John 1:18
We have here -

I. CHRIST AS THE REVEALER OF GOD. "He hath declared him."

1. He brought much that was known of God into a clearer light. In this respect his revelation

(1) was confirmative, confirming people in their notions of God as far as they were right.

(2) It was corrective - correcting the false notions of heathenism and Judaism, so that the God of Christ is very different from and far superior to that of the heathen and even that of the Jews.

2. He revealed much that was new, which was not known before. Such as:

(1) The spirituality of God.

(2) His fatherhood.

(3) His gracious will to fallen humanity in the great scheme of redemption which Christ came, not only to reveal, but to work out in his Divine-human life and death.

(4) The way of access to and reconciliation with God.

(5) His spiritual reign in his people on earth, and they with and in him for over in heaven.

II. CHRIST AS A PERFECT REVEALER OF GOD. "He hath declared him."

1. Perfect in the character of his knowledge.

(1) His knowledge was direct. Not borrowed or derived; but as the Son of God, and God himself, it was relationally direct and personally intuitive. He was not only the Channel, but the Fountain.

(2) His knowledge was absolute and exact. In this respect he was the truth itself. He could speak, not about something he had seen some time, but about what was actually present to him then; was not dependent upon memory and association, but on his present vision and personal consciousness.

(3) His knowledge was full, covering his subject in all its vastness and meaning, its fathomless depths, its dizzy heights, and boundless breadth.

2. Perfect in his revealing qualifications. In a perfect revealer of God to man there must be:

(1) Oneness of nature with both parties. Mere man or angel would be deficient. But Christ is perfectly qualified in this respect, being the Son of God and the Son of man, the Eternal Word which was God, but which "became flesh." An inferior mind cannot interpret a superior one. The bed of a brook cannot contain the Amazon. Christ being equal with God, and having assumed human nature, was in a position to reveal God perfectly to the human race; being God-Man, he could speak of God as man to men, in their nature and language.

(2) Intimate fellowship with both parties. Christ was in the bosom of the Father - a position of the most intimate fellowship; and not merely "he became flesh," but also "dwelt among us," lived in the closest fellowship with the human family, and was most intimately acquainted with all their wants, weaknesses, peculiarities, and difficulties.

(3) Thorough sympathy with both parties. This Jesus pre-eminently possessed. Being "the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father" - a position, not merely of the closest fellowship, but also of tenderest affection and mutual sympathy - his heart and will were tenderly sympathetic with the heart of God, and with the saving purposes of his love with regard to the human family. And as the "Word made flesh," he was in tenderest sympathy with mankind - with all their spiritual wants and aspirations; the faintest sigh for God would find in him a most ready and helpful response.

3. Perfect in his mode of revelation. Think of:

(1) Its clearness. It is clearly simple and simply clear, so that a child can understand it, and the blind almost see it. He would talk of God with the same ease and simplicity as he would talk of an object really present to him.

(2) Its suggestiveness. It stirs up the latent aspirations and powers of man to seek for and receive the knowledge of God.

(3) The prominence he gave to his subject. He declared God in all he said, kept him continually before the minds of his hearers; he kept himself in the background, and, as a Teacher, made himself of no reputation, that God his Father and our Father might be known.

(4) Its exemplification. He declared God, not only by precept, but by example. He used homely illustrations from nature, but found the homeliest illustration of God in his own Person and life, so that he could say, "He that hath seen me," etc. And he shirked not even from dying in order to declare God, so that in his. tragic death on the cross we have the most striking and convincing illustration of the love of God to a guilty world.

4. Perfect in the scope of his revelation. "He declared God" - as much as God wished and man required. Less would not do; more would be unnecessary and perhaps injurious. While curiosity is not satisfied, the wants of faith are met; so that God can now be known, "which is life eternal."

III. CHRIST AS THE ONLY PERFECT REVEALER OF GOD. "No man hath seen God," etc.

1. To declare God fully he must be seen. A full vision of him no man ever had, not even Moses, therefore could not fully declare him. Man's knowledge of God at best is limited and imperfect, and therefore incapable of being the medium of the full and essential revelation of God to the world.

2. Christ alone saw God, and he is the only perfect Revealer of him. His position is unique, He stands alone, he occupied a position in relation to God which no other one could occupy - "the Only Begotten," etc.

