by John F. Klem
The gospel of John is distinguished by its thematic focus on the glory of Christ disclosed in His earthly ministry. John puts the glory vocabulary to extensive use, in contrast with the synoptic Gospel writers. According to the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, John employees this word group 41 times, compared to 11 uses in Matthew, four uses in Mark, and 22 uses in Luke. John presents Christ’s preincarnate glory to us (John 17:5, 24), glimpses of His glory through the signs of His earthly life, and the anticipation of His glory fully unveiled after His resurrection and ascent to Heaven.
My purpose of this advent reading is to guide your thoughts and heart into enjoyment of the Lord Jesus Christ’s glory. Given the extensive use of the glory word group by the apostle John, I believe this was his intention as well.
The Christ Child conceived of a virgin by the Holy Spirit and born into the time and space of the Judean city of David, Bethlehem, is the glorious Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One without beginning or end Who is magnificent, radiant, and worthy of all honor and praise. John quotes the prophet Isaiah (John 6:9, 10), who saw the glory of Christ and spoke of Him in a context that laments the rejection of Messiah’s earthly work (John 12:40, 41).
John wants to show us the glory of Christ and does so in connection with the signs, the miracles of Jesus during His earthly life. What John calls signs, the synoptic writers call miracles. To John, signs confirm that Jesus is the long-awaited prophet. These signs include the turning of water into wine (John 2:1–11), two healings (ch. 4; 5), the feeding of the multitude and walking on water (ch. 6), the healing of the man born blind (ch. 9), and the raising of Lazarus (ch. 11). Individually and collectively, the signs reveal the worth and the reputation of the Messiah.
A reading of these sign accounts exposes us to the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The narratives highlight the absolute authority of Christ. When Christ speaks, things happen.
These sign accounts function to clearly identify the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The feeding of the multitude and the healing of the blind man affirm that Jesus is the long-awaited Prophet (6:14; 9:17). The resurrection of Lazarus identifies the Father-Son relationship within the Trinity (11:41, 42). Jesus’ prayer to the Father before calling out Lazarus from the grave was uttered so that those witnessing the event would believe that the Father sent the Son.
The signs are designed to provoke sincere belief in the person and work of the eternal Christ. John is unambiguous about this when he pens his gospel purpose statement in 20:30. The sign narratives legitimize the purpose statement. The nobleman took Jesus at His word (4:50), the invalid picked up his mat and walked (5:9), and Mary saw what Jesus did and believed (11:45).
I pray that the Lord would open our eyes during this Advent season to see the manifold glory of the Christ Child. As the Lord grants us this request, I pray that for some of you there would be belief in Christ resulting in deliverance from the debt of your sin, and for others, a strengthening of faith that renews and restores hope and courage.
John F. Klem is director of Regular Baptist Press.
Regular Baptist Press is committed to providing educational resources that point people of all ages to Christ not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. RBP offers a wide range of curriculum, VBS programs, Bible studies, books, and training seminars that are Biblically sound, cover the entirety of Scripture, and designed for spiritual growth.
- Read the entire series of Advent meditations.