The first chapter of John lays the foundation for who Jesus is and what he does. The opening verses identify Jesus as pre-existent, fully God, and the creator. But it isn’t long until John pivots toward the mission of Jesus. The incarnate Son of God aims to rescue sinners by moving toward them.
Jesus enters the mess of our humanity.
Central to John’s message and the amazing nature of the gospel is the graciousness of Jesus as he comes to our broken world. This theme starts in verses 9-10:
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (John 1:9–10).
In this text is the statement, “he was coming into the world.” The phrase denotes intention and intervention. John wants us to see the mission of Jesus.
He invades the world – a realm that he created.
This is the first time the word “world” appears in John’s gospel. It is a critically important word. But it is not a neutral idea.
“World” has a broader meaning than simply the created order. Jesus didn’t just come to earth; it’s meant to be more all-encompassing. “World” means the environment or the culture that is broken. It is the tragedy that marks our human existence. It is more like the word “system.”
For example, if I was talking about a computer and said, “The system is broken,” that would mean one thing. But if I talk about politics, government, or economics, there is a bigger meaning when I say, “The system is broken.”
This is fresh on my mind after my recent Civil Rights Vision Trip. Jim Crow laws were not the only problem related to racism in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. These grievous laws were developed and passed because of the brokenness of the culture. Jim Crow legalized what was already there. They created an environment and a culture that was oppressive and cruel. It was a broken system.
Tragically, that’s not the only example of the brokenness of our humanity. It’s everywhere.
When John talks about Jesus coming into the world, he’s making the point that Jesus enters the brokenness of our system, our culture, and a realm that is in rebellion against God.
Jesus invaded that mess.
The first chapter of John is written in such a way to make you marvel at who Jesus is, and also to stand in awe at the way he intervenes. Jesus enters our world. He’s the true light. He’s on a mission to rescue people from the brokenness around us and in us.
Just think of what that tells you about Jesus.
He not only enters the mess; he experiences the mess. He becomes human. Jesus doesn’t stay aloof. He doesn’t stay removed.
He comes. He weeps. He groans. He speaks. He rebukes. He heals. He weeps. He dies.
We should be eternally grateful that Jesus came to our broken world, took on the limitations of our humanity, and suffered a death that he didn’t deserve. Jesus went the distance for every single person who comes to him.
Every Christian has a “mess” that Jesus entered.
And thankfully, it doesn’t stop there. Jesus is still willing to enter our brokenness. The hope of the gospel is that Jesus has come to rescue us from ourselves. That begins at conversion, but it continues if we’ll keep inviting Jesus into our “mess.”
The mission of Jesus – “coming into the world” – not only tells us who he is, but also what he is willing to do. It shows us how far he’s willing to go. It shows us the grace of Jesus. It tells us a lot about him.
But it also reminds us that we still need Jesus to enter every mess of our lives.