3. His revelation is infinitely valuable. Because:

(1) Supremely important. All knowledge is valuable, but, compared with the knowledge of God, every other knowledge fails into insignificance. Our eternal well being hangs upon it.

(2) Most reliable. It comes from the highest source, through the highest and most suitable medium, and in the most intelligible and convincing manner.

(3) It is most rare. It is a revelation which we could never get in any other way or from any other source - a revelation which God alone could give, and could only give through his Son.

LESSONS.

1. We should hold Jesus in the highest esteem as the Revealer of God to us. No one else could reveal him as he did. We should magnify his grace in making known to us, at an infinite sacrifice, his Father's character, will, and purposes.

2. The gospel is an absolute truth. For what is it but the Son's revelation of the Father? - what he had seen and heard and experienced of him, and been sent to declare: his gracious purposes of grace towards the fallen human family?

3. As such the gospel should be accepted in implicit faith and burning gratitude. To reject is the greatest sin, to receive is the most urgent duty. "It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation," etc. - B.T.







No man hath seen God
Some men have seen much, for all have not the same power of vision. Some have seen much more than others with —

I. THE NATURAL EYE. They have travelled far and near; seen wonders upon the deep and on the mountains, and the marvels of creation living and lifeless — but no man hath seen God.

II. THE INTELLECTUAL EYE.

1. The eye of science. They can invade worlds of truth which are veiled and shut to souls of lesser power; ascend into the heavens and see the harmony which rules all the movements of those gleaming worlds, descend into the deeps of the earth and of the ages which have measured out its history, and read the records which are there inscribed. They can see something of the unity which pervades the whole universe; that all sciences are but chapters in one great illuminated book, or are but notes in one sublime and never-ceasing song — but they have not seen God.

2. Some men have the poet's eye which can glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, and detect behind what is natural and changeful the truths which are typified, and which abide for ever — but even they have not seen God.

III. THE MORAL EYE. Patriarchs, prophets, apostles beheld wonderful visions. Some of them were favoured with glimpses and manifestations and tokens of His presence, and so impressive and overpowering were these that they felt as if they had seen God, but even they were no exception to the rule that "no man hath seen God at any time."

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

I. THE INVISIBLE GOD.

1. We are invisible to each another; nay, to ourselves. There is a veil between our spirit and another that, while our words and looks may serve to indicate what is passing within, they cannot unveil the indwelling soul. And so utterly can the soul tyrannize over the house in which it dwells, that it can compel it to illuminate its windows with festive joy when all is woe within, or compel it to darken them when all within is mirth and revelry. And if we cannot see man, much less can we see God.

2. There is no law that God has impressed on nature that we can see. Form and colour we can see, and that things move, but not the pervading life nor the gravitation which holds them together in their orbits.

3. The material universe is but a faint indication of God's greatness, nor does it seem possible for even omnipotence to embody itself in matter. We might imagine the sun robbed of its beams, and heaven, earth, and sea combining to surrender whatever of beauty or grandeur they contain, still the result would be miserably insufficient to portray the glory of the invisible God.

4. The mind is baffled in its attempt to grasp the fundamental mystery. The loftiest conception we have is that of infinity. And yet this is a mere negation, and must be affirmed of each separate attribute as well as the totality of God's being.

5. Without the guidance of revelation no one has ever reached any fair conception of the unity, spirituality, and moral character of God. Though day unto day has been uttering speech, and night unto night showing knowledge, the mass of the rude and unlearned have everywhere, divided the empire of the universe among gods many and lords many. And as to the philosophers, such of them as have been able to emancipate themselves from gross polytheism, have either guessed at the truth that there is one God, and have contented themselves with a cold deduction of reason, or they have merged God and nature in one, thus destroying His personality in Pantheism. The world never by wisdom knew God. And were we to close the Book of Revelation in a few generations we should relapse into a heathenism as absolute as that of Greece and Rome.

6. And as for the supposed teachings of natural religion, they are but flashes from the revealed Word. We are astonished that any eye can miss the Divine monogram written large in the heavens, small in the flower. But we do not search nature for the invisible, we take the idea with us.

II. THE DECLARED GOD. Christ has revealed the Father in three ways which meet and satisfy these corresponding necessities in man.

