Spurgeon on the Incarnation of Christ

John 1:1-18

May the Holy Spirit, who inspired these words, inspire us through them as we read them!

John 1:1In the beginning was the Word.

The divine Logos, whom we know as the Christ of God. “In the beginning was the Word.” The first words of this gospel remind us of the first words of the Old Testament: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Even then “the Word” was; he existed before all time, even from everlasting.

John 1:1And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I know not how the Deity of Christ can be more plainly declared than in his eternal duration. He is from the beginning. In his glory he was “with God.” In his nature he “was God.”

John 1:2The same was in the beginning with God.

As we have been singing —

“Ere sin was born, or Satan fell;”

ere there was a creation that could fall,

“the same was in the beginning with God.”

John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

He that hung upon the cross was the Maker of all worlds. He that came as an infant, for our sake, was the Infinite. How low he stooped! How high he must have been that he could stoop so low!

John 1:4In him was life;

Essentially, Eternally.

John 1:4And the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

It never has done so; it never will. You may sometimes call the darkness, the ignorance of men, or the sin of men. If you like, you may call it the wisdom of men, and the righteousness of men, for that is only another form of the same darkness. “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

John 1:6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

How very different is the style of this verse from the one that precedes it!

How grand, how sublime, are the Evangelist’s words when he speaks of Jesus! How truly human he becomes, how he dips his pen in ordinary ink, when he writes: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” Yet that was a noble testimony to the herald of Christ. John the Baptist was “a man sent from God.”

John 1:7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Dear friends, if you and I know our real destiny, and are the servants of God, we are sent that men might, through us, believe in Jesus. John was a special witness; but we ought all to be witnesses to complete the chain of testimony. Every Christian man should reckon that he is sent from God to bear witness to the great Light, that, through him, men might believe.

John 1:8-9He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

There was no light from John except what he reflected from his Lord. All the light comes from Jesus. Every man who comes into the world with any light borrows his light from Christ. There is no other light; there can be no other. He is the “Light of the World.”

John 1:10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

This is a sad verse. He was a stranger in his own house. He was unknown amidst his own handiwork. Men whom he had made, made nothing of him.

“The world knew him not;” did not recognize him.

John 1:11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

That favored circle, the Jewish nation, where revelation had been given, even there, there was no place for him. He must be despised and rejected even by his own nation.

John 1:12-13But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

To receive Christ, a man must be born of God. It is the simplest thing in all the world, one would think, to open the door of the heart, and let him in; but no man lets Christ into his heart till first God has made him to be born again, born from above.

John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

They who saw Christ on earth were highly privileged; but it is a spiritual sight of him alone that is to be desired, and we can have that even now.

How full of grace, how full of truth, he is to all those who are privileged to behold him!

John 1:15-16John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.

I wish that we could all say that. Even out of this company, many can say it; and linking our hands with those who have gone before us, and those who are still with us in the faith, we say unitedly, “Of his fullness have all we received,” and we hope to receive from it again tonight, for it is still his fullness. There is never a trace of declining in him. It was fullness when the first sinner came to him; and it is fullness still; it will be fullness to the very end. “And grace for grace.” We get grace to reach out to another grace, each grace becoming a stepping-stone to something higher. I do not believe in our rising on the “stepping-stones of our dead selves.” They are poor stones; they all lead downwards. The stepping-stones of the living Christ lead upwards; grace for grace, grace upon grace, till grace is crowned with glory.

John 1:17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

We know that the law came by Moses. The law has often burdened us, crushed us, convinced us, condemned us. Let us be equally clear that grace and truth come by this divine channel, “Jesus Christ.”

John 1:18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

We do not want to see God apart from Christ. I am perfectly satisfied to see the Eternal Light through his own chosen medium, Christ Jesus. Apart from that medium, the light might blind my eyes. “No man hath seen God at any time.” Who can look on the sun? What mind can look on God? But Christ does not hide the Father; he manifests him. “The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

From Spurgeon’s Verse Expositions of the Bible.

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