Union University R.G. Lee Society of Fellows

"Great Is The Lord"
John 1:1-15

by Dr. Phillip D. Jett
Englewood Baptist Church
Jackson, TN

Dr. Phillip Jett

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. John begins his gospel writing about the Greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is great for He is Eternal. He is One with God. He is God and in Him there is Life and Light.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5

Dr. R.G. Lee tells of a young man who came to him and said, "Dr. Lee, I don’t believe in anything anymore. I’m an atheist and I’m proud of it." Dr. Lee said, "Young man, your very admission of disbelief means that you believe. Because you cannot disbelieve until first you believe. There are some axioms in the world,

There can be no here without a there.
There cannot be an after without a before.
There can never be an upper without a lower.
There cannot be a thought without a thinker.
There cannot be an action without an actor.
There cannot be a book without an author.
There cannot be a creation without a creator."

Everyone believes even if you believe that you do not believe. You believe. The question is: " What is it that you believe that you do not believe? What is it that you believe and you know you believe that which you believe?"

Let us look at what John presented as truth. My hope is that you believe this truth and apply this truth so that you may have Life and live in the Light of Jesus Christ.


I. Great is the Lord for He is Eternal.

This is a major statement that John used to introduce to the Gentile nations (that is us) who Jesus really is. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote about the Messiah, reaching back into the Old Testament to write about the fulfillment of prophecy. Matthew recorded the genealogy of Jesus and introduced Jesus as the one who ultimately fulfills all of the prophesies of the Old Testament.

Psalms 90:4 says, " For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by." In one of his writings, Dr. Lee said, "If a thousand years equals one day, then one year in my lifetime equals 65,000 years in the life of God. If I live to be seventy years old that equals 25,550,000 years in the life of God." Can you fathom that? Do we not get caught up in time? How many of you have a watch? How many of you are driven by time? We are time driven. We want to start on time, stop on time, and go here or there on time. We have a lot of sensitivity to time. God, revealing Himself in the Lord Jesus, has no schedule of time. Time is not a reality to God. This is hard to grasp. I am mortal, therefore, I can’t grasp the fact that my lifetime, if you scheduled it to God’s time schedule is the equivalent of 25 550,000 years. The reality of Jesus is this: Jesus was before time, not related to time, not controlled by time, Jesus is eternal. Why is this important? How does that relate to us? I am going to live beyond the grave, but still my mortality relates to time. I was born at a given time, I will die at a given time, and then I will spend eternity with God.

This Jesus who came as a babe in a manger, walked among men, died on a cross, who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, is Lord of Lords. John says the Word is eternal.


II. Great is the Lord for He is one with God.

John says, "The Word was with God." Jesus said, "I am from above." Man fails because he does not accept the fact that Jesus and His ways are above our ways. God’s ways in Christ are incomprehensible. How many of you have a plan or schedule? You have a schedule whether you admit it or not. You may have a schedule to do nothing. All of us in a human sense have a schedule of things. We concern ourselves with time. We concern ourselves with what we are going to do. The idea is good and yet when we come to see "the Word was with God" and He comes from above we have to say, " My plans are totally irrelevant unless they relate directly to God’s plans as He has revealed Himself in Jesus the Christ." So my schedule, my time, begin to relate to a different agenda. We march to a different drummer. We do things, not because it is our schedule, but because of His schedule.


III. Great is the Lord for He is God.

Notice John says "The Word was God." This is difficult to grasp. I cannot grasp it. How in the world can Jesus, who was born a baby, walked among men, was rejected, and was crucified, be God? Do you have that figured out? That takes belief. If you try to figure it out with your mind, your mind is not able to grasp the magnitude of that great truth. We need to figure it out with our hearts and say, "I know that Jesus is Lord." Jesus said of himself, "I am Lord and master." He was talking to a group who wanted to call him teacher, meaning master. He said, "I am not only master but I am Lord" which means "I am God." The idea is that Jesus who came and walked among us was not created as an angel or inferior to God himself but was equal with the Father and was God in every aspect and in every way.

These three truths are so profound and they directly relate to Easter. You do not start Easter with the cross. You start Easter with Jesus who is eternal, who is equal with God, who is God.


IV. Great is the Lord for He is Creator.

John said it this way, "By him all things were made and without Him was not anything made that was made." That is powerful. Dr. Lee said,

"God is the Creator behind all creation.
God is the Designer behind all design.
God is the Lawmaker behind all law.
God is the supreme fact of philosophy.
God is the supreme fact of personal life.
God is the great need of the human heart."

If you are going to live you have to know He created you to live life and to live it abundantly. In other words, we never create anything because Jesus is the creator. The idea of this passage is not that He created everything but that He created every individual item that has ever been created. It is an individual creation and it is a personal creation. He was personally involved in every aspect of creation. According to John, He is the creator of every element no matter how elementary, every mountain, every hill, every valley, every aspect of life. He is the creator.