1. The incarnation, e.g., of the spiritual in the bodily meets that necessity which feels how impossible it is to grasp the purely spiritual. We do not feel happy at the thought of what is both infinite and invisible. Who has not felt at times the all but intolerable oppression that comes upon the spirit when one has stood in the shadow of Alpine mountains! We are bewildered by the unmanageable vastness of the conception of an all-prevailing God. We long for something that we can more effectually compass. We wish to pray; are heavy laden and sad; but infinitude is too grand for us in such hours, and we long for a friend who can take our hand and say, "Fear not I am with thee." But God, the great and glorious mystery, has been manifest in the flesh. As He had to reveal Himself to man, He found no better medium than man, the form with which we were most familiar, and of which we should be least afraid.

2. By His character and life Christ declares to us the moral character of God. There is much in God which humanity, even in its highest and purest type, is inadequate to represent. The medium is tarnished and dimmed so that the heavenly light cannot shine through it, or only brokenly. Once only has humanity formed a medium through which, in its unmingled brightness and beauty, the moral character of God might pour its beams. To learn the mural character of God we must learn it in Christ; its holiness, its tenderness, its mercy for the sinful.

3. Christ has declared to us the Fatherly character of God. God we are told is love. This He is in Himself, and this He has been pre-eminently to us. We need more than words, and then, when we receive but words from those who might give us more real help, we learn bitterly that all friends are not true. Now there is no better test of love than the test of endurance and suffering, but Divine love has made for us the highest sacrifice, "for God so loved the world," etc.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

There are even material agents in existence around us so subtle as to elude the cognisance of the senses. There are powers in nature whose ever-present influence we perceive, yet which themselves are never directly discerned. The varied forms and colours of material objects around us the eye can detect, but not the latent electricity that pervades them. The masses and motions of the planetary bodies are appreciable by the sight; but the keenest organs of sense cannot see gravitation, cannot detect that mysterious power, as it flies through space, binding orb to orb. And if thus on the confines, so to speak, of the material and spiritual worlds, there are agents impalpable to sense, much more, when we pass those limits, do we enter into a region where bodily organs fail us, and a vision and faculty far more divine is needed, Who has seen thought What eye has ever rested on that mysterious essence which we designate mind, soul, spirit? If it be that spiritual intelligences surround us, if millions of spiritual beings walk the earth both when we wake and sleep, yet, as they pass hither and thither on their heavenly ministries, does the faintest sign of the presence of these glorious beings ever flash on the dull sense of man? Nay, are we not dwellers in a world of embodied spirits, holding continual intercourse with them, witnessing constantly the proofs of their existence and the effects of their activity: yet has one human spirit ever become visible to another? No l it is but the forms of spirit that are visible to sense. We see in the busy world around us the mere houses of souls. In this sense, then, God is now and ever must be invisible. If even a finite spirit cannot be seen by the bodily eye, how much less the infinite spirit?

(J. Caird, D. D.)

We are much in the condition of children for whom their father has built a magnificent house, and stored it with all needful provisions, and ornamented it with the most exquisite decorations, a house which the more it is examined the more it reveals forethought and arrangement, startling its inmates constantly with unexpected anticipation for their comfort and happiness. But their father, for some reason or other, is concealed from their view. "Now every house is builded by some man, but He that built all things is God." We dwell in His house. Its roof declares His handiwork. Its chambers are garnished with a wondrous glory. Its table is supplied day by day with food convenient for us. The house is renewed year by year. But the Hand which accomplishes it all is unseen. We sometimes long to get behind the intercepting veil. We would fain see the Great Worker at His work, see the arm of power, gaze on the fountain of fight, rise above and through all phenomena, leave the fleeting behind us, and stand in the presence of the changeless. But no man hath seen God at any time, and what is more, "no man can see God and five."

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

Could we entertain for a moment the supposition of God condescending to contrive some resplendent form, some radiant shape of superhuman majesty and loveliness, by which to convey to man a conception of His spiritual glory, we might conceive the universe to be searched in vain for the materials of such a production. We might give the rein to fancy, and imagine the sun robbed of its glory and the stars of their splendours, and heaven, earth, sea, skies, all the myriad worlds in space, combining to surrender whatever of beauty or grandeur they contain; still would the result be miserably insufficient to portray the unapproachable glory of the invisible Being of God. "These are but parts of His ways; how little a portion is heard of Him! but the thunder of His power who can understand?"

