Category Archives: Gospel according to John

“Jesus Himself establishes and opens the gates of the kingdom through His perfect obedience” by Brandon Crowe

“As we conclude, I submit that we do indeed find much good news in the Gospels by focusing on the life of Jesus unto salvation. As the last Adam, Jesus vicariously realizes the obedience necessary for eternal life, overcoming the problem of sin and death.

One would need many, many volumes to discuss the grace that is manifested to us through Jesus Christ; indeed, I suppose that the whole world would not be able to contain the books that could be written. I finish, then, with a few brief reflections on the wonders of the grace of Jesus Christ that is revealed in the Gospels.

In the Gospels we see that Jesus accomplishes the righteousness that characterizes the kingdom of God, and this righteousness is a gift. The kingdom demands a better righteousness than that of the scribes and Pharisees for those who would enter it (Matt. 5:20), yet it is also the Father’s good pleasure to grant the kingdom (Luke 12:32).

The stringency in entering the kingdom is ultimately answered by the full obedience of Jesus Himself, who establishes and opens the gates of the kingdom through His perfect obedience—both active and passive. Jesus shows us the unity of obedience and love that the covenantal law of God always required.

Jesus’s people, then, must be united to Him by faith, and so receive the blessings of salvation through the work of the last Adam. By following in the righteous steps of the Messiah, we learn how to truly love God and love our neighbor.

Jesus is definitively and representatively obedient as the last Adam and Son of God, and His people are obedient in a derivative sense, through faith in Him. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant, which is sealed in His blood.

The full measure of the law has been met, and the penalty of sin has been overcome through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Our faith and hope must therefore be in Jesus Christ, who has proven obedient on our behalf.

I conclude with the confidence expressed by New Testament scholar J. Gresham Machen. As he lay dying in a North Dakota hospital, Machen’s last recorded words came via telegram: ‘I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.’

Machen’s hope is gloriously narrated for us in the Fourfold Gospel, where we read of salvation accomplished by the fully obedient last Adam. As Jesus delighted to do His Father’s will, may we delight to trust in and follow a gracious Savior.”

–Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2017), 214-215.

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“Amen and Amen” by J.C. Ryle

“I have now completed my notes on St. John’s Gospel. I have given my last explanation.

I have gathered my last collection of the opinions of Commentators. I have offered for the last time my judgment upon doubtful and disputed points.

I lay down my pen with humbled, thankful, and solemnized feelings.

The closing words of holy Bullinger’s Commentary on the Gospels, condensed and abridged, will perhaps not be considered an inappropriate conclusion to my Expository Thoughts on St. John:

‘Reader, I have now set before thee thy Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, that very Son of God, who was begotten by the Father by an eternal and ineffable generation, consubstantial and coequal with the Father in all things;—but in these last times, according to prophetical oracles, was incarnate for us, suffered, died, rose again from the dead, and was made King and Lord of all things.

This is He who is appointed and given to us by God the Father, as the fulness of all grace and truth, as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, as the ladder and door of heaven, as the serpent lifted up to render the poison of sin harmless, as the water which refreshes the thirsty, as the bread of life, as the light of the world, as the redeemer of God’s children, as the shepherd and door of the sheep, as the resurrection and the life, as the corn of wheat which springs up into much fruit, as the conqueror of the prince of this world, as the way, the truth, and the life, as the true vine, and finally, as the redemption, salvation, satisfaction, and righteousness of all the faithful in all the world, throughout all ages.

Let us therefore pray God the Father, that, being taught by His Gospel, we may know Him that is true, and believe in Him in whom alone is salvation; and that, believing, we may feel God living in us in this world, and in the world to come may enjoy His eternal and most blessed fellowship.’

Amen and Amen.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 472–473.

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“A small, inadequate library” by D.A. Carson

“If John described all of Jesus’ deeds, the world would be a small, inadequate library, for there is far more to know about Jesus—the powerful Creator, incarnate Word, obedient Son, suffering Messiah, and risen Lord—than one could ever write down.”

–D.A. Carson, “The Gospels and Acts,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 2199.

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“The world still seeks political saviors” by D.A. Carson

“While the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, Jesus comes that they may have life, and have it to the full.

This is a proverbial way of insisting that there is only one means of receiving eternal life (the Synoptics might have preferred to speak of entering the kingdom, although entering into life is also attested there), only one source of knowledge of God, only one fount of spiritual nourishment, only one basis for spiritual security—Jesus alone.

The world still seeks its humanistic, political saviours—its Hitlers, its Stalins, its Maos, its Pol Pots—and only too late does it learn that they blatantly confiscate personal property (they come ‘only to steal’), ruthlessly trample human life under foot (they come ‘only … to kill’), and contemptuously savage all that is valuable (they come ‘only … to destroy’).

Jesus is right. It is not the Christian doctrine of heaven that is the myth, but the humanist dream of utopia.”

