the Cross is the supreme example of submission to his love. In Christ the Father loves us with the same love he has for the Son.
Day 23 – The altogether lovely (John 1:18)
Jesus is one who will take us to be with the Father.
Day 24 – The One and Only Son
Jesus is the true Adam, true God, the Word, the one who has given life, the true light, the point at which heaven and earth interact, God in the flesh, divine wisdom, God among us, the glory of God, God’s native language, the way home to God, the king, the radiance of God, the Son of God and the altogether lovely one.