Jesus is God. Deal with it!
AUGUST 3, 2023
Yes, Jesus is God. Deal with it! Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Justin Holcomb has been teaching us all this week. Justin is an Episcopal priest, an author, and he teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Thank you Matthew. We had a great week, and this is the last of this series. If you’ve been listening, you know that Bishop Justin Holcomb has been here. He’s one of the voices of Key Life, seminary professor, scholar, and my friend. And the best thing about him this week is his daughter Sophia. And she’s been a delight being on the, she, it happened kind of by accident. We were going to do the Gospels and she came home from school and had been studying them. And you asked her to do the research for this week of broadcast.
Justin Holcomb: I did.
And, Sophia, it’s been nice having your daddy, but you’re a delight. I just want you to know that. And we’ve looked at the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and now we’re up to John. Justin, talk to us about John.
Justin Holcomb: Well, first, John is, it’s a famous book, and this is the one when people are thinking about, you know, sharing the gospel with their friends, they go, hey, read the gospel of John because it’s really clear. This is the book that, hey, Sophia, when did your mom convert?
Sophia: In college.
Justin Holcomb: We hear about it all the time. It’s all, she’s like, I converted in college, I converted in college. But my wife Lindsey, you know, Sophia’s mom, when she was in college, her roommate tricked her. Her roommate said, Hey, I’m really going through some stuff right now and I was wondering if you would do a Bible study with me, just, I really need support. And they started doing a Bible study on the gospel of John. And my wife went, Oh, this is really good news. And so, my wife, the Lord used the gospel of John for my wife and Sophia’s mom to come to faith in Christ.
As you know, I’m a Bible teacher, it’s what I do, and how I define myself. The first, and I’d been a liberal wacko theologically, just this side of crazy, at graduate school. When God got me, and I decided I didn’t have any authority, I decided I was going to teach the Bible, and I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what the Bible had to say. But I knew that Billy Graham said that people ought to start in John. And so John was the first book I ever taught, and I stayed one verse ahead of that congregation. And God brought revival. It was an amazing time to me and to those people.
Justin Holcomb: John is just organized in a way to say, Hey, if you don’t know anything, if you’re not, if you don’t know Roman culture, you don’t know Jewish history, you don’t know, if you don’t know anything. Here, let’s just start. And it just starts out strong and explains, it’s organized really nicely. It’s organized by, there’s how many, how many miracles, Sophia?
Justin Holcomb: How many I am statements?
Justin Holcomb: I mean, it’s really on purpose. And so, when we said Jesus is God, and that’s the theme of John, the, the most clear depiction of that comes from the seven I am statements.
I am the bread of life.
I am the light of the world.
I am the gate.
I am the good shepherd.
I am the resurrection of life.
I am the way, the truth and the life.
I am the true vine.
When Jesus says, I am, there are other ways he could have said, I am fill in the blank. He said it in a way that would be heard by the listeners as the Old Testament way of God’s name, Yahweh, I am.
The covenant name.
Justin Holcomb: The covenantal name, where God makes promises to his people and fulfills them. So, when Jesus was saying, I am. He is saying something about himself and his ministry, but he’s also saying something about he is the I am also. And even in, so in all these statements, in all the miracles, when Jesus is doing miracles, He’s acting like God, He’s not just doing magic tricks to get attention. He’s doing things that God does. And so, when Jesus is forgiving sin, only God does that. When he’s casting out demons, no one can cast out a demon except for, in the power of God. When Jesus is bringing people back from the dead, these are all things in, when Jesus is in charge of nature, these are all things that God is doing. But, so he’s God and that’s why, but as you said at the beginning, he’s God, deal with it. It’s not just that he’s God. There’s something that is really key, Sophia, you said that the key verse, the purpose statement of John is what, and can you read it?
Sophia: Purpose statement is in chapter 20, at the end of the book, verse 31. And John writes.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Justin Holcomb: The whole point is not only that he’s God and the Messiah, but there’s an invitation for you to trust and to believe. And this was, there are a few words that John doesn’t include. Sophia, what, and I would, when she told me this, I was like, no, come on, that’s not right. What are the words that are not included in the Gospel of John?
Sophia: So, the words that are never used are power, mercy, to preach, repentance or repent and parable.
Justin Holcomb: So, I thought for sure.
Justin Holcomb: I thought it would be, I was expecting those would all to be in there. And I was like, well, okay, well then what is in there? What’s the key word? The key word for all of John is what? And how many times is it used?
Sophia: Believe and belief are the key words and it’s used over 100 times.
Justin Holcomb: So, the whole point is an invitation to believe that Jesus is God. He’s God and so, deal with it. Or in John’s terms, believe it.
I thought it was be good.
Justin Holcomb: Well.
