The feelings of disconnection from everything else as haze so you can laser-focus solely on this one person who seems to own your heart?
The total absorption in trying to discover and memorize every detail about that other person and capture it in both your mind and heart?
The soothing warmth of your kisses, the just right fit of your hugs, and the gentle touch of the hand and the soothing sound of the voice — each of which gives your life fresh meaning?
Falling in love, being in love, is something beyond our ability to fully describe.
The grand ol' apostle of love, John, wants us to fall in love with Jesus. He wants us to see Jesus as our everything. He wants us to know that Jesus absorbs the meaning of every important divine title, fills up the meaning of every Jewish festival, and is beyond the capture of every divine name or title. In John's gospel, we are invited to meet Jesus, "come and see," (John 1:39, 46; John 4:29). We are invited to fall in love with Jesus.
John deeply loved Jesus and was often identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 19:26; John 20:2; John 21:7, 20). He wants us to know and love Jesus like he did (John 17:3). So, we shouldn't be surprised by the opening chapter of John's gospel. We are introduced to Jesus as the eternal God. This God became human flesh in Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate message — "the Word" — from God to us. This Jesus, the Son of Man of the other gospels, came to demonstrate the Father's love for us. The opening paragraphs of John's gospel are a dazzling cascade of titles and descriptions for Jesus that capture religion's hope in one Savior, Jesus:
- The Word (John 1:1, 14).
- That Light, The Light, The True Light (John 1:6-9).
- The One and Only Son (John 1:14, 18).
- Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
- God (John 1:18).
- The Messiah [Christ] (John 1:20, 25, 41).
- The Lord (John 1:25).
- Jesus (John 1:29, 37, 42, 43, 47, 48, 50).
- The Lamb of God (John 1:29, 35).
- God's Chosen One (John 1:34).
- Rabbi (John 1:38).
- Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:45).
- The Son of Joseph (John 1:45).
- The Son of God (John 1:49).
- The King of Israel (John 1:49).
- The Son of Man (John 1:51).
In addition to using these titles for Jesus, John also makes sure we know more about Jesus' greatness. He uses several incredible descriptions of Jesus and his greatness:
- Jesus is the one through whom the world came into existence (John 1:3, 10).
- Jesus is the one John the Baptizer testified would come (John 1:15).
- Jesus has surpassed John because he existed before John (John 1:15, 27).
- Jesus is the one who has made God known to us (John 1:18)
- Jesus is so great that John the Baptizer doesn't consider himself worthy to untie the latches of Jesus' sandals (John 1:27).
- Jesus' ministry comes after John's and not only is superior, but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:30, 33).
- Jesus is the one about whom the Law and prophets wrote and promised would come (John 1:45).
John will add more titles and descriptions as his story of Jesus progresses, but we should be amazed at John's incredible description of Jesus from his opening words. John will give us Jesus' "I AM" statements[NOTE] to further emphasize Jesus' identity as the eternal God come to live among us in human flesh.
Why? Why did John give us such a dazzling array of titles, names, descriptions, and claims about Jesus?
John is in love with Jesus. His passion for his "first love" (Revelation 2:5) hasn't diminished or waned since Jesus returned to the Father. He turns to all the word tools he has available and exhausts them as he describes the greatness of his Savior. When you love someone, you can effusively express your admiration of them. At the same time, your love for them also leaves you with the humble realization: the person I love is beyond my description. Words are inadequate to express the depth of love that I feel for them.
As we approach the Thanksgiving season, let's give thanks for Jesus. He is beyond description. John can be our inspiration and starting point. We can begin a list of all the names and titles we can recall for Jesus and keep adding to it as we continue to read the Bible. We can also make a list of all the things Jesus did while on earth and thank him with prayers of praise. We can also add a third: a list of all the different descriptions of Jesus in scripture.
When we fall in love with Jesus, we soon realize that he is beyond description. Nevertheless, we choose to offer our praise to God for coming to us in Jesus. We thank him for Jesus until our words are exhausted. When we run out of words and as our hearts continue to overflow with emotion for the Lord, we trust the Holy Spirit to convey our passion for the Lord with "sighs too deep words" (Romans 8:26-27)!
Jesus, you are as real as the skin on my body and the blood pumping through my heart. Your greatness is beyond my words to describe. Your love and your sacrifices for me have touched my heart. You are "beautiful beyond description"[SONG] and I offer you my heartfelt praise that my words cannot capture. Thank you for being God with us and demonstrating God's love for us!
NOTE Indirect references to Jesus as "I AM" of Exodus 3:
John 8:12; 9:5 — "light of the world".
John 10:7, 9 — "door of the sheep".
John 10:11, 14 — "the Good Shepherd".
John 11:17 — "the resurrection and the life".
John 14:6 — "the way and the truth and the life".
John 15:1, 5 — "the true vine".
Direct references to Jesus as "I AM" of Exodus 3:
(Please note, our English translations can disguise the "I AM" yet each of these passages has the eigow eimi, or "I AM," combination without modification in the original language.)
John 8:28, 58
John 18:5, 6, 8
Special thanks for the use of the Jesus images in Phil's blog, "The Jesus Window," to Free Bible Images and the The Lumo Project.
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