The New Creation (John 1.6-9)

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The New Creation
As we have already noted, in his Prologue John emphasizes that the Word has created all things – not only Israel, but everything.
Now John progresses to the new creation. “There came a man . . . John” (1.6). The word for “came” is the creation word translated “made” in 1.3 (egeneto in Greek). John uses this same word again when he declares that the Word “became” flesh. Since the prophet Malachi there had been four hundred years of divine silence with no scriptural revelation at all, but now with John the Baptist God initiates a new creation. John the Baptist opens the door for the ministry of Jesus and thus introduces this new creation. A new era, a new world has begun. Wonderful!
But that is not the end of God’s exciting work of creation. To all who receive Jesus and believe in his name, he has given them the authority to “become” (the same creation word again) God’s children, to have God as our perfect and glorious Father. Once again we notice John’s constant repetition of the wonderful fact that “all” (not just Jews, but also Gentiles) can now become God’s children. Of course in the Old Testament the people of Israel were the children of God, but now with the coming of Jesus the way is open for Gentiles too to “become” (the same creation word!) what they were not before. Gentiles too can be incorporated into the family of God, which in the new Jesus-centred kingdom has become wonderfully international.
What an amazing message! God’s original creation – the new creation in Jesus – new creation and new life for all peoples everywhere – our new resurrection creation and life as those who receive Jesus and believe in him today!
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Foundations continue
Some Christians think that the new creation in Jesus replaces and abrogates God’s previous covenants with the Jews. But the new creation does not cancel out the former life and working of God. As the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 shows, Jesus comes as the son of David and Abraham. The new creation in Jesus is built on the abiding foundations of the whole Old Testament background. The promises of God to Israel remain entirely valid. God never breaks his promise. So Paul points out that the Jews are “loved on account of the patriarchs” and in that context he declares that God’s “gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11.28/29). Mission among Jews remains vitally important. The church in no way therefore replaces Israel, the Jewish people. The church is Israel with her Messiah as Lord and Saviour; and now in her new creation Israel under Jesus welcomes Gentiles also as branches grafted into her tree. Jewish believers in Jesus will warmly welcome Gentiles into the church, the messianic people of God.
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God’s purpose for John the Baptist
Having stated that the new creation breaks into the world through the coming of John the Baptist, John in his Gospel carefully points out that John the Baptist was not actually the key figure. He “was not the light” (1.8). John’s entire calling was to introduce Jesus as the “true light” of the world (as we proceed through John’s Gospel we shall see how truth is vitally important). John came with one supreme purpose, to witness to the true light. This purpose is clearly expressed through the repeated use of the Greek word for ‘in order that’ (hina) – John came “in order to witness to the light” (1.7 and 8). And his task of witness also has a specific purpose, “in order that all through him might believe” (1.7). Again we may notice John’s emphasis on “all”, both Jews and Gentiles. This emphasis can come across as unduly repetitive, but this emphasis lies at the heart of John’s message. How relevant John’s Gospel is for our globalized world! We too are called to witness to Jesus as the light of the world, the light for all peoples both in our own country and overseas in all the world. Jesus came into the world so that he could “enlighten all humanity” (1.9). The call to preach Jesus, the true light of the world, to all peoples everywhere is fundamental to us all as followers of Jesus.
So let’s get involved in world mission!
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One thought on “The New Creation (John 1.6-9)

  1. Alfred Cooper

    Thanks so much for the blog on John, now following.

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