Or be obedient.
Justin Holcomb: That’s what Luke was getting to, that Pharisee wasn’t doing too good, but the one who said, Lord have mercy. And so, but it’s believe, but you’re joking, not joking. You’re making a point playfully about, we all think it’s about be good, be faithful, be something. And he says, no, just believe. What’s ironic is that how quickly we can turn belief into another word. And when you start talking about faith, no, you’re saved by faith in Christ. John is just believe, you know,
Lord, I believe help my unbelief.
type of, we turn belief into do I believe strongly enough? I mean, it’s the curse of the adverbs. Am I sincere? Am I doing it sincerely? Am I doing it enough? Am I doing it passionately? Belief if, what ends up happening as we go, okay, belief, if it’s a seed, you need to just let it sit there and be there. But we keep on taking it out and examining it and looking to see how fruitful it is. And we turn belief into a chore, as opposed to a gift of going, okay, clearly Jesus is God, I am not, I need to believe in who he is and what he’s done. And that’s my only hope. I just, I love the fact that, belief and faith and trust is the key of this magnificent gospel about Jesus being God, that’s where you’d expect everything to be like, Jesus is God, so act like Him. Jesus is God, obey Him. Jesus is God, believe in Him and the work that He’s done.
Oh man. It’s, to make it that simple, to make it a gift instead of a work, to make it something that we rest in and live in and go get a milkshake is so good and so encouraging.
Justin Holcomb: I want to ask you what you think about this. We, so Jesus is God, believe. Most of John, it’s literally going, Jesus going from conversation to conversation with people. The whole thing’s a march through Nathaniel, Nicodemus, a Samaritan woman, the blind man, Lazarus, Thomas, Peter. Jesus is God. And here he is with all these conversations. What I mean, I know it’s significant, I’m not sure why it’s significant. What do you get from that, Steve?
I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. And I thought, you know, at my age, I’ve been asked every question. I’ve never been asked that question. And you, blindsided me. How could you do that to me, Justin? I think the conversation has to do with relationship, it has to do with teaching, it has to do with demonstration of who he is. Michael Card in his commentary on John, makes a lot of that, those conversations. He takes them away from Jesus and makes them commentary made by John about Jesus. Which you’ve got to be careful with, but might have something to it.
Justin Holcomb: I just love, and I’m getting this after your conversation, I didn’t have this in the notes. If Jesus is God, but he wants you to believe, I love the fact that he’s interacting with people. He’s not just going from, you believe, you don’t believe, what is it? He’s like, no, no, let’s tease this out. And so, it comes in that relation
That’s so true.
Justin Holcomb: conversation of like, he’s leading them toward belief, but he’s also engaging them where they don’t know, or they don’t really trust. And that doesn’t freak Jesus out. He doesn’t, in these conversations, he doesn’t shut things down when they give any sense of not getting it or not believing, he actually keeps on going with them and he meets them where they are. That’s what I imagine these conversations being like, but just the fact that most of John’s conversation just kind of jumped out to me. And I thought that was pretty shocking.
Justin Holcomb: There’s a famous passage, we should probably read and then, kind of land the plane on this one.
Oh man. This time it’s gone by too fast. Okay, read the passage.
Justin Holcomb: I wonder what people think it is? John 3:16 and 17. This captures basically the whole point we’ve been talking about.
This is what it’s about, yeah.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Oh my. You know, I have a friend who was discipling her neighbor and didn’t bring that passage up because she thought everybody knew it. And her neighbor discovered it, came running across the street and said, Oh, Mary, let me show you what I’ve just found in the Bible. And she read it to Mary and they both began to cry. I’ve got to end this cause I’ll get emotional. You know, after all the years, for God so loved the world, that he gave. If that doesn’t put gasoline in your engine, something’s wrong with you. You think about that. Amen.
Wow. Thank you Steve Brown and Justin Holcomb. What a fresh perspective on the gospels. Remember to visit us at keylife.org to listen to this and all of our episodes anytime you want, for free. And tomorrow, stop back by for Friday Q&A. This week, Steve and Pete will discuss how law and grace can go together. That should be good. So, here’s a fun game, drive a legalist crazy in three words. I’ll go first. Three Free Sins. Yes, that’s the name of one of Steve’s books, and yes, it’s provocative. But if you’re scandalized by that, well, that’s the point. The gospel is scandalous. But where do you draw the line on grace? How do you know if you’ve gone too far? Well, Steve addresses those questions in his book and on the CD that we would love to send to you, for free. The CD features audio from Steve’s talk on his Three Free Sins Book Tour. Grab your copy now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. Or to mail your request go to keylife.org/contact for our mailing addresses, just ask for your free copy of the Three Free Sins CD. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.