(J. Caird, D. D.)

of God: — In the Greek legend she who desired to see the deity in his splendour is instantly reduced to ashes. In the Hindoo mythology when Brahma, the supreme, shoots down a pillar of light between the two contending deities, Siva and Vishnu, one deity wings his way upwards for a thousand years with the speed of lightning, but cannot reach its summit; the other wings his way downwards with the speed of lightning for a thousand years yet cannot find its base. Christian theology has felt this no less clearly that God in His own Being is incomprehensible. There is a picture of the vision of St. , who, when he was writing a treatise on the Trinity, saw a child trying to empty the ocean with a shell into a little hole in the sand. "What art thou doing?" asked the saint. "I am trying to empty the sea with this shell into this hole," answered the child. "But that is impossible," said Augustine. "Not more impossible, O Augustine, than for thee in thy treatise to explain the mystery of the Trinity."

(Archdeacon Farrar.)As regards God, our soundest knowledge is to know that we know Him, and our safest eloquence concerning Him is silence, when we confess without confession that His glory is inexplicable, His greatness above our capacity or reach.

(Hooker.)

The
This "only-begotten Son" is the same Person who, in the previous portion of the chapter, is designated the Word, and of whom it is said in language of which it is impossible for us to mistake the reference, "He was made flesh and dwelt among us," and so dwelling among men there was beheld in Him "the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." The Person, then, who is thus named is none other than He who was more familiarly known as the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. Briefly, then, let me try to unfold to you THE IMPORT OF THIS GREAT NAME — the Son, the only-begotten Son of God. There is a previous inquiry to which I may, in a very few words, refer. What is the reference of the text — it being ascertained that it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ? Does it refer to Him as Divine, or simply as Mediator between God and man? It is evident to my own mind that the Scriptures give the name Son to the second Person of the Godhead, as a Person of the Godhead, and that it belongs to Him as Divine, and that, apart altogether from His becoming incarnate and doing work for the salvation of sinners, He is the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father. Further, there is nothing in the name itself that makes it inapplicable to the Divine Person. It is quite true that, as applied to man, it does include those ideas of derivation of beings, which are totally inconsistent with the notion of eternal existence; but when we find figures of any sort applied to God, we must strain them no further than is consistent with a notion of His Divinity. Yet farther: if this name be not descriptive of a Divine relation, then the name "Father" also is not descriptive of a Divine relation. And if you take it away, then have we no manifestation of the first Person of the Godhead by any personally distinctive name whatever. As, therefore, you say the "Father" is a name belonging to the first Person of the Godhead as Divine, so is the "Son." We must take notice, in an introductory way, of the expression "only." This name, whatever be its import, belongs to Christ as it belongs to no one else. There is but one Son of God in the sense of my text. You do not need to go far back into the previous context to find that there are others who in a certain sense are the sons of God.

II. We now proceed to notice SOME OF THE THOUGHTS SUGGESTED BY THIS INCOMMUNICABLE TITLE.

1. I think that instead of suggesting to us, when wisely interpreted, some. thing inconsistent with Divinity, this title in its sole and incommunicable preeminence suggests the very idea of Divinity. Indeed that is the very first thought I find in it — sameness of nature with the Father. The Son of man is not angelic; the Son of man is man. And so when you speak of Him in the full and true and proper sense, the Son of God is God. Nay, so far may you carry this principle that you cannot describe a creature as the son or child of God without his being, as far as a creature may be, partaker of the Divine nature. It was because there was something of it in him that Adam was called the son of God. But in the full sense, in which it belongs to no other, it is true only of Jesus Christ that He is God.

2. Then there is second thought. There is resemblance in character. The Son of God resembles the Father, and the resemblance in this Divine nature is so perfect as to come to identity. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."

3. Then, thirdly, these words Father and Son suggest intimacy of fellowship. "The Father showeth the Son all things that He Himself doeth!"

4. But perhaps the most prominent of all ideas connected with the title is intensity of mutual Divine affection. The Father loveth the Son.

5. There is another idea which is brought out also in Scripture, namely, community of interests. All that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son.

