The Fall Focus is one of our most anticipated efforts at Focus Online. Each contributor writes on the same subject for thirteen posts to provide a richer and fuller study. In past years we examined the wonderful letters of Ephesians, 1 and 2 Peter (see links below!).
This year we are going topical!
We will examine the unique pictures of Jesus in the gospel of John.
John is as different from the other gospel writers as Picasso is different from Rembrandt. Yet, each inspired author paints a masterpiece of Jesus. One of the unique ways John paints his portrait of Jesus is by using names and titles to reveal Jesus’ true nature and mission. These descriptions become the lenses through which we see Jesus more clearly. In our Fall Focus we will examine twelve great titles of Jesus in the writings of John.
However, before we examine these names, it might be helpful to pause and see how rich a gift they are!
From the beginning we see that God delights in naming things. The creation account describes God assigning names to the “Day and Night,” “Heaven, Earth and Seas,” and then He places Adam in the garden to name the animals (Gen. 1:5,8,10; 2:19-20). The importance of names is rooted in creation.
God’s fondness for naming things continues to grow throughout the Biblical record. God names people, places and nations, and then He uses a number of names to describe Himself. God takes names seriously.
Names and Authority
One of the reasons why names are so important in Scripture is because they communicate authority. “Dad says so,” has a weight other names may not. This is a lesson God taught Moses in the Midian Desert. Moses was frightened to return to Egypt. He didn’t think the people would receive his leadership. Then God told Moses, “You tell them I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). Enough said! The eternal God is behind Moses and his mission, so you better get on board.
When God assumes a name for Himself it describes His authority. So, when Jesus says, “I am The Savior of the World,” sin better beware. When He says “I am Light of the World,” darkness better take notice. When Jesus says, “I am The Resurrection and the Life,” let death tremble and die. Names carry authority. When God named His creation, in Genesis 1, He was declaring His dominion over it.
The good news is those who are in fellowship with God share in the benefits of His authority. Therefore each name Jesus wears becomes a reason for us to have confidence to live for Him. As the song goes, “Take the name of Jesus with you,” and there is no reason for despair or weakness. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10).
Names and Relationship
In addition, names are a beautiful invitation to relationship. The act of giving someone your name is a way of pulling them close. When God gave us His names He is asking us to know Him. This is especially true since Biblical names are not just borrowed from Aunt Ethel’s third cousin, they are given to reveal character, purpose and ability, and therefore deepen the possibility for relationship.
Have you ever wished you were closer to God? Learning His names is a wonderful way to draw near Him. Moses learned this truth on a day he felt terribly isolated. His fellow countrymen had always complained against God, but now they outright rebelled against Him by worshiping a golden calf in His name. But, while his society retreated from God, Moses drew close by asking, “Show me now Your way that I may know You…Please show me Your glory” (Ex. 33:13,18).
The way God revealed His glory and deepened Moses’ knowledge was by declaring His name! “I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you” (Ex. 33:19), said Yahweh. While Israel assigned God’s name to an idol and were thrust away; Moses listened to God’s name and was drawn close. “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with Moses, and proclaimed the name of the Lord,” and Moses deepened His understanding of the mercy and justice of God, and he didn’t feel so alone anymore (Ex. 33:5-6).
Every name of Jesus is an invitation to relationship. He is not only “The Good Shepherd,” He is my Shepherd and I am His sheep. He is not only a “King,” but He is my King and I am His servant. Each name deepens the meaning of our relationship.
So, join us for the next few weeks as we walk through the gallery of John’s gospel and see his perfect pictures of Jesus. Each portrait will help you know Him better.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)
“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14)
Here’s the lineup for the Fall Focus: October 1 – November 12 (Every Tuesday / Thursday)
Fall Focus 2015 – Pictures Of Jesus In John
Intro: John’s Unique Picture of Jesus
Jesus is the Word (John 1:1-18)
Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:19-34; 19:17-30)
Jesus is the King (John 1:35-51; 18:28-38)
Jesus is the Savior of the World (John 4:1-45)
Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:1-59)
Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:1-9:41)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-21)
Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44)
Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life (John 14:1-11)
Jesus is the True Vine (John 15:1-8)
Jesus is My Lord and My God (John 20:1-21:25)
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:1-20; 21:6; 22:13)
Previous Fall Focus
Fall Focus 2014 – 1 & 2 Peter
The Author: Peter, Molded for a Message (Tim Jennings)
Introduction to 1 & 2 Peter (Tim Jennings)
1 Peter 1:1-12 – Exiles of the Dispersion (Berry Kercheville)
1 Peter 1:13 – 2:3 – Children that Get An Inheritance (David McClister)
1 Peter 2:4-12 – Building Our Lives on a Solid Foundation (Rickie Jenkins)
1 Peter 2:13 – 3:7 – Living Lives of Hopeful Submission (Shane Scott)
1 Peter 3:8-22 – The Eyes of the Lord are on the Righteous (Kyle Pope)
1 Peter 4:1-11 – Salvation Changes Everything (Tim Jennings)
1 Peter 4:12-19 – Preparing For Fiery Trials (Berry Kercheville)
1 Peter 5:1-14 – Christ-likeness for All (David McClister)
2 Peter 1:1-11 – Look at What God is Doing (Rickie Jenkins)
2 Peter 1:12-21 – A Final Reminder (Shane Scott)
2 Peter 2:1-22 – The Lord Knows How (Kyle Pope)
2 Peter 3:1-18 – I Want to Be Ready (Tim Jennings)
Fall Focus 2013 – Ephesians
Acts 19 & Introduction – God’s Glorious Plan Includes You (Tim Jennings)
Ephesians 1:1-14 – To the Praise of His Glory (Berry Kercheville)
Ephesians 1:15-23 – Knowing that which is Spiritual, and Living by its Power (David McClister)
Ephesians 2:1-10 – Alive in Christ (Kyle Pope)
Ephesians 2:11-22 – One New Man (Rickie Jenkins)
Ephesians 3:1-13 – The Ministry of the Mystery (Shane Scott)
Ephesians 3:14-21 – Pray for Spiritual Growth (Tim Jennings)
Ephesians 4:1-16 – For Building Up of the Body (Berry Kercheville)
Ephesians 4:17-32 – Becoming a New Person (David McClister)
Ephesians 5:1-21 – Imitators of God (Kyle Pope)
Ephesians 5:22 – 6:9 – Relationships (Rickie Jenkins)
Ephesians 6:10-24 – Finally, Be Strong in the Lord (Shane Scott)