–D.A. Carson, The Gospel according to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary; Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 385. Carson is commenting on John 10:9-10.

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“The Almighty power of our Lord” by J. C. Ryle

“We learn lastly, from these verses, the Almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told of a miracle which Jesus wrought at the marriage feast, when the wine failed. By a mere act of will He changed water into wine, and so supplied the need of all the guests.

The manner in which the miracle was worked deserves especial notice. We are not told of any outward visible action which preceded or accompanied it. It is not said that He touched the waterpots containing the water that was made wine.

It is not said that He commanded the water to change its qualities, or that He prayed to His Father in Heaven. He simply willed the change, and it took place. We read of no prophet or apostle in the Bible who ever worked a miracle after this fashion. He who could do such a mighty work, in such a manner, was nothing less than very God.

It is a comfortable thought that the same almighty power of will which our Lord here displayed is still exercised on behalf of His believing people. They have no need of His bodily presence to maintain their cause.

They have no reason to be cast down because they cannot see Him with their eyes interceding for them, or touch Him with their hands, that they may cling to Him for safety.

If He ‘wills’ their salvation and the daily supply of all their spiritual need, they are as safe and well provided for as if they saw Him standing by them. Christ’s will is as mighty and effectual as Christ’s deed.

The will of Him who could say to the Father, ‘I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am,’ is a will that has all power in heaven and earth, and must prevail. (John 17:24.)

Happy are those who, like the disciples, believe on Him by whom this miracle was wrought. A greater marriage feast than that of Cana will one day be held, when Christ Himself will be the bridegroom and believers will be the bride.

A greater glory will one day be manifested, when Jesus shall take to Himself His great power and reign. Blessed will they be in that day who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! (Rev. 19:9.)”

–J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 65-66. Ryle is commenting on John 2:1-11.

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“Christ is a complete Saviour” by J. C. Ryle

“Christ is a Saviour. He did not come on earth to be a conqueror, or a philosopher, or a mere teacher of morality. He came to save sinners. He came to do that which man could never do for himself,—to do that which money and learning can never obtain,—to do that which is essential to man’s real happiness,—He came to ‘take away sin.’

Christ is a complete Saviour. He ‘taketh away sin.’ He did not merely make vague proclamations of pardon, mercy, and forgiveness. He ‘took’ our sins upon Himself, and carried them away. He allowed them to be laid upon Himself, and ‘bore them in His own body on the tree.’ (1 Pet. 2:24.) The sins of every one that believes on Jesus are made as though they had never been sinned at all. The Lamb of God has taken them clean away.

Christ is an almighty Saviour, and a Saviour for all mankind. He ‘taketh away the sin of the world.’ He did not die for the Jews only, but for the Gentile as well as the Jew. He did not suffer for a few persons only, but for all mankind.

The payment that He made on the cross was more than enough to make satisfaction for the debts of all. The blood that He shed was precious enough to wash away the sins of all. His atonement on the cross was sufficient for all mankind, though efficient only to them that believe. The sin that He took up and bore on the cross was the sin of the whole world.”

–J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 40-41. Ryle is commenting on John 1:29-34.

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“Let us learn to exalt Him more” by J. C. Ryle

“It is written that ‘no man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.’ (John 1:18) The eye of mortal man has never beheld God the Father. No man could bear the sight. Even to Moses it was said, ‘Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.’ (Exod. 33:20.)

Yet all that mortal man is capable of knowing about God the Father is fully revealed to us by God the Son. He, who was in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, has been pleased to take our nature upon Him, and to exhibit to us in the form of man, all that our minds can comprehend of the Father’s perfections.

In Christ’s words, and deeds, and life, and death, we learn as much concerning God the Father as our feeble minds can at present bear. His perfect wisdom,—His almighty power,—His unspeakable love to sinners,—His incomparable holiness,—His hatred of sin, could never be represented to our eyes more clearly than we see them in Christ’s life and death.

In truth, ‘God was manifest in the flesh,’ when the Word took on Him a body. ‘He was the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person.’ He says Himself, ‘I and my Father are one.’ ‘He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.’ In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’ (Coloss. 2:9.) These are deep and mysterious things. But they are true. (1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:3; John 10:30; 14:9.

And now, after reading this passage, can we ever give too much honour to Christ? Can we ever think too highly of Him? Let us banish the unworthy thought from our minds for ever. Let us learn to exalt Him more in our hearts, and to rest more confidingly the whole weight of our souls in His hands.

Men may easily fall into error about the three Persons in the holy Trinity if they do not carefully adhere to the teaching of Scripture. But no man ever errs on the side of giving too much honour to God the Son. Christ is the meeting-point between the Trinity and the sinner’s soul. ‘He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent Him.’ (John 5:23.)”

–J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 26-27. Ryle is commenting on John 1:18.

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