6. But I should be omitting one thought of great importance if I did not say that the title "Son," as applied to the second Person in the Trinity, does, after all, indicate a certain distinction. The Father is not personally the Son, nor the Son the Father. And now for one or two particular inferences from what I have been unfolding in this somewhat dry and formal manner. And first — if these things be so — oh, what love is that of the Father towards sinful men? The second inference is this — I wish I could bring it out as it presents itself, in its attractive phase, to my own mind. If the Saviour be God's beloved Son — His only Son — the object of infinite, unfathomable, everlasting delight — what an argument the sinner has when he goes to God for pardon, love, and all spiritual blessings! What a plea does God put in the sinner's mouth, when He says to the sinner, "Ask of Me for My Son's sake." But there is another side to this argument. If the Saviour be God's only Son, what becomes of those that will not know Him — of those who dishonour and reject Him?

(J. Edmund, D. D.)

He hath declared Him
The obvious import of these words is, not that Jesus Christ has told or taught us verbally who and what God is, but that in His own person and life He is the silent inarticulate manifestation of God to the world. A child may declare or describe to you the appearance and character of his father; a pupil may tell you of his teacher; an author may give an account of himself in his book; but there may be in each of these cases an involuntary and indirect description, much more clear and emphatic than the direct one. For in his writings, the author, especially if he be an earnest writer, unconsciously portrays himself, so that we may know as much of the heart and soul of a favourite author by familiarity with his books as if we had lived for years in personal intercourse with him. So the pupil has caught the revered master's manner; or the child bears, not only in his person, but in his temper, habits, sentiments, prevailing tone of thought and feeling, a strong family-likeness to the parent; and though there may be much in the father which, from inferiority of talents or attainments, the character of the child may be inadequate to represent, yet, according to his measure, he may convey to us a better idea of what the father is than by any express and formal description of him we could attain. Now, so it is in the case before us. Jesus manifests the Father by His person, by His life and character, and especially by His sufferings and death.

(J. Caird, D. D.)

In looking at the sun through a telescope, if we use unstained glass the eye will be burned to the socket, and we shall see nothing; but if we employ a coloured medium, we can examine it with safety. So no man can see God and live. But if we contemplate Him through Christ, that is, if we come to Him through the medium of humanity, we behold Him without being destroyed, nay, the sight of Him thus imparts salvation to us; for we behold His glory as that of the only. begotten, and lo! it is full of grace and truth.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. He is the NEAREST RELATION to the Great Father. The phrase "only-begotten" which occurs only here and John 1:14; John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9, implies an essential relation perfectly unique as appears. —

1. From the interpretation which the Jews put upon it (chap. John 5:18).

2. From the extraordinary manifestation of Divine love which the sacred writers saw in His mission.

3. From several events of His history —

(1)His miraculous conception;

(2)His persistent self-assertion;

(3)His wondrous miracles;

(4)His atoning death;

(5)His resurrection and ascension.

II. He is TENDEREST IN AFFECTION to the Great Father.

1. In His preincarnate life (Proverbs 8:30).

2. In prophecy (Isaiah 42:1).

3. At His baptism.

4. At His transfiguration (2 Peter 1:17, 18).

5. In the Epistles (Colossians 1:13). From this we learn —

(1)That God loves; He is not mere infinite Intellectuality; He is infinite Sensibility too;

(2)Christ is the highest object of His love. That love is not the love of pity, of gratitude, but of infinite complacency.

III. He is the MOST ACCURATE IN THE KNOWLEDGE of the Great Father.

1. He alone is intellectually qualified to know God. The highest created being only knows God in some of His aspects; Christ knows Him in all, in His being.

2. He alone is morally qualified to know God. He alone is —

(1)Sufficiently pure: only the pure in heart can see God;

(2)Sufficiently powerful: Moses, Isaiah, John could not stand a slight manifestation.

IV. He is THE MOST COMPLETE REVELATION of the Great Father (Matthew 11:27). He is the Logos, the only word which can express the Divine heart. He has revealed. —

1. God's Being: a Spirit, etc.

2. His relation: a Father. If Christ is the correct revelation of God —

(1)All other revelations must be tested by His.

(2)Much that is prevalent in religious society must be repudiated as un-Christ-like.

(3)Christ alone must be held as the Master of seals.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Concerning —

I. THE CHARACTER OF GOD, Who is —

1. Not an abstraction, but a Person.

2. Not a Supreme Intelligence merely, but an infinite Heart.

3. Not a Divinity enthroned in the serene altitudes of His measureless perfections, but a Father interested in the affairs and providing help for the necessities of His children, yea, coming near them in the person of His Son.