How does this apply to our lives? John was not just trying to write a theology to impress people about Jesus. He wanted people to understand how great Jesus was. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. With that in mind, I ask you "Will you place your life at His disposal?"


V. Great is the Lord for He is Life.

The concept of life here is not physical life. We spend a lot of time, money, and energy making sure that our physical body has good care. The life Jesus is talking about is life from above and has purpose and meaning. Jesus said, " I Am the Life."

In John 3, Nicodemus searched for life. He was a very religious man. He was a man who studied the Old Testament. It was a part of his life and he wanted to know life. He felt that life was found in religion for he was very religious. There is nothing wrong with religion provided it brings you to a personal relationship with Jesus the Christ. Everyone is religious. Everyone has a god and they worship that god. Sometimes we worship our jobs, our children our house, our car, and/or ourselves. Sometimes we worship alcohol or drugs. All of us worship. John said that in Jesus was life. The idea of the word was, if written, is the "I AM." The word was can be translated "I AM." In Him I am life. You will not have life without Him. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the life..." Nicodemus was such a religious person that he had no life. You can be so religious that you cannot live. You can be consumed by anything. That was Nicodemus. He saw some qualities in Jesus that made him want to talk with him. Jesus said, " Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God." You are not going to have life unless there is a new birth. Life does not come in this physical body. The kind of life God gives is beyond this life. Our days on earth are beyond this life; eternity is beyond this life. Nicodemus said, "What are you talking about?" Jesus said, "You mean you are one of the religious leaders and you do not know what I am talking about?" Out of that comes, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

In John 4, we meet another person. This person is not religious at all. She knows a little religion. Jesus says, "I must go through Samaria." Jesus came to seek and save the lost no matter who they are or where they are. You may be the most religious person or the most immoral person, Jesus came to seek and save you. I had a wonderful experience one night in a revival. A little eight-year-old girl got saved and a grandmother in her seventies was saved. It does not matter what age you are, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He asked the woman at the well to give him a drink of water. Here is a Jewish man asking a Samaritan woman for water. Men did not speak to women. Jewish men did not get in the company of Samaritan women much less speak to them. Again, I am talking about Jesus the great life giver He will cross over any barriers in your life to speak to you about Life. This woman had racial and religious barriers. It is so sad how prejudices destroy the capacity to break down barriers. In our own community, some are so prejudiced they are lost. I do not believe you can have prejudice and know it and not deal with it. The gospel can sometimes be offensive. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. There is no racism. There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no male or female. There is no young or old.

The woman had another problem. She was living in immorality. Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water I give to him shall never thirst, but the water that I give him shall be in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." It is life abundant, life full, life that has meaning and purpose, and life that is driven by positive, real issues. Not a life that is lived behind masks; whatever the mask is. She said, "Sir, give me this water that I may never thirst again." Jesus told her to go and get her husband. Why did He say that? Because she had a problem that she needed to confess and come clean with. She told him she did not have a husband. Jesus told her that she had four husbands and was living with a man that she was not married to and that until she got that organized she was going to miss life. You cannot live a life of sin and have life and have it abundantly. The reality of this is that you cannot live life your way and be on God’s way. Jesus wants to give us life and give it abundantly. There is an element of confession and repentance and coming clean before a Holy God. One that is with God and one that is God and one that has created all, He has come to give us life and to give it abundantly. We have to confess our sins. We have to come clean. We cannot keep all that garbage and live life abundantly. The woman said, "I perceive that you are a prophet." Jesus said to the woman "Believe me that the hour is coming when everything and everyone will worship. You worship that which you do not know and we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews." She said, "I know that the Messiah is coming. He who is called Christ. When that one comes He will declare all things to us" Jesus said, " I am the great Messiah you have been looking for."

Some people say, "When I come to understand I will get saved." Today some people’s lives are so messed up they do not know what to do. They are probably no more messed up than the Samaritan woman. There is no salvation except in Christ. He is Life.

How do you know whether you have life and have it abundantly?


VI. Great is the Lord for He is Light.

After the woman received life she ran into the village and told the villagers she had found life and it had given her light. She wanted them to find the same life so that they would have light also. If you have life you will be light. If you do not have life you live in darkness. If there is no fruit there is no root.

John 1 says, "In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." Jesus said at least three times, "I am the light of the world." He is the great "I AM." Do you want to live life with radiance and abundance and completely? Do you want the Light to radiate in your life? Get your life from Jesus and He will give you the light. He will give you the vision that He has for you and the direction He has for your life.

Great is the Lord for He is Eternal.
Great is the Lord for He is one with God.
Great is the Lord for He is God.
Great is the Lord for He is Creator.
Great is the Lord for He is Life.
Great is the Lord for He is Light.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.

Is He great in your life?

Written by Dr. Phillip Jett
Englewood Baptist Church, Jackson, TN

Joanna Moore, Campus Ministries & Church Services

R.G. Lee Center for Christian Ministry