Gospel Prologues

I.  Luke 1:1-4

            A.  Note Luke’s language of having done research in preparation of this Gospel

                        1.  He is seeking to “compile” a narrative

                                    -implication is that he is drawing from many sources

                        2.  He has spoken to eyewitnesses and “ministers” or “helpers”

                                    a.  Luke quotes extensively from Mark, the earliest gospel writer,

     and a “helper” of Peter, this is most likely a reference to Mark

     as a source

                                    b.  Note the relationship to inspiration and research—God

                                            inspiration does not imply sloppy or incomplete preparation

            B.  Also note Luke’s emphasis on putting forth an “orderly” or

                 “chronological” account

                        1.  a reflection of his Greek way of thinking

                        2.  a reminder that the Hebrew writers, Matthew, Luke, and John

     sometimes moved narratives out of their chronological ordering

     to make a theological point

                        3.  Likely Luke’s account is chronologically most straight-forward

II.  John 1:1-18

            A.  Verse 1-2

                        1.  Note allusion to Genesis 1:1

                                    a.  John is emphasizing the pre-existence of the Word (Jesus)

                                    b.  John is also emphasizing the Trinitarian language about the

     relationship of the Father and the Son

                                                i.  different persons

                                                ii.  same essence

                                    c.  language also rejects Christological error

                                                i.  Rejects Sabellianism

                                                            a.  they argued that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

      were one in the same and found in different

      forms depending on their task

                                                            b.  modern day Father, Son, Grandson analogy

      stems from Sabellian beliefs

                                                ii.  Rejects Arianism

                                                            a.  believed that the Son was a created being—a

      kind of demigod, neither fully God, nor fully

      man

                                                             b.  Modern day Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons

      hold beliefs that stem from this heresy

                        2.  the “Word”

                                    a.  the Greek word used here is “logo/ß” (Logos)

                                    b.  In Greek philosophy, the Logos was a totally transcendent

     entity, powerful and eternal, but without emotion or connection

     to the physical world—totally impersonal.

                                    c.  John is connecting Jesus as the Logos to the Word of creation

     (see John 1:3, Hebrews 1:1-4, Colossians 1:16-17)

                                    d.  John also points out that the true Logos, Jesus, is both personal

     and with emotion and connection to the physical world

                                    e.  God works in the world through the Word—His Son

                        3.  The word was “with” God

                                    a.  This is the Greek word  proß” (pros), which literally means

     “toward.”

                                    b.  You cannot speak of being “with” someone if you are not

     separate persons

c.  At the same time, scripture tells us he was God.  This demands

     the understanding of the Triune God—could not be separate

     beings and be God himself at the same time, for God is one

     (Deuteronomy 6:4)

                        4.  John is presenting the words and the works of Jesus as the very words

     and works of God himself

            B.  Vs. 3-4

                        1.  Life and Light—2 major themes in John

                        2.  This is creational language once again

                                    a.  “Let there be Light” is the first statement by God in the creation

                                         account

                                    b.  Creation is all about new life

                        3.  This is also redemptive/salvational language

                                    a.  Jesus is the light, the revelation of God to all men which brings

     life to those who believe

                                    b.  The life Jesus brings is the resurrection, offered to mankind

            C.  Vs. 5

                        1.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not “overcome” it

                                    a.  word (katelabe/w/”katelabeo”) used in this verse can be

     understood in 2 ways

            i.  “to overcome”—that the darkness did not overcome the

     light of Christ—this interpretation is certainly been

     evidenced by the growth of the church.

            ii.  “to comprehend”—in terms of redemption, those of this

                     world will never understand or comprehend the

       gospel—evidenced by Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians

       18-25

                        2.  John paints a picture of the world’s rejection of Christ even in light of

     the clear proclamation of the gospel

            D.  Vs. 6-8

                        -This is an introduction to John the Baptist, of whom we will speak more

  fully later.  The most important key is that John tells us that John the

  Baptist’s main role is to be a witness so that all might believe

            E.  Vs. 9-13

                        1.  The theme of “true light” comes back into the picture

                                    a.  Jesus is the true light which enlightens all

                                    b.  Jesus is the rubric by which all things are to be understood

                        2.  Note also the theme of becoming children of God—through receiving

     Jesus Christ and believing in his name

            a.  not by birth of flesh and blood

            b.  nor by the will of the flesh

            c.  but by the will of God

            F.  Vs. 14-18

                        1.  The word became flesh—the language of the incarnation

                        2.  “dwelt” with us

                                    a.  this is the Greek word  skhno/w (skanao), which literally means

     “to dwell in a tent”

                                    b.  It is this word that is used to translate the Hebrew word !k;v’

     (shakan), the Hebrew verb that means to dwell in a tent

                                    c.  The noun form, !kev’ (shaken), is the word that means

     “Tabernacle”

d.  John is drawing two connections here that are very important

            i.  In the Old Testament, God dwelt with his people in the

                tabernacle and then in the temple.  John is saying that

                Jesus is the fulfillment of both the tabernacle and the

                temple, dwelling or tabernacling with us in the flesh

            ii.  The glory of God dwelling with his people was

     something referred to as the “Shekinah Glory,” which

     comes from this word for tabernacle.  Going back to the

     theme of light—it is Jesus that is the revelation of God’s

     Shekinah Glory to mankind

                        3.  Verse 16-17 includes the language of “grace upon grace”

                                    a.  there are some that would make a contrast here between the

     language of Moses and the language of Jesus as in the law was

     bad and grace in Christ is good

                                    b.  the ideas, though are parallel ideas.  God was gracious in giving

     the law, and gracious beyond comparison in giving grace

     through Christ—they are complimentary ideas

                        4.  Verse 18

                                    a.  John reaffirms the deity of Christ to conclude his Prologue

                                    b.  also, we are told that it is in Jesus that God the Father has made

     himself known—Jesus is the exegesis of God the Father

 

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