II. THE DESTINY OF MAN.

1. By establishing the inherent dignity of human nature, since it was capable of union with Divine.

2. By revealing its lofty possibilities when so allied.

3. And so discovering that man must have a future not bounded by time. The first prediction of this was man's creation (Leviticus 1:27), the second the Incarnator (Hebrews 2:14).

III. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE GOSPEL which is announced to be grace and truth, without which the nature of God could not be revealed nor the destiny of man attained. Lessons:

1. Do we believe in the Incarnation? Our answer discloses the inner quality of our souls (1 John 4:2, 3).

2. Have we accepted the gospel it brings? This also is heart searching, character revealing, destiny fixing inquiry (John 3:33, 36; 1 John 5:10).

3. Can we confirm from personal experience these truths? If so our faith will be invincible against modern doubt.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Jesus Christ declared —

I. THE UNITY OF GOD. By this we do not understand that this truth was absolutely unknown before His advent, but that it received new importance and fresh vitality in the religion He established.

1. There is but one God — a very vital truth. Whence came it? From nature? Let us ask the pupils of nature, the numerous nations of antiquity. How many gods are there? "There are gods many," not that nature taught polytheism, but her pupils learnt it in her school. The mildest departure from the monotheistic faith was that of Persia and the adjoining countries. Their populations looked around, and beheld, as we behold, the presence of light and darkness, of good and evil. These two powers were in perpetual antagonism. How did they account for them? By the adoption of a creed in which there were two gods, Ormuzd and Ahriman, a god of good and a god of evil.

2. Turn from nature to philosophy. Philosophy and idolatry were attached twins. The capital of the one was the centre of the other (Acts 17:16). There were a few there who dared to ridicule the graven images; but what had they to offer instead? Nothing. The alternative lay between polytheism and atheism. One here and there gave utterance to lofty truths about God. But to their thinking the existence of inferior deities was not inconsistent with that of the Lord of all. Socrates on his deathbed ordered a fowl to be sacrificed on his behalf to the god AEsculapius. Besides, the idea of one God, supreme among the many, was counteracted in its influence by the absurd notion that in proportion to His greatness was He removed from the ordinary affairs of mankind.

3. This truth, absent from every other, is prominent in the literature of the Hebrews. The Jewish creed teaches it, but its Author is God.

4. This Old Testament truth Christ appropriated, and made it the cardinal doctrine of the new religion. He amplified it and gave it a vitality it never had before. Its novelty on Christ's lips consist in its representation that God is near man and interested in his concerns. Judaism showed men a great God, but he was distant. Paganism showed them a near god, but he was small. In Christianity, however, we see the great God of the Jews without being far, and the near god of the Greek without being small.

II. THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD. Not that this was totally unknown to the ancient leaders of thought, but that it received from Christ a new impulse, power, and application.

1. That God is a Spirit is a thought than which there is none more familiar to the modern mind. Whence came it? From nature? Decidedly not. Matter does not give the idea of spirit; it cannot give an idea which is not in it.

2. Whence then came it? We are conscious of mind, a substance essentially different from matter; but the most influential modern school denies that mind is different from matter, being only the natural result of the happy organisation of matter. And this was practically the doctrine of ancient stoicism, whose God was refined matter.

3. Let us turn to the Hebrew Scriptures, where we find very Spiritual views of God; but the ideas in the Jewish mind were low and carnal. Hence the proneness of the nation to idolatry, which is materialism of the grossest kind.

4. At this crisis Jesus Christ makes His appearance on the arena of history, and proclaims, with an emphasis and a fulness of meaning before unknown, "God is a Spirit," etc. This declaration overwhelms us with its simplicity, purity, and grandeur.

III. THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

1. The prominent idea of the god of nature is power. But the idea of bare power would create dismay rather than trust. God is mighty, but I have offended Him. Will He forgive? Nature cannot say?

2. The main excellence of the god of philosophy is wisdom; but such a god can make no appeal to the heart of humanity.

3. Christ declares that "God is love:" His love and His essence are so interwoven that the cessation of the one would be the destruction of the other. Being always in His bosom, the Lord Jesus knows perfectly the contents of God's heart; and in His life, death, and ministry that heart is unfolded to the world.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

(Children's Sermon): — The ancients tell a story of one who tried to storm the heavens, but was defeated, and had to bear the heavens as a punishment on his shoulders. He was called Atlas, from which we get the name for a collection of maps. Our religion rests upon the one great doctrine of God. How are we to know Him? We can't see Him. But seeing the Queen would not make her known to us; but —

1. If the Queen were to send us a picture painted by herself we should know her knowledge, skill, and love of beauty.

2. If she were to send a kind letter we should know her better.

3. If she sent a daughter exactly like herself we should know her best. In these three ways God has revealed Himself to us.

