• The Explore the Bible lesson for Sept. 1 focuses on John 1:1-18.
Imagine for a moment you have a relative or friend in a foreign country and you have been asked to send a letter containing life-saving information. Your job in writing this correspondence is to convince them to act in regard to this truth you recently learned. How would you go about writing such a letter? Would you appeal to the strength of your relationship up to that point? Would you appeal to emotion? Reason/logic?
This was the Apostle John’s task as he sat down to write the letter we begin to study. John knew the truth, and it was life-saving information. As a matter of fact, it was eternal life-saving information. John’s task here was to write a letter—inspired by God, of course—that would both reveal truth to people as well as call for commitment from his readers.
The way John chose to do his work can be summed up into two main categories:
First, John shared the truth about who Christ was and why he came to this earth. John did this in dramatic fashion. He showed Jesus as the miracle-working Messiah. In addition, John revealed many of the great conversations and teaching sessions of Christ. The combination of these ingredients makes John’s Gospel such a great book to read.
Second, John focused on why all of this new information mattered to his readers. If what Jesus said was true and if the miracles he performed could be trusted, then Jesus was not just someone interesting to go see; he was someone worth following. Jesus is worth our full commitment. So, over and over again, John called on his readers to “believe.” This means more than mere mental assent to the new facts presented. To believe means we so fully receive this information, we are willing to stake our very lives on Christ.
When these two ideas come together, it is called a faith connection. A faith connection happens when the light of what God has done for us “comes on” within our hearts, and we begin to receive these truths as our very own. This is exactly what John wanted for all who read his letter. I pray this faith connection will happen in your Bible study group during your time in the book of John over the next few months.
Be the Light
My goal in writing will be to help with application of these wonderful Scriptures. Reading this week’s text, two parts of the Scripture stood out to me in regard to a single application: Be the light. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says we are the “Light of the world” (5:14). We have to be part of sharing God’s good news with the world around us.
The first part that stood out to me was verse 5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Most of your Bible study members already will have been convinced about the claims of who Jesus Christ is and why he came. However, sometimes we all forget our job here on this earth is to reveal this ”light” to the world around us. I find this verse incredibly encouraging. At times when we look around, we have to wonder whether we are making much of an impact on the darkness that surrounds us. This verse assures us we are on the right side of this fight. We serve “The Light,” and darkness has not overcome it. We need to continue to be faithful to share what God has done for the world in general and, more specifically, what he has done in our own lives. We need to put our faith in God that he is making a difference through our lives. Do not ever give in to discouragement. In Galatians, we are told, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
The other section of Scripture that captured my attention was verses 11 and 12: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Can’t make pre-judgments
It always is amazing to think about people in Scripture who should have been the first to receive Christ but never received him—the Pharisees and other religious leaders. Meanwhile, those you would have never expected to receive him did—the magi, the woman at the well, etc. This should remind us we have to sow the seeds of the gospel everywhere we go. We cannot make pre-judgments about who will receive the message and who will reject the offer of salvation. Our perceptions most likely will be completely off base.
Let’s join John on this journey to share the truth. We need to be reminded that like John, we have been given life-saving information. Will we keep these truths to ourselves, or will we renew our commitment this week to do our part to share Christ with the world around us?