1. The world is a great picture painted by God. Visit a factory and you see order everywhere, which shows that the man who built and arranged such a place had an orderly mind. So there is order; and wisdom, power, beauty and goodness as well, which tells us something of God.

2. The Bible is God's letter which tells us of God's heart, which nature does not; and what He thinks of us and would have us be and do.

3. Jesus Christ is God's Son, and if we want to know exactly what God is like we must study Jesus. If we want to know how He treats sinners and little children, we must find out how Jesus treated them.

(Joseph Dawson.)

I. CHRIST'S PERSONAL MINISTRY.

1. Its contents —

(1)God's nature, perfections, authority, and government;

(2)The eternal councils of His will for the salvation of lost sinners;

(3)The wonders of His love in sending His only-begotten Son into the world.

2. Its manner

(1)Unique and authoritative;

(2)Gentle and tender;

(3)Complete;

(4)Zealous;

(5)Courageous;

(6)Unanswerable;

(7)Commanding.

3. Its credentials —

(1)The fulfilment of types and prophecies;

(2)His life;

(3)The purity of His doctrine;

(4)His miracles.

II. His PROPHETIC OFFICE more extensively considered —

1. Before the Incarnation.

2. During His earthly life.

3. After His ascension —

(1)By the ministry of inspired man;

(2)By the ministry of uninspired men, pastors, teachers, officers of the Church; calling them, inclining their hearts to the work, giving them opportunities for engaging in it;

(3)By internal illumination, removing the veil from men's heart, and quickening their apprehensions by His Spirit.

III. THE USE.

1. To show the excellence and necessity of Christ's teachings.

2. To warn against the danger of refusing to hear the Divine Teacher.

3. To encourage us to attend to His teachings.

(Dr. Guyse.)

Perfections that are set before us in mere epithets have no significance but that which we give them by thinking them out. But perfections lived, embodied physically, and acted before the senses, under social conditions, have quite another grade of meaning. How much, then, does it signify when God comes out from nature, out of all abstraction and abstractive epithets, to be acted personally in just those glorious and Divine passivities that we have least discerned in Him and scarcely dare impute to Him. By what other method can He meet us, then, so entirely new and superior to all past revelations, as to come into our world history in the human form; that organ most eloquent in its passivity, because it is at once most expressive and closest to our feeling?

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

A man cannot behold the sun in the eclipse, it so dazzleth his eyes. What doth he then? He sets down a basin of water, and seeth the image of the sun shadowed in the water. So, seeing we cannot behold the infinite God, nor comprehend Him, we must, then, cast the eyes of our faith upon His image, Christ Jesus. When we look into a clear glass, it casteth no shadow to us; but put steel upon the back, then it casteth a reflex, and showeth the face in the glass. So, when we cannot see God Himself, we must put the manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ as it were a back to His Godhead, and then we shall have a comfortable reflex of His glory.

(J. Spencer.)

We use many words to declare our minds, thereby showing the incoherency of our thoughts and the faultiness of the vehicle in which we convey them. The more powerful the mind, the fewer and clearer the words it uses to disclose itself; and the higher and more inspirational the mood, the more condensed and significant the language. Every extraordinary genius reveals itself, not by the multiplicity of its sentences, but by one or two words struck off the anvil at the moment of white heat. Every illustrious man is characterised by one or two sentences. "Know thyself! " therein you see the whole mind and philosophy of Socrates. God revealed Himself once in Christ the Word.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)Christianity says with simplicity, "No man hath seen God, except God.Ó That is a saying of profound meaning.

(Napoleon Buonaparte.)

Links
John 1:18 NIV
John 1:18 NLT
John 1:18 ESV
John 1:18 NASB
John 1:18 KJV

John 1:18 Bible Apps
John 1:18 Parallel
John 1:18 Biblia Paralela
John 1:18 Chinese Bible
John 1:18 French Bible
John 1:18 German Bible

John 1:18 Commentaries

Bible Hub
John 1:17
Top of Page
Top of Page